Law Society launches independent review of legal services framework

Seven-member steering group, which will develop the review’s terms of reference, has been announced

Law Society launches independent review of legal services framework

The New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa has launched an independent review of the country’s legal services framework.

The Law Society said that the review was prompted by the constraints placed by the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 on the Law Society’s ability to be transparent about complaints about the peak legal body’s processes. The review will also look into how the organisation deals with a broad range of unacceptable behaviour, including complaints of sexual harassment and bullying in the profession, in the context of the statutory framework.

Tiana Epati, Law Society president, has also announced the seven-member steering group, which will develop the review’s terms of reference.

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“It’s important to ensure the terms of reference is sufficiently wide and forward looking. The steering group will consult widely with both the profession and stakeholders to produce a terms of reference that identify the main areas of representation and regulation that need to be addressed in the review,” she said.

The group will be chaired by Whaimutu Dewes. The former Ministry of Justice lawyer and current professional director, who is of Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Rangitihi descent, has a strong interest in the role of economics and governance in New Zealand and Māori economic development.

The group also includes Sue Chetwin, former Consumer New Zealand chief executive; Selene Mize, Otago University associate professor; Ann Brennan, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment chief legal adviser; Paul Collins, barrister; and Kerensa Johnston, Wakatū Incorporation chief executive. The Law Society Board’s independent observer, Jason Pemberton, is also a member of the group.

 “We are delighted to have appointed a group of high-calibre individuals with a strong and varied skill base. They bring substantial credibility to this important work,’’ Epati said.

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