No New Zealand organisation outside government does so much to improve the quality of law-making as the New Zealand Law Society, according to Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC.
Sir Geoffrey would possibly be the best-placed person in the country to comment on the Law Society’s law reform initiatives. He has been a Member of Parliament, Minister of Justice, Attorney-General, Prime Minister and President of the Law Commission, as well as a member of the bar.
“There is much more statute law than there used to be,” Sir Geoffrey says. “And it is much more complex.
“The burdens that fall on the voluntary members of the Law Society committees who do the work on submissions is both formidable and unremunerated.
“The basic architecture of bills is hard to alter at select committees. Given the limits imposed by the fact that the design of legislation takes place in secrecy within the executive and select committee scrutiny is often hurried, the Society does a wonderful job,” Sir Geoffrey says.
As Sir Geoffrey indicates, the Law Society’s law reform work is made possible by the hard work and commitment of the members of its Law Reform and specialist committees.
These committee members volunteer their expertise and time for the benefit of New Zealand society as a whole as well as for the benefit of the profession.
The Law Reform Committee prepares submissions, with assistance from one or more of 16 specialist committees, the Property Law Section and the Family Law Section.
While the work is carried out by the committees and sections, care is taken to ensure all Law Society members and branch committees have the opportunity to participate, through vehicles such as LawPoints and the Law Society’s website, www.lawsociety.org.nz.
Every second year, the Law Society calls for applications from people to serve on the Law Reform and specialist committees.
The new committees that will serve for the next two years have now been named. Following the call for applications, the Law Society Board appointed the committee convenors and the President, Chris Moore, appointed the committee members.
These committees will now focus on the submissions the Society makes on many bills referred to select committees, on papers developed by the Law Commission and on discussion papers from government agencies.
For more information on New Zealand Law Society law reform initiatives see www.lawsociety.org.nz/law-society-services/law-reform.