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Former Minter Ellison Rudd Watts partner Dame Patsy Reddy and former Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen will lead the first regular review of New Zealand’s security and intelligence agencies, Acting Attorney-General Amy Adams has announced. The review will look at the legislative framework governing the agencies and consider whether they are well placed to protect New Zealand’s current and future national security, while protecting individual rights. It will also determine if the current oversight arrangements provide sufficient safeguards to ensure the Government Communications Security Bureau and NZ Security Intelligence Service act lawfully and maintain public confidence. Ms Adams says she has asked the reviewers to ensure members of the public have the opportunity to express their views. Dame Patsy is Chair of the NZ Film Commission, Deputy Chair of NZ Transport Agency, a non-executive director of Payments NZ Ltd and Active Equities Ltd and Chief Crown Negotiator for Treaty Settlements in the Bay of Plenty region.

Law students deconstructing climate change

A group of Victoria University law students have set themselves the task of getting to the bottom of an agreement that could set a timetable for drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Their initiative Deconstructing Paris 2015 is about just that – deconstructing the draft negotiating text for COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris this December. The aim of this conference is to reach agreement between 195 countries on how to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020.

Tom Stuart, one of the students leading the initiative, says their central focus will be on analysing the draft text, as it is this which will form the backbone for any climate agreement that comes out of Paris.

“We want to dissect and explain the draft text to make it more accessible to the public and to outline the likely direction of the agreement. We also plan to highlight where non-committal language is being used that might enable states to avoid taking meaningful action on climate change.”

The students have launched a website to document their analysis and commentary and to provide legal resources about the Paris climate talks to the public, media, policy makers and politicians – both in New Zealand and abroad.

Steering Group member Catherine Iorns Magallanes, senior lecturer at Victoria’s Law Faculty, says more than 40 students have put their hands up to be involved, and alongside writing substantive commentaries on the text, have designed and developed the website and are managing social media, PR and events for the initiative.

“I am amazed at their great ideas and enthusiasm. Since the website went live, offers of assistance are already coming in from outside the Law School and even outside of Wellington.”

NZLS Auckland Young Lawyer Moot

The New Zealand Law Society Auckland Branch Young Lawyers Committee is currently running a mooting completion for Auckland’s junior practitioners.

The competition is part of the New Zealand Law Foundation National Young Lawyers’ Mooting Competition 2015. It is supported by the New Zealand Bar Association and the New Zealand Law Society.

Twelve teams of young practitioners from around Auckland have entered and have attended their training session with New Zealand Bar Association member Andrew Barker from Shortland Chambers.

Each team, with the support of an NZBA mentor, competed in the preliminary round held on 25, 27 and 28 May.

Following the semi-finals on 8 and 10 June, the final will be held on Thursday 18 June at the Auckland High Court. The winners will proceed to compete in a national mooting final in Wellington against the respective winners of the Wellington and Canterbury-Westland region.

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