Legal Complaints Review Officer

COVID-19 UPDATE 18 January 2022

Introduction
The Legal Complaints Review Officer has put the following additional safety measures in place to reduce the risk of hearing participants being exposed to COVID-19. These measures will apply to all hearings while the COVID-19 Protection Framework (or “traffic light system”) is in place.

When do these safety measures start?
1. These measures apply in respect of hearings on and after 17 January 2022.

Who can attend a hearing in person?
2. To attend a hearing in person at levels Red, Orange, or Green of the traffic light system, all parties, support people, witnesses, interpreters and any other person entering a hearing room will need to have a COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (My Vaccine Pass) which they will need to email to the case manager when a hearing date has been finalised. Parties are required to provide their vaccination certificate two weeks prior to the hearing.

3. A person wishing to attend a hearing who has not complied with paragraph 2 will be able to attend the hearing remotely by video-link over the internet (using Virtual Meeting Room, Microsoft Teams or similar) or telephone but will not be permitted to attend the hearing in person. Parties who are unable to provide the case manager with a copy of their vaccination certificate, are to advise the case manager on being advised of the hearing date for their matter.

4. If a Review Officer considers that a hearing may be appropriately conducted remotely without requirement for an “in person” hearing, the Review Officer may make directions accordingly.

What other safety measures are in place?
5. Everyone who attends a hearing in person must comply with the following health and safety requirements (and any other requirements advised by staff at the Court or hearing facility):

• Show a copy of their Vaccine Pass and photo identification (such as a driver’s licence or passport) at the entrance to the building;
• Scan the QR Code at the entrance to the building, or record details in the register provided at the door;
• Wear a facemask in the building and in the hearing room, unless an exemption applies, or unless the Review Officer approves its removal in the hearing;
• Maintain a distance of at least 1 metre from others (unless they are a person attending with you).

6. Any concerns about health and safety practices in the Court should be raised with the Court Manager in the first instance.  In the event of community transmission in your area, public health advice will be taken and further measures may be put in place.

Other aspects of the Review Officer’s processes
7. While the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021 is in force, the Legal Complaints Review Officer will, as far as is reasonably practicable, operate in its usual manner.

8. There may in some cases, need to be changes to the way cases are managed, including conducting hearings entirely by video-link or telephone or by requiring that documents be emailed rather than posted or delivered.

9. Parties affected by any change to usual operating procedures will be advised of those changes and provided with information to ensure that they understand how their matter will be managed.

10. This Protocol remains in force until revoked or modified by the Legal Complaints Review Officer.

Rex Maidment
Legal Complaints Review Officer

The Legal Complaints Review Officer independently reviews decisions made by the New Zealand Law Society and New Zealand Society of Conveyancers Standards Committees on complaints against lawyers and conveyancers. 

The reviews are as informal and straightforward as possible while giving proper consideration to the process of the review itself and the law.

In this section:

What to do if you want to complain about a lawyer or a conveyancer

Before you apply to the Review Officer, you must first complain to the New Zealand Law Society or the New Zealand Society of Conveyancers.

New Zealand Law Society website(external link)

New Zealand Society of Conveyancers(external link)

What to do if you want to apply for a review of a decision, requirement, order made or direction given

If you are unhappy after a standards committee has investigated a complaint, you can apply to the Legal Complaints Review Officer to review the decision.

Definitions

Here are some legal words you may come across while reading these pages [PDF, 21 KB].

Introduction

The Legal Complaints Review Officer has put the following additional safety measures in place to reduce the risk of hearing participants being exposed to COVID-19. These measures will apply to all hearings while the COVID-19 Protection Framework (or “traffic light system”) is in place.

When do these safety measures start?

1.      These measures apply in respect of hearings on and after 17 January 2022.

 

Who can attend a hearing in person?

2.      To attend a hearing in person at levels Red, Orange, or Green of the traffic light system, all parties, support people, witnesses, interpreters and any other person entering a hearing room will need to have a COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (My Vaccine Pass) which they will need to email to the case manager when a hearing date has been finalised. Parties are required to provide their vaccination certificate two weeks prior to the hearing.

3.      A person wishing to attend a hearing who has not complied with paragraph will be able to attend the hearing remotely by video-link over the internet (using Virtual Meeting Room, Microsoft Teams or similar) or telephone but will not be permitted to attend the hearing in person. Parties who are unable to provide the case manager with a copy of their vaccination certificate, are to advise the case manager on being advised of the hearing date for their matter.

4.      If a Review Officer considers that a hearing may be appropriately conducted remotely without requirement for an “in person” hearing, the Review Officer may make directions accordingly.

 

What other safety measures are in place?

5.      Everyone who attends a hearing in person must comply with the following health and safety requirements (and any other requirements advised by staff at the Court or hearing facility):

·         Show a copy of their Vaccine Pass and photo identification (such as a driver’s licence or passport) at the entrance to the building;

·         Scan the QR Code at the entrance to the building, or record details in the register provided at the door;

·         Wear a facemask in the building and in the hearing room, unless an exemption applies, or unless the Review Officer approves its removal in the hearing;

·         Maintain a distance of at least 1 metre from others (unless they are a person attending with you).

6.      Any concerns about health and safety practices in the Court should be raised with the Court Manager in the first instance.  In the event of community transmission in your area, public health advice will be taken and further measures may be put in place.

 

Other aspects of the Review Officer’s processes

7.      While the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021 is in force, the Legal Complaints Review Officer will, as far as is reasonably practicable, operate in its usual manner.

8.      There may in some cases, need to be changes to the way cases are managed, including conducting hearings entirely by video-link or telephone or by requiring that documents be emailed rather than posted or delivered.

9.      Parties affected by any change to usual operating procedures will be advised of those changes and provided with information to ensure that they understand how their matter will be managed.

10.  This Protocol remains in force until revoked or modified by the Legal Complaints Review Officer.


[1]            Apart from persons under the age of 12 years and 3 months.

 

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