Regulation 10 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Practice Rules) Regulations 2008 (Practice Rules) requires the New Zealand Law Society Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa to establish and maintain a register of lawyers that is publicly available. Generally, the register must show certain information for every lawyer, including the lawyer’s work address and work phone number.
Although this will remain the default position for most lawyers, following an amendment to the Practice Rules which came into effect on 1 March 2023, a lawyer may request the Law Society to prevent or restrict public access to their work address and/or work phone number on the register to protect the lawyer’s privacy or personal safety if permitting access to the information would be likely to result in physical or mental harm to the lawyer or a person the lawyer lives with (reflecting the fact that many lawyers now work from home).
How to make a request
A lawyer can request the Law Society to prevent or restrict public access to their work address, work number or both on the register.
The request should specify:
Any request must explain what physical or mental harm could be caused by this information being available on the register of lawyers, who the harm could be caused to, and why it is likely that the harm might occur.
Based on the information provided, the Law Society will consider whether preventing or restricting public access to the specified information on the register would reduce or remove the risk of physical or mental harm to the lawyer or a person the lawyer lives with.
Requests should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Access to information on register request” in the subject line.
Requests can also be made in writing to:
ATTN: New Zealand Law Society Registry
PO Box 5041, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
Fax: +64 4 473 7909
Where available and relevant, supporting documents or information should be attached to the email or included in the letter to assist the Law Society in considering the request. This may include:
All information received as part of a request will be treated in confidence. Further information about how the Law Society handles personal information is set out in the Law Society’s privacy and information handling policy.
If the Law Society agrees to a request
If the Law Society agrees to the lawyer’s request, the Law Society will determine the period for which public access to the information will be prevented or restricted on the register (up to a maximum of three years) and advise the lawyer. The information will continue to be held by the Law Society for its regulatory purposes.
Before or at the end of this period, the lawyer may make a further request to the Law Society for public access to the relevant information on the register to be prevented or restricted for another period of up to three years.
Under the Practice Rules, all lawyers must keep the Law Society informed of any relevant changes to the information required to be included on the register. This obligation continues following the Law Society agreeing to a request.
Additional measures to protect privacy and safety
It is important to recognise that preventing or restricting public access to a lawyer’s work address and/or work phone number on the register will not necessarily prevent a person from finding the information elsewhere. If appropriate, requesting lawyers should take additional steps to remove or restrict public access to their personal information that is on other publicly available sources, such as their workplace website and LinkedIn.
Further help is available by calling 0800 22 30 30 or emailing email@example.com.