Law Society, PSA probe NZ courts’ staffing issues

by Sol Dolor11 Nov 2016
The New Zealand Law Society and the Public Service Association are looking into whether reports courts are understaffed are true.
 
According to a Law Society spokesperson, the organisation is investigating the issue after “a number of reports” about lack of staff in courts, a BusinessDesk report notes.
 
Meanwhile, PSA organiser Tracy Klenner said the organisation believes there are staffing and resourcing issues at the Ministry of Justice including the courts.
 
“We are currently discussing these issues with the Ministry,” Klenner said. “Where this is a detrimental effect on the health and safety of our members, we take this extremely seriously. Proper resourcing of the justice sector is important not only to the timely and efficient administration of the court system, but also to ensure New Zealand remains a safe and just society.”
 
The investigation comes after criticism’s on new laws like the District Court Act and the problems brought by the Family Court reforms in 2014 – all of which are said to have contributed to court delays.
 
Recently, lawyers rejected Justice Minister Amy Adam’s assertion that lengthy court delays are not standard across courts in New Zealand. Michelle Duggan, chair of the Law Society’s Family Law section, said that member lawyers from all part of the country say delay is a concern.
 
At least one judge cited in the BusinessDesk report appears to agree. Justice David Collins said his judgment in a civil dispute may be delayed because the High Court in Wellington was “rather short-staffed in terms of judges…at the moment.”
 
The news organisation said that the High Court is expected to deliver 90% of judgements within three months, a goal achieved both for civil and criminal judgments last calendar year.
 

Related stories:
Lawyers reject Justice Minister’s claim that court delays are not standard
New District Court Act said to add to problems
Flaws in Family Court reforms highlighted