Law Society introduces panel to conduct legal services independent review

Its president says this is the most significant review to be held in the current generation

Law Society introduces panel to conduct legal services independent review

The New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa has introduced a three-member panel that will be in charge of conducting an independent review of legal services regulation and representation in the country.

“This is the most significant independent review of the statutory framework which governs the legal profession in our generation,” Law Society President Tiana Epati said. “I am delighted we have secured a panel of this calibre to conduct the review. They are each rangatira in their own right. Collectively they bring together all the skills we need to do this work.”

The Independent Review Panel will be composed of Professor Ron Paterson ONZM, Professor Jacinta Ruru MNZM, FRSNZ (Raukawa, Ngāti Ranginui) and Jane Meares. The appointments were made based on the review and recommendation of the Independent Steering Group led by Whaimutu Dewes.

Most Read

Paterson has been named chair of the panel. He served a stint as Health and Disability Commissioner and Ombudsman, and is presently Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Auckland.

He has led significant inquiries across New Zealand and Australia, having chaired the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction. He is an expert in matters involving the regulation of professions, complaint systems and consumer protection.

Law professor Ruru is the first sesquicentennial distinguished chair at the University of Otago. She is part of Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa (the Māori Law Society), and is committed to displaying Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the legal profession.

She has conducted high-profile ministerial reviews, and has worked with advisory groups and governance boards.

Clifton Chambers barrister Meares is the chief commissioner of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission, chair of the Financial Services Complaints Limited and deputy chair of the Electoral Commission. She has considerable experience in legal practice and review and inquiry.

The Independent Review Panel has been tasked with the following:

  • determining whether the Law Society’s representative functions should be separated from some, or all, of its regulatory functions
  • examining the process of preventing and addressing unacceptable conduct in the profession
  • reviewing the process of making and responding to complaints
  • determining the regulation and regulators of legal services

“[The review] lets us look at what is needed to ensure fair competition for legal services, to enable innovation in the profession and to strengthen commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the diverse multicultural society we live in,” Epati explained. “It is the opportunity for us to give deep consideration to what change is needed to enable a fit-for-purpose statutory and regulatory environment that provides for a modern, efficient, and high-integrity legal profession for all New Zealanders.”

The panel is set to present a report to the Law Society at the end of the year. The society will then craft a response that will be handed in to the government in the first half of 2023 along with the panel’s report.

Recent articles & video

How artificial intelligence in law firms maximises efficiency

University of Waikato makes history with new dean of law

New addition to Buddle Findlay’s board on having fun in a tough job

LexisNexis teams up with Cook Islands Government on new website

Be part of Fast Firms 2024

Columbia Law Review website taken down amid controversy over editorial process

Most Read Articles

Chapman Tripp debuts litigation tech team

Denham Bramwell marks 10 years in the profession

Lawyer bests Nelson City Council in parking fines skirmish

Māori Land Court names new deputy chief judge