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Dame Silvia Cartwright will chair the New Zealand Law Society’s regulatory working group to look at the processes for reporting and taking action on harassment and inappropriate behaviour in legal workplaces.
“I am thrilled to advise that Dame Silvia Cartwright has agreed to chair our regulatory working group,” Law Society President Kathryn Beck says.
“We are very pleased to have someone with her mana and experience, in particular in the area of promotion of the rights of women and dealing with victims of sexual violence.”
The five-member working group has been established to consider whether the existing regulatory framework, practices and processes are appropriate and how to provide better support for those making reports of sensitive issues.
Terms of reference for the working group are being finalised. The working group will have two lawyer members and the Law Society is seeking expressions of interest from lawyers who want to participate. Applications close at noon on Friday, 23 March.
The working group will look at:
Dame Silvia graduated LLB from the University of Otago in 1967 and was admitted as a barrister and solicitor. She was the second woman to be appointed a District Court Judge, in September 1981.
She chaired the Commission of Inquiry into the Treatment of Cervical Cancer and Other Related Matters at National Women’s Hospital (which became known as the Cartwright Inquiry) in 1987 and 1988. She was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1989 for services to women.
Dame Silvia was appointed Chief District Court Judge in 1989 and in 1993 she was the first woman to be appointed to the full High Court bench.
She served as Governor-General from 2001 to 2006 and then took up a position as one of 13 international trial judges on the United Nations Tribunal investigating war crimes in Cambodia. She served on the tribunal until 2014.
Expressions of interest from lawyers who want to participate in a regulatory working group on harassment and inappropriate workplace behaviour close at noon on Friday, 23 March.
The working group is being established by the New Zealand Law Society to consider what improvements can be made to enable better reporting of harassment to the Law Society.
The Law Society is inviting expressions of interest to fill two vacant lawyer positions on the five-member working group.
Executive Director Mary Ollivier says these are voluntary roles.
“Preferred applicants are likely to have experience in employment/health and safety, or criminal law (sexual violence) cases. Some knowledge of professional regulatory issues would be an advantage.”
Expressions of interest should be emailed before noon on Friday 23 March to email@example.com. Applicants should give details of any experience that is relevant to this work and also include their CVs.
Mrs Ollivier says the working group will look at whether the existing legislation is appropriate and how to provide better support for those making reports of sensitive issues.
The terms of reference are still being finalised, but the working group will look at:
The Law Society is also meeting with representatives from key legal interest groups to discuss the prevention of bullying and harassment in the legal profession and how everyone can work together to achieve safer legal workplaces.
After those meetings the Law Society will establish a group which consists of representatives of some of those organisations, to address matters such as culture change, particularly in relation to harassment and bullying.