Consultation now open on draft Terms of Reference for Independent Review of the statutory framework for legal services

Law Society–Help shape the future of the legal profession by providing feedback on what will be considered in the Independent Review.The New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa is seeking feedback on the draft Terms of Reference for the Independent Review of the statutory framework for legal services in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Review will include the structure and functions of the Law Society.Law Society President Tiana Epati says “This is an ambitious Review that could result in significant change to how legal services are regulated, including the conduct of lawyers and how the profession is represented. We want a legal framework which ensures consumers are protected and the public will have trust and confidence in the legal profession.”

“We want to be more transparent about our complaints process. However, under the current Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 (the Act) we would be breaking the law if we commented on any details of complaints raised with us. We have strengthened our ability to deal with unacceptable behaviour with changes to our Rules which come into effect on 1 July 2021. But we need to ensure the statutory framework is fit for purpose now the Act is more than a decade old.”Chaired by Whaimutu Dewes, a seven-member steering group has developed the Terms of Reference for the Review.

Mr Dewes says “It’s important that we get the Terms of Reference right as this will determine what issues will be examined and shape the recommendations made by the independent reviewer.”This Review is also a chance to look ahead and ensure there is competition and innovation in the legal profession, and to strengthen the profession’s commitment to serving Aotearoa New Zealand today.

“We’d like feedback on the Terms of Reference by Thursday 20 May 2021. This is only the first chance for input. Once the Terms of Reference are agreed and a reviewer appointed, there will be further consultation with members of the profession, representative groups, members of the public and interested parties.

“Anyone wishing to provide feedback on the draft Terms of Reference is invited to complete the survey.

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