The New Zealand Law Society has announced that it will commission an independent review of its structure and functions.
Tiana Epati, president of the NZ Law Society, said that the decision to conduct an independent review reflected the constraints the current Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 placed on the society’s ability to be transparent about its complaints process, and to deal with a broad range of unacceptable behaviour – including complaints of sexual harassment and bullying within the profession.
The review will also consider whether the “dual” model for the Law Society – regulating lawyers and providing membership services for them – is the optimal model. The review is expected to draw on local and international experiences to consider possible future models for the provision and regulation of legal services in New Zealand, as well as the best model to provide membership services to practising lawyers.
The Law Society said that the terms of reference for the independent review will be agreed after extensive consultation with the legal profession and other stakeholders.