The New Zealand Bar Association (NZBA) has applauded the move to introduce better rules to report and handle inappropriate behaviour in the legal profession.
Kate Davenport QC, NZBA president, said that an improved framework shows commitment to eliminate bad behaviour. She also said that the profession needs a cultural change.
“As I have said before, there needs to be an end to aggressive behaviour by both men and women in the legal profession as part of this cultural change,” she said.
Last month, the New Zealand Law Society announced coming changes to the processes for handling inappropriate behaviour in the profession. The changes are being made after the review of the profession’s regulatory framework, undertaken by a working group chaired by Dame Silvia Cartwright, found numerous shortcomings in the reporting regime.
"A more robust reporting framework, along with cultural change, is critical for a profession in which people place so much trust,” Davenport said. “We need to remind ourselves that this trust is based on the reputation that we create. Unless we individually and collectively, through organisations such as the Law Society and the Bar Association, act to counter all forms of violence, harassment, discrimination and bullying, the damage to the reputation of the profession will be long-lasting.”
The NZBA said that it will analyse the working group’s recommendations and work with the Law Society to bring about cultural change in the profession.