Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Comments on the judiciary by lawyers

17 April 2018

Comments on the judiciary by lawyers

Lawyers are quite entitled to express views publicly which are critical of judicial decisions made in cases where they have not appeared, but they are expected to be careful not to do so in a way that may undermine public confidence in the judicial system when doing so, New Zealand Law Society President Kathryn Beck says.

Ms Beck was responding to reports that an Auckland barrister was being investigated by a lawyers standards committee for comments made about a judge’s decision and the remarks he made.

“Section 188 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 means the Law Society is unable to comment on any specific complaint or own motion investigation undertaken by a standards committee. However, some of the comments made in the media are seeming to imply that any criticism or comment by lawyers on the decisions by judges is not permitted somehow.

“Far from it. New Zealand has a free and open system of justice and it is one in which anyone – including lawyers and legal commentators – is able to scrutinise and comment on judicial decisions.

“Decisions by lawyers standards committees, the Legal Complaints Review Officer, and our courts have upheld the rights of lawyers to comment about judges in the context of the decisions which they have made.

“The effect of these decisions is that the comments should be expressed in a reasoned and objective manner. Practising lawyers are officers of the court and under the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, one of their fundamental obligations is to uphold the rule of law and to facilitate the administration of justice in New Zealand.

“Fair and reasonable comment on the decision by a court facilitates the administration of justice. It is important that lawyers and anyone else feels free to comment on any decision. However, such comment should be reasoned, not personal. It should not be destructive or undermine the operation of the court.

“I believe we are very fortunate to have a judiciary of high calibre and dedicated to the interests of justice. However, it is very important that the freedom of all New Zealanders to discuss and disagree with judicial decisions is emphasised.

“New Zealand has a well-established appellate system which can be used by litigants and parties to appeal decisions which they believe are wrong. The Judicial Conduct Commissioner is also one avenue which can be used if a lawyer has a concern about the conduct of a judge.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Dealing Crackdown, Addiction Support: Government Action On Synthetics

The NZ Drug Foundation has welcomed the Government’s response to synthetic drug deaths. The response strikes a balance between giving law enforcement the tools they need to target criminal networks and changing drug law to make it easier for people to access help when they need it. More>>


Strategy Committee Unanimous: Wellington To Forge Ahead With Convention Centre

The three-storey Cable Street building, with around 18,000-square metres of floor space, will comfortably be able to host 1500 people for conventions. It includes a 1651sq m exhibition area that will attract international exhibitions too big for nearby Te Papa and provide an always-changing visitor attraction. More>>


Surveying The Surveillance: First IGIS Review Of Warrants Under New Act

The report sets out the Inspector-General’s interpretation of the new warrant provisions under the ISA and her expectations of the GCSB and NZSIS when they prepare warrant applications. More>>

SSC: 2018 Public Service Workforce Data Published

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has published the 2018 Our People, Public Service Workforce Data , which shows the Public Service is making significant progress in important areas. More>>


Sinking Cap: Auctions, Permanent Forests, Added To ETS

The move to auctions, signalled in an August consultation paper, will help put a cap on the number of emission units available over time. Annual announcements, looking forward five years, will help provide certainty for scheme participants, she said. More>>


Joint Select Committee Report: Achieving Smokefree 2025

In a historic first for select committees, the Māori Affairs Committee and the Health Committee presented their joint report on achieving the Smokefree 2025 goal to the House on Tuesday, 11 December 2018. More>>

"Shared Interests And Democratic Values": Peters To Visit USA

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington D.C. for talks with US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and other senior members of the US Administration. More>>




InfoPages News Channels