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Honourable Lawyer Will Be Caged By Goff Law

Honourable Lawyer Will Be Caged By Goff Law

Wednesday 11 Feb 2004 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Crime & Justice

The Palmerston North lawyer wanting to leave the Law Society, because it forces him to associate with crooked colleagues, puts his finger on the basic flaw in Justice Minister Phil Goff's Lawyers and Conveyancers Bill now before a Parliamentary Select Committee, ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"Peter Coles was outraged when another lawyer was merely censured and fined - and granted name suppression - after forging a legal aid application. Mr Coles said the forger should have been referred to the police for prosecution - he was dead right," Mr Franks said.

"Mr Goff's conveyancing deregulation waited years as he negotiated with the Law Society. They won, he lost. The resulting mammoth Bill centralises disciplinary power in Wellington.

"Mr Coles will now have no chance to choose among competing law societies. If Mr Goff had not caved in to the Law Society lobbyists, Mr Coles might have found and joined a society with high ethics. He could have started one. I would have been happy to join him. One of its rules would be `no name suppression for dishonesty'.

"Accountants can choose among competing societies in most English-speaking countries. They can choose a professional society that upholds the standards they want.

"I hope Mr Coles writes to my Select Committee. The Labour/Green majority might ignore him, but at least he can place his warning on record. We'll get fudging, soft discipline. The hundreds of new rules in the Lawyers and Conveyancers Bill won't deliver high standards. Only a society that has a survival reason to defend its standards will do that," Mr Franks said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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