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  • "Stasi" Law Society exposed


    Omens of threat to an ordered society, perceived or real, can provoke the most sensible citizens to willingly forfeit their freedoms. After 9-11, Americans paradoxically clamoured for new laws which limited their right to assembly and freedom from search and surveillance.

    To those who protested, the suspicion mounted over what they had to hide. Few things give more power to an autocracy than a war against a vague threat, and the gullibility of the masses escapes notice of few prone to abuse public trust of power.

    In New Zealand, as long as the buses run on schedule and crime was well hidden, people had no reason to complain the government was becoming more secretive and corrupt. But despite this apathy, and investigative journalism in NZ years ago suffering the same fate as the Moa, scandals each week are popping up in this country with the population of Toronto.

    It is proving impossible not to recognise New Zealand has a corruption problem despite the cultural taboo against exposing misfeasance by powerful individuals.

    While politicians are increasingly outed for apparent corruption, there remains a disparity between their treatment by the island nation's press and the stalwart bureaucrats who are much better placed to threaten and cajole. While Justice Minister Judith Collins' statements are being spell-checked by journos concerning who she had dinner with in China, a virtual feeding frenzy of corruption plays out each day within the Justice Ministry.

    Ironically, Ms Collins was making an effort to lift the veil of secrecy shrouding many judicial acts prior to her recent tribulations.

    One man who is trying to help Kiwis get a grip on the disparity is Auckland barrister Frank Deliu (pictured). He famously won a High Court review which exposed the Judicial Conduct Commissioner for sitting on complaints of judicial misconduct and has been keeping the government busy responding to United Nations human rights complaints. Last week he exposed the National Standards Committee Secretary of the New Zealand Law Society for unlawfully answering private inquiries from the Chief High Court Judge concerning an investigation another judge asked the NZLS to conduct into Dr Deliu for complaining about a third judge. In New Zealand, such charades are demonstrative of our unique brand of 'judicial independence'.

    Though the NZLS could not dispute the evidence Secretary Mary Ollivier had acted unlawfully, they did their best by neither confirming nor denying the charges in a " decision" which merely stated the Society decided "to take no further action in respect to the complaint"

    This is but one similarity the NZLS has with Stasi, the official state security service of the former East Germany. Another is the evidence which shows the NZLS is being used by judges as a hit squad to exact disguised punishment against their critics, with both the judges and the NZLS officials acting unlawfully (e.g. disclosure revealed that Ms Ollivier was one of four NZLS officials Chief High Court Judge Helen Winkelman sought ex parte communications with).

    The person in charge of professional legal standards being found to have acted unlawfully would be news in any law respecting country but it is doubtful you could find news of it anywhere but on kiwisfirst.

    More ominous threats exist within this secret regime. Earlier this year, in what many labelled a show trial staged by the NZLS - and which virtually no lawyers criticised - Barrister Evgeny Orlov was disbarred over an infamous row he had with then-high Court Judge Rhys Harrison. Harrison's errant denigration of Orlov was accepted as judicial comment. Orlov's criticisms of Harrison, which four witnesses sought to support but the tribunal refused to consider, were sufficient for the tribunal to pass sentence of economic capital punishment. Despite the high stakes, the judge was not allowed to be questioned and the tribunal's witness stated she could not remember whether the judge was disrespectful to Orlov but her memory is she likely would have remembered if he had been.


    The lay member on the panel dissented from the decision.


    The tactics leading up to the trial were perhaps more suspect. Discovery revealed the NZLS had been trolling kiwisfirst from at least December 2010 for information to open files on lawyers and even lay persons who were exposing actions of the New Zealand court system and Attorney General. Considering Attorney-General Finlayson preaches to lawyers who will listen that kiwisfirst publications are false and defamatory, the NZLS's reliance on kiwisfirst publications is, in the least, baffling.


    One upshot of the New Zealand regime is Judge Winkelmann's misconduct will never be questioned because exposing misdeeds by judges in New Zealand results in Stalinesque charges against the whistleblowing-lawyer for bringing the judiciary into disrepute.

    No media lawyer will approve their organisation run such allegations and evidence for fear of exposing themselves to attack as well as their employer. In 2010, emails briefly surfaced between former President of the New Zealand Bar Association James Farmer and retired Court of Appeal Judge Ted Thomas revealing an attempt to quell the conflict of interest scandal surrounding Supreme Court Justice Bill Wilson because of fear the scandal "could bring down (the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court) if probed".

    Despite these men certainly being in a position to know what constituted a legitimate threat to bring down the Chief Justice, no probe occurred and nothing more was reported.


    NZ Judges routinely issue judgments which declare judges must be exempt from the law in order to maintain their independence - as Justice Kit Toogood ruled in 2012 in granting the Judicial Conduct Commissioner's application striking out a judicial review against the Commissioner's refusal to conduct a preliminary examination of a judicial misconduct complaint.

    While Section 15 of the Judicial Conduct Commissioner and Judicial Panel Act states the Commissioner "must" do so, Toogood declared the purpose of the Act was to protect judicial independence, concluding the Commissioner's reading of a complaint amounts to a preliminary examination despite the Commissioner ruling he would not conduct a preliminary examination.


    Lawyers who care about what is happening are afraid to state the obvious in public; "An independent judiciary is one thing, while a wilful, capricious, unprincipled and tyrannical judiciary is another", as Australian High Court Justice Dyson Heydon brilliantly imparted to a NZLS seminar in 2008.


    It should not be surprising that NZ Judges interpret laws in a manner most beneficial to their interests. But it is safe to state that when the President of the NZ Bar Association seeks to cover up judicial misconduct, the Law Society acts on private requests of judges to prosecute because the lawyer dared to lay a complaint against a fellow judge, and the press fails to report it, the rule of law is being lost.

    A vigilant, intrepid press and a vibrant independent bar have always been essential protections against despotism by judicial officers in law-respecting democracies. New Zealand jurists have turned this historical lesson on its head, put lipstick on the ass and show no mercy for citizens who refuse to kiss it.

    Credit:Kiwisfirst
    Comments 9 Comments
    1. courtwatcher's Avatar
      courtwatcher -
      This is absolutely disgraceful. Where is the mainstream sheep media? Where are the other lawyers who ought to know in the recesses of their small brains that they will be next if they do not speak out?
    1. flimflam's Avatar
      flimflam -
      A lack of agreement between executors of an estate allows for the matter to be taken to court for directions as to how the estate is to be managed.

      The court will not consider why these differences have come about, they will consider that there is conflict between executors.

      The process is then; that all those who have an interest in the estate must have legal representation - appointed by the court. The estate pays for this.

      So when one executor is a lawyer who doesn't do their job or is intentionally obstructive this is not considered.

      What is considered is that there is conflict between executors, this is easy to demonstrate - a simple complaint to the law society would be evidence that there is conflict between executors.

      The lawyer gets this from their buddies at the society then makes the application to the court, the court appoints a lawyer for everyone and the estate is cleaned out.

      The applicant to the court (the lawyer executor) withdraws the application to the court after it has appointed lawyers for everyone mentioned in the will. The estate is emptied due to the amassing fees.

      Nice and neat, legal. Your parents money - gone. We are supposed to respect that, a profession like that who behaves like that, a governing society who knows that this goes on, a standards committee that enables this and judges who know this goes on. The lawyer has ensured that conflict between executers happens, applies to court knowing the outcome from the outset because conflict is played for and intentional.

      How about that for a scam?
    1. Q. C.'s Avatar
      Q. C. -
      Quote Originally Posted by flimflam View Post
      ...How about that for a scam?
      It cannot be a scam, as it is standard practice (for many lawyers). Estates are simply seen by lawyers as free fruit on money trees, to be picked.

      Once empty of 'free money fruit' the money tree is discarded.

      Your summary is 100% correct. It is like many other things in the legal fraternity (which includes Judges, Law Society etc), simply "racketeering".
    1. flimflam's Avatar
      flimflam -
      Thank you. The most incredible aspect of this in my experience was the pure arrogance demonstrated by the lawyer. (other executor)

      He actually performed and acted as though this was his money. He helped himself to fees, although an expense to the estate which must have the approval of all executors - like any estate expense. Not for him though, he simply reached into my parents money and took his so called fees.

      He and I had responsibilities to the estate. To invest any cash and to protect and grow the assets of the estate. His investment strategy was to keep the money in his trust account - for 18 months after probate. There were no challenges to the will. He simply did not take my calls and responded to emails off the subject with utter nonsense. His stance was that he was considering investments.

      He refused to attend arbitration on two occasions which I cajoled the law society to chair. He simply didn't have to attend - so he didn't.

      I informed Grey Power - to help protect their members, I went to Dom Post - what for? They were not interested. A well known politician once said "if you can control the media you can control the people". He was correct, unfortunately it was Adolf Hittler.
    1. flimflam's Avatar
      flimflam -
      Yes, these things need to change but that is nothing new. August 2008 was when the process for complaints changed from the Law Society Complaints Process which of course was a joke. The "standard" of a lawyer's work wasn't considered complain able so narrow was the Law Society complaint consideration.

      The Standards Committie was to change all of that where the standard of a lawyers work was able to now be scrutinized. The standards Committie is or was made up of 6 lawyers (local from the same district as the one being complained about) and a lay person with the Legal Complaints Review Officer sitting over the top of that.

      It used to be that all of the assessment panel were lawyers with a lay observer sitting on top of that. Such a crock really. The reason for change in 2008 was a lack of public confidence. Most people wouldn't know that anything changed in August 2008 because they are worse now than before.

      There are questions over just how arms length the Legal Complaints Review Officer really is from the Society Chums.

      It's really odd that anyone should see this level of assessment and self governance as anything but bad, and a laughing stock for our country on so many levels. Most thinking people (who aren't lawyers, judges or at the troff in some way) see it as a bloody shocker.
    1. Q. C.'s Avatar
      Q. C. -
      Quote Originally Posted by flimflam View Post
      ...The standards Committie is or was made up of 6 lawyers (local from the same district as the one being complained about) and a lay person with the Legal Complaints Review Officer sitting over the top of that...There are questions over just how arms length the Legal Complaints Review Officer really is from the Society Chums...
      For the avoidance of doubt, on the Legal Complaints Review Officer, the Act states he must not be a lawyer.

      Therefore he is absolutely independent in the publics and MP's eyes.

      Unfortunately, when our brilliant MP's passed the Act they did not notice that the lawyers who drafted the Act inserted in s. 4 a definition of a lawyer. A Lawyers is defined as someone who has a practice certificate.

      So all lawyers who have become Legal Complaints Review Officers since the Act can into effect were not lawyers, as they resigned their practice certificates just before being appointed. The first LCRO, Mr. Webb, before resigning as LCRO reapplied for his Practice Certificate and received it as soon as he resigned.

      The above situation is called the highest standard of ethics, utmost integrity and obvious independence by the Law Society and its members.

      In simply terms screw Parliament and the public, we are protected by the Act we wrote to fleece and abuse the public in whatever way we regularly choose.
    1. John "Brockovich"'s Avatar
      John "Brockovich" -
      Quote Originally Posted by Q. C. View Post
      For the avoidance of doubt, on the Legal Complaints Review Officer, the Act states he must not be a lawyer.

      Therefore he is absolutely independent in the publics and MP's eyes.

      Unfortunately, when our brilliant MP's passed the Act they did not notice that the lawyers who drafted the Act inserted in s. 4 a definition of a lawyer. A Lawyers is defined as someone who has a practice certificate.

      So all lawyers who have become Legal Complaints Review Officers since the Act can into effect were not lawyers, as they resigned their practice certificates just before being appointed. The first LCRO, Mr. Webb, before resigning as LCRO reapplied for his Practice Certificate and received it as soon as he resigned.

      The above situation is called the highest standard of ethics, utmost integrity and obvious independence by the Law Society and its members.

      In simply terms screw Parliament and the public, we are protected by the Act we wrote to fleece and abuse the public in whatever way we regularly choose.
      A Question: As the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 is administered by the Ministry of Justice and Judith Collins is the Minister, a Lawyer and an MP, and must know that all previous LCRO's were lawyers before they resigned to become LCRO's; is it because of her conflict of interests as a Lawyer and Minister that she knows of this yet has not approached Parliament to correct the Act so as the Law Society cannot endorse it Members appointment to the LCRO position in breach of the intentions of the Act and Parliament?

      Will any journalist ask that question of the Justice Minister on her perceived or actual conflict of interest in this area!
    1. Q. C.'s Avatar
      Q. C. -
      Quote Originally Posted by John "Brockovich" View Post
      A Question: As the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 is administered by the Ministry of Justice and Judith Collins is the Minister, a Lawyer and an MP, and must know that all previous LCRO's were lawyers before they resigned to become LCRO's; is it because of her conflict of interests as a Lawyer and Minister that she knows of this yet has not approached Parliament to correct the Act so as the Law Society cannot endorse it Members appointment to the LCRO position in breach of the intentions of the Act and Parliament?

      Will any journalist ask that question of the Justice Minister on her perceived or actual conflict of interest in this area!
      Footnote: Under s. 190 of the Act "The Legal Complaints Review Officer is to be appointed by the Minister, after consultation with the NZ Law Society..." , ie Judith Collins and her predecessors who were all lawyers.
    1. John "Brockovich"'s Avatar
      John "Brockovich" -
      Quote Originally Posted by Q. C. View Post
      Footnote: Under s. 190 of the Act "The Legal Complaints Review Officer is to be appointed by the Minister, after consultation with the NZ Law Society..." , ie Judith Collins and her predecessors who were all lawyers.
      SECOND QUESTION: In integrity v integrity (that is Collins v the Law Society); who has the least integrity or is it so insignificant that it cannot be measured?
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