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Briefcase – Judicial Dinners to Law Society Knives

Briefcase – From Judicial Dinners to Law Society Knives – John Bowie


NZLS v. ADLS

It’s not an adversarial conflict at all, of course, but Auckland’s decision to incorporate was dressed up by Keith Berman very much as something of a formality to protect the ADLS position. If you were to speak to some from the inner bowels of the NZLS, however, it signifies an irreparable separation of the two organizations that is all but permanent. Auckland has an impressive balance sheet with substantial funds flowing into its coffers from its lucrative forms publishing business. The feeling from the ADLS is that they don’t intend diverting that money to be lost amidst the Wellington Law Society bureaucrats. So far as the ‘bureaucrats’are concerned, the split demonstrates that it was an Auckland “power grab”. I also hear that the next move may be for the NZLS to open an Auckland office. This story has a long way to run yet.


Judicial Watch

Among the demons keeping me awake at nights is my concern over the Judges’ superannuation. How has the credit crunch treated them? Did they invest in Hanover, for instance? We have to remember that most Judges in the upper echelon have turned down bigger incomes for their public service. I recall an Auckland barrister telling me how concerned some at the bar were when Raynor Asher stepped up in 2005. “How would poor Raynor survive on a Judge’s salary” and so on. Our former Policeman house guest had told me how several senior officers had needed to stay on in the force because their ‘aggressively managed’ super had delayed retirement plans. But my concerns grew when I saw a retired Judge, Justice Laurie Greig standing before a woman who was furiously rifling through her handbag in Wellington’s beggar quarters, Courtney Place. Were things so bad for His Honour? I had seem him collecting money from others earlier and stepped up myself to see if I could resolve the issue. On closer examination I could see he had a Samaritans sticker on his lapel. I deposited $5 and bade him good luck.

Judicial Dinner

Most Tuesdays I try and dine with a member of judiciary, something I have utterly failed to achieve until last week when I spent a highly enjoyable dinner engagement with an out-of-town Judge. Most of what was said was of course off the record and will never be told. He told me about his haircut, as reported last week, but I also detected upon cross examination a certain judicial repugnance at the proposed changes to the law relating to prerogative writs, coming the Law Commission and which involves an amendment to the Judicature Amendment Act 1972 and Part 7 of the High Court Rules. These writs have been a cornerstone of judicial independence from Parliament since before this country even had a parliament. While simplicity is a laudable objective I find it difficult to believe anything coming out of our legislative drafting is ever going to come close to satisfactorily replacing what Judges can do when it comes to judicial review and other knotty matters. I believe I’m correct in saying the judiciary share that view.


Bill Wilson’s Horses

And talking of their Honours, Nicky Hager, the Tintin of New Zealand journalism turned his investigative skills to a legal conflict issue involving Supreme Court Justice Bill Wilson. Hager, who may well be writing ‘Blood Brothers II’ as a musical follow-up to ‘The Hollow Men’ and about the Winston Peters-Brian Henry relationship, wrote in the Sunday Star-Times about the appearance of conflict in Justice Bill Wilson’s ruling in respect of the lawsuit brought by South Island pastoralist Peter Radford’s case involving Justice Wilson’s good friend and business partner Alan Galbraith QC, who appeared in the Radford case. The Judge and Galbraith are major shareholders in a significant bloodstock operation, Rich Hill Ltd. Appearance of justice is as importance as its dispensation, but the case also highlights one of the major disadvantages in disposing of the Privy Council, which deprived us of not only a huge depth of legal talent but placed us squarely within New Zealand’s two degrees of separation where these issues can so easily arise.


ENDS

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