Lawyers & Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal

Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal operations with COVID-19 in the community

Chairperson – Dale Clarkson

Effective from Tuesday 13 September 2022

INTRODUCTION

  1. This protocol sets out a framework for ensuring that everyone who needs to participate in proceedings is able to do so. The primary considerations that underpin this protocol, and decisions under it, are the interests of justice and the protection of the health and safety of everyone in the court building.
  2. This protocol applies subject to any directions given by the presiding chairperson in a particular case. The presiding chairperson may direct that requirements set out in this protocol do not apply in a particular case if the chairperson is satisfied that it is in the interests of justice to do so.

ENTRY TO COURT BUILDINGS

  1. The following requirements apply to entry into court buildings:

(a)     A person may not enter the court building if they are showing signs of illness;

(b)     A person who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 7 days may not enter the court building.

  1. The Tribunal hearings remain open to the public, but for health and safety reasons there may be limits on the number of people who are not directly involved in proceedings who are permitted to be physically present in courtrooms and court buildings.

MASKS

  1. All persons entering the court building may wear a surgical mask or a KN95 mask and are strongly encouraged to do so when moving around the court building (including courtrooms).[1] Masks will be provided at the entry to the court building for all those who do not have their own mask.
  2. A surgical mask or KN95 mask must be worn by all persons present in a courtroom, or by specified persons in a courtroom, if the presiding chairperson so directs.

CONDUCT OF HEARINGS

  1. All matters listed for hearing will be conducted in person unless a chairperson directs otherwise. Directions may be given for some types of hearing to be conducted remotely. 
  2. A party may seek a direction that a matter should be conducted with all participants appearing remotely.  A request for a matter to be conducted remotely should be made with as much notice as possible, and where practicable five working days in advance.
  3. A party, counsel or other participant may apply to participate in a hearing by remote technology.  A request for a participant to appear remotely should be made with as much notice as possible, and where practicable five working days in advance. 

RAPID ANTIGEN TESTS (RATS)

  1. A participant who has any symptoms of Covid-19 must take a RAT before attending court.
  2. The presiding chairperson may direct that some or all participants in a hearing longer than one day must take a RAT in the morning before attending court, on such days as the chairperson directs.
  3. The Registry will advise counsel and any party who is not legally represented of the arrangements for obtaining RATS from the court.
  4. If a participant receives a positive COVID-19 test result, they must not attend court (and if present at court, must promptly leave). Whether and how the hearing may be able to continue will be a matter for the presiding Chairperson to determine on a case-by-case basis.
  5. If a court participant is required to take a RAT, and declines to do so, the presiding Chairperson will determine whether and how the hearing will proceed.

GENERAL PROVISIONS

 

Media access

 

  1. Accredited news media will have entry to the Court in order to report court proceedings, and to ensure continued open and transparent justice. Remote access for accredited news media will continue to be facilitated in accordance with current protocols.

 

Remote participation and viewing

 

  1. The Protocol for Participation in Remote Hearings(external link) will apply to any hearings involving remote participants:

Protocol for Participation in Remote Hearings(external link)

  1. The Protocol for Remote Viewings of Hearings(external link) governs media and public access to hearings:

Protocol for Remote Viewing of Hearings(external link)

 

Health and safety

  1. The following health and safety measures can be expected in the court building:

(a)     Cleaning products will be available on site to enable staff and lawyers to keep their immediate areas clean (including AVL suites);

(b)     hand sanitizer will be readily available within the courtroom;

(c)     Face masks will be readily available in court buildings;

(d)     RAT kits will be available in court buildings. 

  1. Any concerns about health and safety in the Court should be raised with the Tribunal services Manager in the first instance.

 

Expectations of Counsel

  1. Counsel are expected to assist the Tribunal by:

(a)     Briefing clients and witnesses on the court building entry requirements and RAT testing requirements set out above.

(b)     Reducing unnecessary attendance in the court building by counsel, their clients, and witnesses by reviewing each attendance in advance and:

(i)     Seeking remote participation in appropriate cases;

(ii)     Seeking excusals from appearances in administrative hearings; and

(iii)     Limiting the number of witnesses via the use of agreed facts.

(c)     Counsel should consider and endeavour to agree whether it is appropriate for any witness to participate remotely and advise the Court of any such proposals well in advance of the hearing date.


[1] All references to KN95 masks include references to masks of an equivalent standard such as P2 masks.

The Lawyers & Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal hears and determines disciplinary charges against members of the legal and conveyancing professions.

These charges are referred to the tribunal by a standards committee of the New Zealand Law Society or New Zealand Society of Conveyancers, or the Legal Complaints Review Officer.

The tribunal also receives applications regarding suspension, striking off, revocation of orders and restoration of practitioners to the roll or register.

  • About the tribunal

    The Lawyers & Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal was established under the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006.

  • Apply

    How to apply for a review.

  • Hearing process

    There are various procedures to be followed when proceedings are commenced, including pre-trial conferences and actual preparation for hearing.

  • Upcoming hearings

    Dates, times and location of upcoming hearings.

  • Forms and fees

    The forms and fees you will need to apply for a review.

  • Decisions

    Use our decision finder to search online for decisions by the tribunal.

  • Contact us

    How to contact the tribunal.

This page was last updated: