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Govt must act to stop 'legalised theft'

Judith Collins MP National Party Associate Justice Spokeswoman

05 December 2003

Govt must act to stop 'legalised theft'

National Party Associate Justice spokeswoman Judith Collins says the Government must act to stop immediately what she describes as 'the legalised theft' of money from the Law Society's fidelity fund.

She's responding to the planned use of provisions in the Lawyers and Conveyancers Bill that would allow the society to keep $5.685 million from a compulsory levy imposed in 1992 to help compensate clients of the failed Renshaw and Edwards law firm.

"This can only be described as legalised theft," says Ms Collins.

"The society plans to keep the cash without consulting or getting the approval of lawyers who paid the levy."

The bill allows for $9 million to be split three ways.

"Two thirds of the money would be kept by the society for 'regulatory functions' with the remainder being invested in a new fidelity fund.

"All those lawyers who contributed to the fund should be asking for this overpayment to come back to them.

"The select committee considering the bill must make sure the fidelity fund is wound up in a way that has the support of the legal fraternity, otherwise the Government's giving the green light to state sanctioned theft," Ms Collins says


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