That was a good read. Thanks.
From the NZ Law Society website:
Major developments around the world in cannabis decriminalisation and legalisation along with the growing medical marijuana business has resulted in the establishment of a website devoted to cannabis law.
Cannabis Law Report has the objective of reporting on the law and regulation of cannabis worldwide. It has been established by a group of legal publishers.
The site offers a mix of free and subscription material. It includes reports on the medical marijuana debate in New Zealand.
You're such an engaging writer.
Thanks, Russell, for giving us the opportunity to read her work.
Agree. But I'm sure you'll have your own experiences of being a specialist in your field and having people seek your advice and ignore it with drearily predictable consequences.
All we can do is give the client our best professional assessment of the merits of particular choices. Sometimes that advice is pretty strongly worded. The client does not have to take that advice, but we absolutely do have to follow their instructions.
Of course, our advice can turn out to be wrong. We're not perfect but we do give it our best. We know that by the time lawyers are involved there's generally a lot at stake for our client.
lawyers have choices
Not generally correct. Chapter 4.1 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008 provides:
4.1 Good cause to refuse to accept instructions includes a lack of available time, the instructions falling outside the lawyer's normal field of practice, instructions that could require the lawyer to breach any professional obligation, and the unwillingness or inability of the prospective client to pay the normal fee of the lawyer concerned for the relevant work.
4.1.1 The following are not good cause to refuse to accept instructions:
(a) any grounds of discrimination prohibited by law including those set out in section 21 of the Human Rights Act 1993:
(b) any personal attributes of the prospective client:
(c) the merits of the matter upon which the lawyer is consulted.
So basically, as long as the Crown prosecutor had time to do the work, it was in her field of law, it didn't require her to breach professional obligations, and the Crown could pay, she would have been unable to refuse to act.
Once she had agreed to act, her professional obligation - and that of Clayton Weatherston's lawyers - was to fight for her client, or as the Rules put it:
to act in accordance with all fiduciary duties and duties of care owed by lawyers to their clients:
to protect, subject to overriding duties as officers of the High Court and to duties under any enactment, the interests of clients
This is what sets us apart from other legal systems, in which the lawyer does have a choice whether or not to act. In my view, this is a good thing. I do not particularly want to work within a system that allows lawyers to make moral judgements about clients or prospective clients.
I don't think there is a lawyer in New Zealand who has not had to represent a client whose position is diametrically opposed to the lawyer's personal views. But we take our obligations very seriously. As you saw above, the fundamental obligation is an overriding duty as officers of the High Court.
This means that it is our overriding duty to the Court to bring the relevant law to its attention and to make the very best argument we can in line with our client's instructions, in order that the Court can make the best decision in the circumstances.
That is the reason people say we are just doing our job. If you don't like the legal arguments we are bringing (for example the provocation defence) then work to change the law so that those arguments cannot be made. But if they are available and relevant, and we do not make them based on a moral judgment, we are in serious breach of our obligation to our client and to the Court. And that is simply not acceptable.
The Wirecutter recommends the Yeti by Blue. Their review includes tests they've uploaded to Soundcloud.
Oh that's lovely! Thank you, Robyn.
Do you know of the Skint Foodie? Peckham is his part of town.
It's not that hard to get out of jury duty.
I think I'd rather see civics education in schools, though preferably not of the kind that leads to saluting the flag and singing the national anthem of a morning.
Forced engagement sounds, well, un-New Zealand.