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Margaret Bazley to lead external review of Russell McVeagh

Dame Margaret Bazley to lead external review of Russell McVeagh

Malcolm Crotty, Chair of Russell McVeagh, has announced that the firm has appointed Dame Margaret Bazley ONZ DNZM, Hon DLit. to head an external review of incidents of sexual harassment within the law firm that occurred in 2015/16. She will be assisted by a woman lawyer whose appointment will be announced shortly.

Dame Margaret headed the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct in 2007, was a member of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance and reviewed the Legal Aid system in 2009 as well as being Reviewer of process, protocols and procedures the Wellington Rugby Football Union had in place with regard to player recruitment and the management and monitoring of player behaviour in 2016.

In her extensive public service career, Dame Margaret has led several state sector organisations and was a member of the Waitangi Tribunal for ten years. She was Chair of the appointed Commissioners at Environment Canterbury from 2011-2016.

Pip Greenwood, a senior partner at Russell McVeagh said, “We recognise that the incidents of sexual harassment that have occurred at our firm have had a profound effect on the women involved and we are all truly sorry and horrified that they occurred. We are committed to ensuring that such incidents do not happen again. We are extremely grateful to Dame Margaret for agreeing to conduct this review. We have been conscious, in making this appointment, to appoint a person who is truly independent as well as who has experience in such work."

"'The women who have been subjected to any form of sexual harassment want to be assured that the review will be thorough. Our current staff and partners want that as well. We think that Dame Margaret’s significant review into police conduct and culture resulting from the Louise Nicholas case will provide that assurance,” said Malcolm Crotty, Chair of Russell McVeagh.

The scope of the external review is attached and includes actions taken with respect to the incidents of 2015/2016 and any other incidents that may come to light during the conduct of the review, culture in both offices, current management practices and policies relating to the prevention of sexual harassment, and supporting complainants.

After the incidents of 2015/16 we have conducted internal enquiries to identify any other incidents of misconduct or inappropriate behaviour over the past decade.

Dame Margaret will have full access to material and any staff who wish to participate. Former staff and summer clerks will also be invited to take part and she will commence her review immediately. If anyone wishes to participate they should phone 0800 779 779 or email ereview@rmcvexternal.com.

Russell McVeagh confirms that the report from the external review will be made available to its key stakeholders including staff, clients, the NZ Law Society and University Law Schools.

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