Lawyers and The New Zealand

The history of civilised human society is in many ways the history of law where the foundations of modern law were laid in the age of enlightenment and inspired by Roman law. Theoretically, it was a gathering of ideas, values and systems which provided the framework of morale and enforceable codes of behaviour for society to adhere to. Today, law is defined as the set of rules and guidelines which are enforced by a variety of institutions authorised to do so. It provides the written mediator of society, embedding what is expected of people and their behaviour. In the present, the system of law is now divided into numerous sub groups including criminal, civil, property, trust and administrative law, among others.

Lawyers are highly trained individuals who are charged with the responsibility of interpreting the law and presenting cases in front of courts who have jurisdiction to hear and judge on such cases. In New Zealand, the term lawyer refers to both barristers and solicitors, their main roles include presenting oral arguments in courts, researching and drafting court papers, providing written and oral advocacy in administrative hearings, counselling, legal advice, drafting and negotiating contracts, conveyancing, carrying out the intent of the deceased as well as prosecuting and defending criminal suspects.

The behaviour, code of practice and behaviour are regulated by the Ministry of Justice, as well as supervising the admission, licensing and regulation of lawyers. The institutions also empower professional associations, such as law societies, who are given powers to administer the behaviour and conduct of lawyers. The New Zealand Law Society, formed in 1869 under statute, regulates lawyers within the country; although membership is voluntary. The purpose of the Law Society, as well as upholding the code of conduct, is to assist and promote the reformation of New Zealand law. The regulatory activities of the body includes issuing practice certificates to lawyers and maintaining the register of lawyers, creating and enforcing practice rules, managing a complaints service directed against lawyers, as well as operating a financial assurance scheme and fidelity fund.

For lawyers, the benefits of membership to the New Zealand Law Society is access to the full range of services mentioned previously as well as the opportunity to make a positive impact upon the law that governs us. Following the code of practice results in better customer service which leads to increased client retention, as well as increased success in tenders and panel reviews.