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The ‘One Society’ Vision is On Track

The ‘One Society’ Vision is On Track, Says Law Society President

LawFuel.co.nz - The Law Jobs and News Wire

Law Society president John Marshall QC says he is focused on ensuring the ‘One Society’ vision for the 14 district law societies, including Auckland, is completed, as envisaged by the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act.

The Act has already been delayed as a result of the significant requirements to prepare the district societies and their parent body with radical restructuring of the law profession. There has also been uncertainty as to whether Auckland, as the largest district law society would vote to join the ‘one society’ model as a result of their claims about a lack of advice from the parent body as to their expected representative obligations in the new body.

The ADLS castigated the NZLS in their “Law News” magazine a week ago for delays in hearing from the NZLS about a business plan they submitted. Auckland has expressed dissatisfaction at a perceived lack of communication from the NZLS as regards its functions and obligations under the new Act.

However, John Marshall told LawFuel that the plans to implement the regulatory matters will be in place by the commencement date of 1 August “in accordance with board plans.” He said the New Zealand Law Society was now going about dealing with the representative issues, which are planned to be handled out of the Auckland District Law Society offices. “I am very confident that this will happen,” he said.

He said he believed that there will be a “first class” representative division set up, building on existing representative services provided by the various existing societies.
It is apparent that the Auckland board is split on the issue, with the issue taking a sharper focus with the election of a new board this year.

The proposed new body involves the amalgamation of representative assets and operations and the setting up of various procedures for a national, representative division. Auckland is required to set up separate operations within its existing ADLS functions and the proposed, new NZLS Representative Division functions.

Their concerns lead to the forwarding of a business plan to the NZLS and their current concern is that delays in any commentary on the plan and the work required to properly implement it have created a significant issue in terms of timing.

“The majority of ADLS Council members believe that there is a significant risk that further delays and uncertainties about Auckland being the management base for representative services will diminish the human resources that ADLS can provide to a “One Society”,” the ADLS statement said.

Once the decision is made to join the ‘one society’ model the various district law societies’ assets become those of the new, unified body. The longer it takes to obtain approval of the business plan, the longer it will take to put it in place.

The original one society plan was something that originated from the Auckland society with a vote heavily in favour of the ‘one society’ model. John Marshall’s firm commitment is to ensure the one society model occurs, in accordance with last September’s vote by all societies in favour of the plan.

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