New Zealand Law Society - Lawyers Fidelity Fund

Lawyers Fidelity Fund

The Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Part 10 (ss304-332)) introduced a new Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund. Under the LCA, all claims relating to theft by lawyers from 1 August 2008 will be made against the new Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund, provided for under Part 10 of the new Act.

The fund

The LCA (Lawyers: Fidelity Fund) Regulations 2008 provide for the establishment, maintenance and management of the new fund.

The regulations also include forms for claims and declarations in support of claims.

The maximum amount payable to an individual claimant under the fund is $100,000 (Regulation 11). The fund has a provision that there will be no compensation in respect of money instructed to be invested (s322 of the LCA).

Contributions to the fund are payable by all practitioners who practice on own account, other than those who elect not to receive money or other valuable property in trust (s317 of the LCA).

Old fund

The old fund, established under the Law Practitioners Act 1982, will continue to operate for some time and will continue to apply to thefts by lawyers occurring before 1 August 2008. The old fund cannot be wound up until:

  • the Law Society gives public notice of the last day of making claims
  • the Law Society is satisfied that all pre-1 August 2008 claims have been received and fully dealt with and notice to that effect is given to the Minister of Justice
  • any claims received in the period of 12 months from the date of the report to the Minister are fully dealt with
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