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Digest No. 1864

Lawyers and Conveyancers Amendment Bill 2010 (2011 No 120-2)

Date of Introduction: 18 March 2010
Portfolio: Justice
Select Committee: Justice and Electoral
Date report presented: 13 April 2011
Published: 17 May 2011byJohn McSoriley BA LL.B, Barrister,Legislative AnalystP: (04) 817-9626 (Ext. 9626)F: (04) 817-1250Public enquiries:Parliamentary Information Service: (04 817-9647) Caution: This Digest was prepared to assist consideration of the Bill by members of Parliament. It has no official status.Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, it should not be taken as a complete or authoritative guide to the Bill. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.

Purpose

The main aim of this Bill as introduced is to amend the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 (the Act) to:

  • restore the rank of Queen's Counsel (QC) and restrict eligibility for appointment to that rank;

  • amend the provisions of the Act relating to a conveyancing practitioner holding non-voting shares of an incorporated law firm;

  • require the power of attorney which a lawyer or conveyancing practitioner in sole practice must give to enable the donee to conduct the practice as an agent during any periods in which the lawyer or conveyancing practitioner is an undischarged bankrupt.

The Bill as introduced is described in Bills Digest No 1760

Main changes

QC appointments restricted except under Royal prerogative.

The Select Committee has recommended that it be made clearer in the Bill that the rank of Queen’s Counsel is to be reserved for those lawyers who practise as barristers sole (i.e. under the “standard eligibility criteria” [1]   in New Section 118A(1)) but without limiting the Royal prerogative to appoint other persons to the rank (Part 1, Clause 6, amending New Section 118A of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006).

QC appointees to remain barristers sole

The Select Committee has recommended that it be made clearer in the Bill that where a lawyer is appointed QC from the ranks of barristers sole (i.e. under the “standard eligibility criteria” in New Section 118A(1)), that lawyer must not, as a QC, engage in legal practice other than as a barrister sole (Part 1, Clause 6, amending New Section 118A of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006).

Comment

The Select Committee stated: “The purpose of the practice restrictions is to preserve the independence of the rank. We believe the restrictions set out in this section should be worded more precisely. For example, we understand that the practice restrictions in the bill as introduced could prevent a Queen’s Counsel from lecturing at a university” [2]   .

Royal Prerogative

The Select Committee has also recommend that it be made clearer that the Royal Prerogative to appoint as Queen’s Counsel remains unfettered and that persons so appointed who do not practise as barristers sole (i.e. under the “standard eligibility criteria” [3]   in New Section 118A(1)) are not, after being so appointed, subject to New Section 118B which imposes practice restrictions (see above) (Part 1, Clause 6, amending New Section 119C of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006).

Copyright: © NZ Parliamentary Library, 2011
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence. In essence, you are free to copy, distribute and adapt the work, as long as you attribute the work to the Parliamentary Library and abide by the other licence terms. To view a copy of this licence, visit : http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/nz/.

  1. Lawyers and Conveyancers Amendment Bill, 2011 No 120-2, As reported from the Justice and Electoral Committee, Commentary, p. 2.   [back]
  2. Lawyers and Conveyancers Amendment Bill, 2011 No 120-2, As reported from the Justice and Electoral Committee, Commentary, p. 2.   [back]
  3. Lawyers and Conveyancers Amendment Bill, 2011 No 120-2, As reported from the Justice and Electoral Committee, Commentary, p. 2.   [back]