After calling on the legal profession to act against harassment, the New Zealand Bar Association (NZBA) has released a model policy to combat discrimination and harassment.
The profession and the public expect barristers to act with integrity and uphold the rule of law at all times, the NZBA said. The policy comes after the recent New Zealand Law Society survey that revealed pervasive sexual harassment and bullying in the country’s legal profession.
The “Conduct & Values Policy - May 2018” defines discrimination, bullying, and sexual and racial harassment. It also provides chambers with guidance on complaints processes and support systems.
With the policy, the NZBA also reminds barristers that they are obligated to report misconduct by other lawyers and provides a model chambers conduct and values policy that chambers can easily adopt.
“There are particular professional obligations on all lawyers, including barristers, to act with the highest standards of integrity,” the NZBA said. “All barristers and chambers who have employees or contractors should establish procedures for dealing with complaints, so that complainants are able to come forward and be provided with options for dealing with their complaint, formally or informally.”
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