Time to wake up and act, says Bar

"The survey has unveiled for all to see, what obviously many in our profession knew already"

Time to wake up and act, says Bar

The recent New Zealand Law Society survey that detailed the prevalence of sexual harassment and bullying in the country’s legal profession should spur lawyers to act, according to the New Zealand Bar Association (NZBA).

The survey, conducted and analysed by Colmar Brunton, found that 31% of women lawyers and 5% of men lawyers have been sexually harassed in legal workplaces.

After the results of the survey were released, Law Society President Kathryn Beck said that there is a cultural crisis in New Zealand’s legal profession.

“The survey has unveiled, for all to see, what obviously many in our profession knew already. Clearly what has been shown is intolerable and there is no option other than this, and other recent events, being a catalyst for real change in the legal profession,” said Clive Elliott QC, NZBA president.

Elliott called all bar members and everyone in the legal profession to be vigilant and take action against any behaviour that may lead to sexual harassment or bullying.

“This includes those working in the legal profession who are not lawyers, and who in many cases have less power to speak out about what is happening to them,” he said. “We need to be committed and motivated individually to different standards of behaviour. This needs to be reinforced collectively.

“As an association, we are committed to be leaders in this process of cultural change. We are 100 percent behind behaviour change in the profession that will see an end to the appalling level of sexual harassment and bullying that we have heard about,” he said.

 

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