Regulatory advice

20 September 2012
By NZLS

Some common questions asked by lawyers who are the subject of a formal complaint

A complaint, although often viewed as an intrusion into a lawyer’s practice can, in some circumstances, be a useful way of obtaining valuable client feedback about the services offered by you and your firm and the way you communicate with your clients. Complaint made direct to firm If the complaint ... More about Some common questions asked by lawyers who are the subject of a formal complaint.

25 October 2011
By NZLS

Lawyer suspended for criminal convictions and conduct unbecoming

Auckland barrister Brett Ravelich was suspended for four and a half months by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal after a Lawyers Standards Committee brought charges relating to criminal convictions extending back over a number of years. In Auckland Standards Committee 1 v Brett Dean Ravelich [2011] NZLCDT ... More about Lawyer suspended for criminal convictions and conduct unbecoming.

10 August 2011
By NZLS

Float and advance accounts

For the purposes of this article a ‘float account or advance account’ is the amount of money belonging to a law firm which is held in the firm’s trust account. A float or advance account is initially established by depositing money from the law firm’s general bank account into the ... More about Float and advance accounts.

10 August 2011
By NZLS

Dormant trust account balances

A “dormant trust account balance” is money left in a client’s trust account after a transaction is completed. Left unmanaged, dormant balances can grow in number over time and can expose a firm to risk. For example, dormant balances can become a target for theft or help to camouflage other ... More about Dormant trust account balances.

10 August 2011
By NZLS

Agency fees

The NZLS Inspectorate has noted that some practices charge an ‘agency fee’ in the course of conveyancing transactions. Quite often these ‘agency’ costs are combined with search and registration costs and billed as one amount. Those firms who undertake this practice are referred to s111 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers ... More about Agency fees.

10 August 2011
By NZLS

Practising without a trust account

Lawyers who do not receive or hold trust money or clients' valuable property in the course of practice, and lawyers who give notice to NZLS in accordance with ss317 and 318 Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 (LCA) and Regulation 4 LCA (Trust Account) Regulations 2008, are exempt from the requirements ... More about Practising without a trust account.

10 August 2011
By NZLS

Fee Complaints

Lawyers have obligations under the Rules of Conduct and Client Care in relation to communicating with clients about fees. Under rules 3.4 and 3.5 a lawyer must provide a client with information outlining the basis on which fees will be charged, when payment of the fee is required and whether ... More about Fee Complaints.

4 August 2011
By Michele McCreadie, Director Legal Aid Services at the Ministry of Justice

Fixed fees and criminal legal aid

From October 2011, most criminal legal aid grants will be come under a new fixed fees payment regime, currently under development by the Legal Aid team at the Ministry of Justice. The fixed fees approach will cover cases across all criminal legal aid proceedings categories, as well as appeal and ... More about Fixed fees and criminal legal aid.

15 November 2010
By NZLS

Barristers and independence

Chapter 14 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008 relates to barristers. Rule 14.9 states that a barrister sole must not do anything to induce persons to suppose that the barrister sole retains a connection with any practice of which he or she was ... More about Barristers and independence.

15 November 2010
By NZLS

Lawyers Complaints Service 09-10

Majority of complaints not taken further The NZLS-operated Lawyers Complaints Service received 1,461 complaints in the year ended 30 June 2010. Of these, 58% were lodged by a client or former client of a lawyer. During the period, 1,377 complaints were closed and no action was taken in 1,061 of ... More about Lawyers Complaints Service 09-10.

15 November 2010
By NZLS

Lawyers engaged by non-lawyers

An Overview This issue has arisen in the context of lawyers being engaged by immigration advisers (and their companies), but is of wider application. People use the phrase engaging a lawyer in three different contexts: the lawyer may be an employee of a non-lawyer – on an employment agreement (a ... More about Lawyers engaged by non-lawyers.

15 November 2010
By NZLS

Practice on own account changes

The Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers, Practice Rules) Amendment Regulations 2010 came into force on 1 July 2010. They amended the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Practice Rules) Regulations 2008 by tightening the legal experience requirements for lawyers who wish to practise on their own account. Under the principal regulations, ... More about Practice on own account changes.