The new intervention rule
The new “intervention rule” will come into force on 1 July.
This brings to fruition a major review of the rule that requires barristers to have an instructing solicitor.
That review was initiated in the wake of the development of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006. Following the passage of this act, the 2008 Rules of Conduct and Client Care were introduced. These rules required a review of the intervention rule.
As the Law Society discovered when it began consulting the profession about the rule, the review proved timely. It found an overwhelming view that the rule needed changing.
However, while the need for change was shared, somewhat predictably, there was a diverse range of views on exactly what those changes should look like. As a result, the Law Society consulted extensively on the matter with the profession and with various stakeholders over a long period of time. This consultation included discussions with a number of organisations, particularly the New Zealand Bar Association.
Throughout the consultation and discussions, the Law Society sought to develop a practical and workable rule that provided an acceptable balance between the needs of the profession and the interests of the public.
The outcome of that process is to retain the intervention rule with a series of exemptions.
This will allow barristers who qualify to take instructions directly in a series of areas after 1 July.
To qualify, barristers must be in sole practice, they must undertake specified training and they must be approved by the Law Society. For each particular case, they will also need to answer two questions: “Can I take direct instructions?” and: “Should I take direct instructions?”
This issue of LawTalk outlines the changes that will come into effect on 1 July in more detail.
This change is a major step forward for the Law Society and the practice of law in New Zealand. It is one that the Law Society considers will benefit lawyers and the consumers of legal services. The new rule, like the work of the Law Society generally, is all about the protection of the public and the enhancement of the legal profession and how it operates.
On behalf of the Law Society, I would like to thank all those who have helped make our new intervention rule a reality.