Foreign lawyers’ requests to practice in NZ hit eight-year high

Lawyers from countries across the globe want to come to New Zealand to practice

Foreign lawyers’ requests to practice in NZ hit eight-year high
More students from overseas applied last year to practice law in New Zealand than in the past seven years, data from the New Zealand Council of Legal Education revealed.

In 2016, 126 overseas applications were lodged with the council, 30 more than applications in 2015. The report, which has been tabled in Parliament, reveals that since 1998, the only year with more applications was 2008, when 135 applications were made.

Applications were received from Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Fiji, France, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mauritius, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the UK, and the US.

The council expected about 100 applications to be made. With the higher number of applicants, actual revenue collected was $370,257 instead of the $300,950 forecast.

In 2016, the council also received 962 completion certificate applications from graduates in New Zealand, much higher than the 800 it expected.

There were fewer Maori trainees in Institute of Professional Legal Studies’ (IPLS) courses last year. In 2016, 8% of IPLS course trainees were Maori, down from 11% in 2015. Those with Asian backgrounds fell slightly from to 14% from 15%. Pasifika trainees increased to 8% last year from 5% in 2015.

There are still more women enrolling in law degrees, with a slight decrease in the ratio of women-to-men enrolees to 61% women in 2016 from 64% the preceding year.


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