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Ministry consultation failure disappoints lawyers

Ministry consultation failure disappoints lawyers

The New Zealand Law Society says it is very disappointed at the Ministry of Justice’s failure to consult key stakeholders before deciding to permanently close the Balclutha and Rangiora courthouses.

The convenor of the Law Society’s Courthouse Committee, Iain Hutcheson, says it is particularly frustrating that the ministry did not honour its assurance that it intended to consult lawyers and others before it made a recommendation on the future of the Rangiora courthouse.

“Courthouses are very important in any community. The reactions around New Zealand in the last year to other courthouse closures show how highly they are valued”, he said.

“The failure to consult is particularly disappointing given that the ministry had assured the Law Society that it would definitely not make any decision without proper consultation.”

Mr Hutcheson said it was surprising that the ministry had not adopted a better process as it had demonstrated its willingness to listen to feedback on other matters.

“Just this week the Law Society received an assurance from the Ministry of Justice that the Justice and Emergency Services Precinct in Christchurch will include space for a law library with hard copy resources,” he said.

“A better understanding of the current use of hard copy books was achieved after ministry officials in Christchurch and Wellington sat down with lawyers and other court users. The information which was exchanged in discussions on this matter has now resulted in ministry agreement that the library needs to marry traditional requirements together with the future needs of the precinct.

“This will be greatly appreciated by the legal profession in Christchurch, who have battled to ensure the city enjoys all the resources needed for an efficient and effective justice system. This has been achieved in a collaborative and consultative environment and the benefit of this is clear.”


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