Why does Labour never rail against private crown prosecutors?

January 23rd, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Office has just published the terms of office for crown solicitors. Many outside the legal profession may be unaware that Crown Law prosecutes very few cases directly. They contract private law firms and lawyers to do it for them as Crown Solicitors.

For those interested the remuneration rates are $240 an our for a senior prosecutor, $192 for an intermediate one and $140 for a junior prosecutor. This is rather more than legal aid rates which vary from $92 an hour to $159 an hour.

Now I’ve got no issue with the long-standing practice of having private law firms be contracted to Crown Law to prosecute criminals. And I presume doesn’t either, as they never changed the practice when in Government, and have no policy to do so.

But it makes me wonder how it fits in with their jihad against . They say:

Labour believes that incarceration should be the responsibility of the state. There are few more serious powers that a government has than taking away someone’s liberty.

We believe that the act of taking away someone’s liberty and freedom is one of the most invasive state responsibilities, and as such needs to be handled as a core state role.

So on this basis, how can Labour claim the private sector can have no role in managing the prison, but they are fine to prosecute the offenders which leads to them going into prison? I’d say prosecution is arguably far more of a core crown responsibility than merely managing a prison.

My best guess is it comes down to unions. Labour tends to oppose the private sector when it seeks to be involved in an area where the public sector equivalent is highly unionised. Because unions fund, support and even vote on policy and candidates for Labour. So Labour’s often major motivation is to get more members for unions.

Public prison officers and public school teachers tend to be unionised, so charter schools and private prisons are a threat to them, as it may result in fewer union members and hence less support from unions.

Crown lawyers are not particularly unionised, so there is no advantage to Labour in having prosecutions done solely by Crown Law Office. Hence their wildly inconsistent policies, which they dress up as principle.

So the next time Labour rails against private prisons, ask them why they don’t have a problem with private law firms prosecuting on behalf of the state – surely a function which is far more core than merely managing a prison under terms set down by the Department of Corrections.

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88 Responses to “Why does Labour never rail against private crown prosecutors?”

  1. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    No David, it comes down to the fact they didn’t know Crown Law contracts out to private law firms.

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  2. NK (1,067 comments) says:

    They didn’t know Joanne? Meredith Connell in Auckland has held the Crown Solicitors warrant for 92 years.

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  3. nickb (3,659 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t hold National out as particularly competent stewards of our justice system either.

    This is the party that abolished provocation and cut legal aid after all. This is putting aside the fact they had an incompetent nanny statist Palmerston North conveyancer in charge of the most vital arm of the Government.

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  4. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    One suspects that because many of them were lawyers in a past life that they want to ensure their mates keep their gravy train.

    Having said that, I think it would be a fair call for legal aid rates to be the same as prosecutor rates (and preferably the crown rate decrease, since even $92 an hour is an obscene amount of money to pay a parasite).

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  5. queenstfarmer (746 comments) says:

    “This is the party that … cut legal aid after all”

    Good. Slowing the runaway legal aid gravy train was a very justified and appropriate move.

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  6. anonymouse (695 comments) says:

    @Joanne, well then Cunners should role over and ask Karen to tell him how things work, because I am damn sure that she is well aware of this fact,

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  7. nickb (3,659 comments) says:

    Good. Slowing the runaway legal aid gravy train was a very justified and appropriate move.

    Thanks for that incisive observation, that could only come from a layperson.

    When you or someone you know needs a lawyer but can’t find one because no-one will work for the derisory rates (unchanged since 1990 I might add) then maybe you will change your position.

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  8. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    I don’t think that $92 – $159 per hour is derisory. I’d gladly work for that much.

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  9. nickb (3,659 comments) says:

    Ok gazz – even after 5 years of study and 20+ years of stressful 80 hour weeks upholding the most basic rights of democratic people? It sounds like you are in a minority given the vast number of people flocking out of criminal law.

    Soon, to get a decent defense you will have to turn to the only place available….a government department (the public defense service). Let’s see how that works out.

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  10. Graeme Edgeler (3,267 comments) says:

    I’d say prosecution is arguably far more of a core crown responsibility than merely managing a prison.

    I’d be interested in your argument for that. Keeping prisons seems much more of a core state function to me.

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  11. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    NK

    So it doesn’t mean they knew. Chasing ambulances is far better.

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  12. burt (7,806 comments) says:

    The answer is remarkably simple – Lawyers don’t (typically) belong to unions so there is no impact to union membership numbers in allowing this to happen. Therefore …. no impact to labour party funding !

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  13. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    nickb
    5 years of study and 80+ hour weeks does not make a lawyer any less of a parasite.
    And I would contest that lawyers uphold democratic rights. In my experience they tend to put barriers in the way the public getting access to the law, since they want to make sure they get to clip the ticket on the way through.

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  14. queenstfarmer (746 comments) says:

    @nickb, sounds like your observation could only come from a disaffected legal aid lawyer :-)

    I hope that all legal aid lawyers share your deep concern for a suitable supply of well-paid defence lawyers, and accordingly refrain from rorting the system in future.

    Don’t forget, there’s the Public Defender Service too.

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  15. NK (1,067 comments) says:

    5 years of study and 80+ hour weeks does not make a lawyer any less of a parasite.
    And I would contest that lawyers uphold democratic rights. In my experience they tend to put barriers in the way the public getting access to the law, since they want to make sure they get to clip the ticket on the way through.

    Lawyers are a lot like policeman I think (and I have done both jobs). You hate them until you need them.

    What are these “barriers” you mention?

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  16. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    I thought that members of the Bar are officers of the Court, regardles of being in private practice or not. This carries with it certain obligations to the Court.

    Maybe I am wrong…

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  17. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    NK – The ones that cost money when you need them.
    Example – it costs hundreds of dollars to do conveyancing when you sell or buy a property. In reality, all the lawyer is doing is organising for you to sign mortgage documents for the bank and lodging some forms with the government, but they’d have you think that it’s a highly complicated procedure and most people are sucked in.

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  18. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    Well, I think there are obvious differences. We don’t want private individuals making a profit out of charging people with crimes, because that would lead to incentives to falsely charge people with crimes. We also don’t want people to make a profit out of punishing people, because punishment is an evil, and falls on the side of things that should not be done for profit, like donating organs.

    But prosecutors are neither charging nor punishing citizens: they have a narrow, technical job which is making the case for the state according to the rules of the court. The way that the court system is set up they simply cannot abuse it for personal gain in this case (pretty much any morally dubious stuff they are allowed to do is allowed in the court system and the defence lawyers can do it as well).

    I think you’re off base here, Dave.

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  19. anticorruptionnz (164 comments) says:

    Private law firms work for $$$$ it is therefore not in their interest to see a matter brought to a rapid conclusion. As a former Police prosecutor I remember pulling claims from the court because it was obvious that the evidence fell short of the required standard of proof. A lawyer being paid by the hour , and a law firm who sees the ability to be able to employ more staff and make more SS would push the matter through until the court made a decision or the other party runs out of funds. Justice should at all times be the objective not $$$$$

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  20. somewhatthoughtful (451 comments) says:

    You must be getting desperate if this is the best attack you have today.

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  21. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    anticorruptionnz, Does your group have an email address for people to contact ?

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  22. OneTrack (2,598 comments) says:

    dpf – “ask them why they don’t have a problem with private law firms prosecuting on behalf of the state”

    Don’t give them any more ideas. Next we will see a new Ministry set up to do prosecutions so the “rich pricks” don’t make all that money.

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  23. In Vino Veritas (136 comments) says:

    What drivel. Firstly, the prisons do not take away liberty. The Crown appointed judge takes away liberty when handing down a sentence. The prison is the mechanism for carrying out the sentence. Secondly, “There are few more serious powers that a government has than taking away someone’s liberty”, there is always the power to take away private property, just like Labour does when it redistributes one persons wealth to another. And they don’t take that very seriously, other wise they wouldn’t do it. So their concern about taking away a persons liberty is just hypocritical nonsense.

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  24. fernglas (100 comments) says:

    The stated hourly rates are only for prosecutions done on behalf of government departments; regulatory crime which can be highly technical. The main Crown work is prosecuting jury trials, and that is bulk funded, so there is no incentive to prolong proceedings. As for the difference between Crown and defence rates, the terms of office make it quite clear that Crown Solicitors and their partners and employees cannot take on private client criminal work, unlike defence lawyers. Any defence lawyer who does exclusively or predominantly legal aid work is either doing it intentionally or because they aren’t good enough to get private client work. The Crown gets highly skilled prosecutors for an extremely competitive cost, as a number of reviews have shown. The only problem I have with the system is that they are dedicated prosecutors and that may lead to myopia; the same, however, would apply to a government salaried lawyer.

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  25. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    Don’t give them any more ideas. Next we will see a new Ministry set up to do prosecutions so the “rich pricks” don’t make all that money.

    Because the surgeons and doctors employed by the public health service are desperately poor…

    They deserve what they get, and the public gets good value from prosecutors. There really is nothing to complain about here. Of all things in NZ the court system actually works reasonably well and free of corruption.

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  26. Grizz (500 comments) says:

    It is quite simple. Lawyers are supportive of unions up until they can earn more working for a private firm. As Labour has a lot of mates in the legal profession they will leave them to do what is best for them. When these lawyers what to extract more from the taxpayer gravy train, ie legal aid, then those same Labour mouthpieces that have stayed quiet will start making noise.

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  27. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    Slowing the runaway legal aid gravy train was a very justified and appropriate move.

    No it wasn’t.  The system was fine until Labour dramatically widened the criteria, which led to many more people being eligible for legal aid.  This was the point of widening the criteria.  The National Party then gained power and the prime numpty Simon Power immediately blamed his colleagues in the legal profession for the results of government policy.

    Quite frankly, Power lied about the state of the profession and its relationship to legal aid in order to justify his ‘reforms’.

    I don’t think that $92 – $159 per hour is derisory. I’d gladly work for that much.

    So would I, but that isn’t my pay rate.  That is before tax, before expenses, and is limited in the number of hours I can claim.  Those rates only apply if you get out from under the fixed fee regime, which has even lower rates of pay when you see how much we actually get when compared to how much time we have put in.

    For example, I have an arson case at the moment that legal aid will pay me roughly $500 for the entire case, including the first hour and a half of trial.  If the trial goes longer than 1 1/2 hours then I will be paid at one of the above rates.  If the bloke is convicted then I will get another $100 odd for sentencing.  If he loses then he is looking at a sentence of imprisonment.

    Based upon that pay rate, I should apparently be able prepare for that case in roughly one and a half hours.  Seeing my interview with the defendant took an hour, I apparently now have only half an hour to prepare for a judge-alone arson trial.

    Try getting my commercial colleagues to work for that amount of money and see what they say.

    Personally, I think that there is actually a greater argument in favour of a Crown Prosecution Service as a government department than there is for a Public Defence Service.

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  28. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    Private law firms work for $$$$ it is therefore not in their interest to see a matter brought to a rapid conclusion.

    So you are arguing that private law firms act unethically in order to maximise their fees?  Sure thing.  And the moon is made of cheese, too.

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  29. anticorruptionnz (164 comments) says:

    I have good reason to believe that the moon is not made of cheese , I have enough knowledge from my observations to know that it is not . Those same observation powers have proved to me that there are lawyers who act unethically and I also know from observed experience that a law degree does not make a person honest or ethical.

    a contact for anti corruption is info@verisure.co.nz

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  30. MT_Tinman (2,989 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler (3,181 comments) says:
    January 23rd, 2014 at 2:29 pm
    I’d say prosecution is arguably far more of a core crown responsibility than merely managing a prison.

    I’d be interested in your argument for that. Keeping prisons seems much more of a core state function to me.

    How?

    Unless the private prisons go out and capture their own inmates operating a prison is merely a mechanical matter, the private outfits provide the buildings, staff, security and basic necessities, the State provides the the guests and determines their length of stay and conditions.

    Unfortunately GIGO at it’s most basic.

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  31. david (2,539 comments) says:

    Re lawyers rates, a builder once told me when I queried his account that I did not pay him $50/hour to hammer nails, any idiot can do that. What I was paying for was the training and experience to know how hard to swing the hammer. Kind of made sense but then my builder didn’t need a leggy blonde receptionist ensconced behind a polished wood reception desk in one of the flagship towers in town and he didn’t drive a BMW X5 and worked Saturdays.

    edit: spelling

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  32. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    have proved to me that there are lawyers who act unethically and I also know from observed experience that a law degree does not make a person honest or ethical.

    Yes, and I have seen police officers commit perjury.  That doesn’t mean that I accuse the whole force of being perjurers.

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  33. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    didn’t need a leggy blonde receptionist ensconced behind a polished wood reception desk in one of the flagship towers in town and he didn’t drive a BMW X5 and worked Saturdays.

    I don’t need those either, and I often work Sundays as well (as do many of my colleagues at the criminal bar).

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  34. anticorruptionnz (164 comments) says:

    I did not say all lawyers and yes I too have seen cops tell lies in court and beat people up in the back of police cars . But presently we have no control systems over lawyers the law society protects its own .

    what I am saying is some one who does not have the potential for financial gain by dragging court proceedings out is more likely to act ethically.

    when there are $$$ at stake there is always potential for corruption .

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  35. lastmanstanding (1,204 comments) says:

    Lawyers like those of us who are CA’s belong to some of the strongest and most expensive trade unions. They are respectively the NZ Law Society and ICANZ. They charge like wounded bulls $1000 pa for a CA NOT in public practice is the starting fee. And despite the bullshit to the contrary climb all over practitioners for even the most minor and trivial matters. In fact their investigators make the Spanish Inquisition look like the Boy Scouts.

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  36. alex Masterley (1,490 comments) says:

    FES @ 3:14.

    I wouldn’t get out of bed for that pay rate.

    And we aren’t in a tower, we don’t have a receptionist and I work 6+ days a week. My secretary could however be described as “leggy”.

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  37. alex Masterley (1,490 comments) says:

    anticorruptionnz,

    the nzls does not, contrary to public perception protect it’s own.

    the standards committees appointed by the NZLS, the LCRO and the discilplinary tribunal all combine to make practitioners lives a misery.

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  38. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    a contact for anti corruption is info@verisure.co.nz

    Thanks, I need some advice.

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  39. queenstfarmer (746 comments) says:

    Try getting my commercial colleagues to work for that amount of money and see what they say.

    And you’re free to join them, if you think the grass is better on that side of the fence. The suggestion that a person is somehow entitled to a taxpayer-funded, above average, desirable level of remuneration because they “work hard” and “spend many years training”, etc, is not valid IMHO.

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  40. NK (1,067 comments) says:

    Example – it costs hundreds of dollars to do conveyancing when you sell or buy a property. In reality, all the lawyer is doing is organising for you to sign mortgage documents for the bank and lodging some forms with the government, but they’d have you think that it’s a highly complicated procedure and most people are sucked in.

    It costs tens of thousands with agents, are they immune from your criticism?

    NZ transacts 65,000 sales of properties per year. The majority of cases in front of courts are land transactions. If you think it’s “easy” go and argue some of them!

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  41. anticorruptionnz (164 comments) says:

    Yes I have seen the law society deal with lawyers I have also seen them ignore the obvious guess it comes down to who has who as friends those with not quite the right connections are doomed.

    the old boys network you either belong or you don’t. and then there are others who know enough about those judging them that a reminder ensures they keep their eyes closed.

    nothing is black and white .

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  42. alex Masterley (1,490 comments) says:

    Sorry to disabuse youanti, but having sat on a standards committee and having an occasional on-going role in NZLS regulatory matters I can assure you that “having the right connections” is of absolutely no advantage to an individual.

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  43. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

     what I am saying is some one who does not have the potential for financial gain by dragging court proceedings out is more likely to act ethically.

    Which shows you know absolutely nothing about what you are talking about.  We never had unlimited hours on legal aid cases, if we strung it out then our profit margin was eaten into.  Quick guilty pleas have always been far more profitable.

    alex,

    unfortunately I not only got out of bed but had to go to work for it!  My wife also wonders whether $35 is enough for a 2am phone call from the cop shop, especially when it wakes her up!

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  44. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    The suggestion that a person is somehow entitled to a taxpayer-funded, above average, desirable level of remuneration because they “work hard” and “spend many years training”, etc, is not valid IMHO.

    Nor is it one that we make.  However, athough we do this as a service it is derisory that the government takes advantage of the fact that we do so.  That is proved by the fact that we are losing firms from the legal aid roster at a rate of knots.  Based on your argument, the government is nuts to pay the CEOs of government departments any more that the, say, the average wage.

    The alternative is for the PDS to employ another 500 lawyers and become the only provider of criminal legal aid in NZ.  Then they will have to employ another 1000 lawyers to staff the Public Family Law Service.

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  45. anticorruptionnz (164 comments) says:

    My Heart bleeds for you I used to think cops were straight when I was one If I was a lawyer I might think they are all ethicall. but it certainly helps to walk a mile o two in the shoes of those on the other side.

    I have made complaints tot he law society and have failed to see them upheld, lawyers placing caveats over peoples houses just to help extort money for their clients, lawyers using their office for fraud and perverting the course of justice .

    I have also seen a wealthy business pass over $$$$ to have 22 charges of fraud dropped.

    lets play a game lets pretend NZ is not corrupt. Lets be delusional about reality.

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  46. alex Masterley (1,490 comments) says:

    FES,

    I know the feeling when, in another life I did criminal legal aid, my wife used to get cross about those calls. it is one of the reasons I stopped doing that sort of work.

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  47. nickb (3,659 comments) says:

    And you’re free to join them, if you think the grass is better on that side of the fence. The suggestion that a person is somehow entitled to a taxpayer-funded, above average, desirable level of remuneration because they “work hard” and “spend many years training”, etc, is not valid IMHO.

    So by your logic doctors and surgeons are grossly overpaid?

    Must have missed that Econ 101 class…

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  48. nickb (3,659 comments) says:

    I have made complaints tot he law society and have failed to see them upheld

    Sorry to hear that Evgeny….can’t imagine why that happened to you :)

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  49. seanmaitland (455 comments) says:

    @nickb – given that the PDS has been getting far better outcomes than private legal aid lawyers were, thats a good thing – on top of being way cheaper, and not being milked for tens of millions like private legal aid was.

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  50. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    given that the PDS has been getting far better outcomes than private legal aid lawyers were

    That is untrue.

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  51. nickb (3,659 comments) says:

    Thanks for all the references in that post sean. You’ve got me bogged down trying to sift through them all.

    Even if that were true, which I highly doubt (would you rather place your liberty in the hands of civil servants or people like F E Smith? I know my answer, plus do you really think a monopolistic govt department is going to be cheaper than the private sector long term, especially once it has squeezed all barristers out of the market?) it has serious ramifications for access to justice.

    That’s because instead of having your case allocated to competent barristers of your choosing, it could instead be thrown across the desk of some fresh faced kid 6 months out of law school. F E is far more qualified to speak on this matter than I, but it’s not rocket science to work out that this is not good for access to justice.

    Isn’t it crazy how Kiwis cheer at the govt razor being taken to one of our most important human rights (the right to a fair trial and competent representation) yet attack people who question the govt funding a boat race….or support John Key over GCSB-gate on the basis that “if you have nothiing to hide” etc…ffs give me strength…and you call yourself small govt supporters

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  52. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    Sorry to hear that Evgeny

    nick, that is classic! :D

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  53. queenstfarmer (746 comments) says:

    Quick guilty pleas have always been far more profitable.

    Hmmm yet I seem to recall legal aid lawyers saying we shouldn’t have the PDS for precisely this reason.

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  54. anticorruptionnz (164 comments) says:

    NIck b You are soooo terribly off track I happen to be one of the main complainants of Orlov he allowed for my matrimonial property deed to be altered after I had signed it -the law society did nothing.

    I complained about the false invoices that he produced the double billing.. I got an assessment that he should re pay me so he has refused and now bought himself more time by appealing to the LCRO.

    I paid top dollar and he put a junior on to representing me completely messed up my court proceedings.. every one knows the man is incompetent but its just my hard luck .

    Bit of an issue isn’t it when you go off half cocked. I most certainly am not Orlov .. the man who gets his wife to operate thousands of dodgy companies

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  55. alex Masterley (1,490 comments) says:

    Don’t think it is Evgeny.

    The syntax is different.

    Possibly Grace, but you never know.

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  56. Mark1 (89 comments) says:

    Those hourly rates are not “wages” to the lawyer – they are payments to the law firm. From those funds the firm has to pay overheads, resources (Brookers and Lexis Nexis ain’t cheap), support staff, GST and income tax. A lawyer charging out at $200/hour for his/her firm probably personally gets about $50/hour from that.

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  57. nickb (3,659 comments) says:

    NIck b You are soooo terribly off track I happen to be one of the main complainants of Orlov

    LOL what are the odds? Actually, thinking about it, probably quite high. I won’t go any further or I might have DPF served with a defamation writ :)

    Anyway Penny, I withdraw and apologise (not in the Len Brown way, in the sincere way).

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  58. lazza (358 comments) says:

    While the Labour Party remains beholden to the ossified, cloth cap mentality (for that is how it is percived) of NZ Unions the average fair minded typical Kiwi voter will continue to demonstrate their disapproval of them.

    Many will never support National so most are driven to reluctantly (Hobson’s Choice) supporting the alternative fringe options.

    This pattern of voting pretty much assures that a centre right coalition will be (re) elected.

    Until Labour dumps its funding and policy development sourced from within the Unions,they will be continue, understandably to be marginalised.

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  59. alex Masterley (1,490 comments) says:

    Er, anti,

    The Law society did all it could do in relation to Mr Orlov.

    Mr Orlov was struck off the roll of Barristers & Solicitors late last year. In addition he was ordered to pay mind bogglingly high costs.

    The strike off was ordered after Orlov engaged in an astonishing campaign of obfustication and delay, appealing everything and anything. From go in 2008 (from memory) to strike off took 5 years.

    If anything the law society should be commended for it’s dogged pursuit of the charges that were laid against Mr Orlov.

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  60. queenstfarmer (746 comments) says:

    @F E Smith, so you think you’re being “taken advantage of” by the mean old government, for not being more liberal with taxpayer money to pay you what you feel you are entitled to? Goodness. That sounds like an entrenched entitlement mentality.

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  61. nickb (3,659 comments) says:

    Exactly Mark1, you made the most obvious point that has not been mentioned. People are incredibly retarded to not understand the difference. And remember the top legal aid rate (if I am correct) is $149/hr…

    I put a post up on a thread a few months back about some colleagues I know who do pro bono work and some legal aid mental health work. The excessive and ridiculous bureaucracy they have to jump through to help such vulnerable sectors of the community are outrageous.

    It’s interesting the flak lawyers get given the tradition of them performing pro bono work…Just today we read in the paper of Mark Lundy’s counsel essentially working for nothing. I’d like to know if sean, gazz et al regularly work for free out of the goodness of their hearts and their willingness to help the community…

    *crickets*

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  62. Ed Snack (1,737 comments) says:

    Leaving aside all the arguments about whether lawyers are under paid (or rather, that SOME lawyers are under paid), the issue about prison’s being privately operated is surely simply a matter of “crony interest”; in this case the Labour Party making sure that its Union friends get special treatment.

    Those operating the prison aren’t the ones responsible for depriving people of their liberty, as pointed out above a private prison officer merely provides the means by which the state does. Private persons have no right to deprive people of their liberty, try it some time and see if you are subject to prosecution for trying to do so. Thus the prison operators are acting on behalf of the crown and under the direction and control of the crown.

    I’m all in favour of such arrangements, one can impose conditions and apply proper oversight without an obvious conflict of interest.Almost certain to provide a better service at a better cost, which is probably why the Public Service Unions hate it as an idea, shows them up.

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  63. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    Hmmm yet I seem to recall legal aid lawyers saying we shouldn’t have the PDS for precisely this reason.

    And that is completely unrelated to what I said.

    so you think you’re being “taken advantage of” by the mean old government, for not being more liberal with taxpayer money to pay you what you feel you are entitled to? Goodness. That sounds like an entrenched entitlement mentality.

    Bollocks.  This is something that is expected of us.  The profession takes access to justice very seriously.  Unfortunately people like yourself do not.

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  64. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    anticorruptionnz is right. NZ has a corruption problem and his claims about the “old boys network” are correct. Claims to the contrary point to ignorance, at best, and corruption at worst. I have recently discovered a classic case of it that I can not overlook. I am still pondering how to approach it. The media would have a field day with it, but that is not the proper process.

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  65. queenstfarmer (746 comments) says:

    So by your logic doctors and surgeons are grossly overpaid?

    Nope, it’s all about the market. If not enough criminal lawyers are prepared to work for what is being offered then they may have to put up rates. Otherwise, if it’s more efficient to fund the PDS, then the Govt can do that. It’s simple really.

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  66. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    if it’s more efficient to fund the PDS, then the Govt can do that.

    Except that it isn’t.  The PDS has methods in place to minimise costs, but on a pound for pound basis we are better and cheaper.  Always have been.

    What is interesting is that the Bazely report said that there was an urgent need for a PDS in Palmerston North, but guess where the PDS ain’t going?

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  67. queenstfarmer (746 comments) says:

    This is something that is expected of us

    My, that’s quite a high horse you’re on there :-) So it’s all society’s fault for heartlessly “expecting” something from you, and now the Govt is taking advantage of your selfless nature. Oh please! Entitlement mentality x 2.

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  68. queenstfarmer (746 comments) says:

    on a pound for pound basis we are better and cheaper. Always have been.

    Citation needed

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  69. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Having a robust defense is essential for our adversarial system to work. Why do people fuss over the small cost of defense, when the real cost is with the prosecution ?. Essentially you have the unlimited resources of the state against what ever you can muster. Those people who worry about legal aid seem to be assuming guilt from the start. If you take that view then why even allow a defense at all ?

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  70. jackinabox (578 comments) says:

    “Lawyers are a lot like policeman I think (and I have done both jobs). You hate them until you need them.”

    I hate them (policemen) because when I needed them the bastards repeatedly failed to act without fear or favour.

    http://bcops.wordpress.com/

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  71. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    My, that’s quite a high horse you’re on there

    Not my high horse, it is the Law Society’s.  It is a position of our profession going back hundreds of years.  Are you saying that we are wrong?

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  72. NK (1,067 comments) says:

    NZ has a corruption problem and his claims about the “old boys network” are correct. Claims to the contrary point to ignorance, at best, and corruption at worst.

    I think all the international reports show NZ does *not* have a corruption problem. So I am contrary to your view. I guess I am corrupt then (according to you).

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  73. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    Citation needed

    Why? Do you think you would understand it?

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  74. NK (1,067 comments) says:

    I hate them (policemen) because when I needed them the bastards repeatedly failed to act without fear or favour.

    I could ask what happened, but looking at your site very quickly I won’t go there.

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  75. Nostalgia-NZ (4,907 comments) says:

    Tom Jackson:

    ‘But prosecutors are neither charging nor punishing citizens: they have a narrow, technical job which is making the case for the state according to the rules of the court. The way that the court system is set up they simply cannot abuse it for personal gain in this case (pretty much any morally dubious stuff they are allowed to do is allowed in the court system and the defence lawyers can do it as well).’

    Prosecutors are often involved in the laying of charges. In the Thomas case Morris was involved in parts of the inquiry, no doubt giving advice and ‘explaining’ what further evidence was needed to charge AAT for example. You say that they cannot abuse the system or use it for personal game, presenting the evidence of the planted shell case was an abuse of the process as was with holding the scientist’s report in the Lundy case that Lundy shouldn’t be convicted on the degraded ‘dna’ that was claimed to have been from a family member. In other jurisdictions prosecutors wouldn’t have been permitted to present the evidence of the ‘conversations’ between Rutherford and Pora, where the police officer was holding him incommunicado and not allowing him a lawyer, in NZ it was prosecutors that put that ‘evidence’ before the Court.

    Somebody has pointed out that Meredith Connell have represented The Crown for 92 years. That’s say 4 to 5 generations of Lawyers who worked with the police and represented The Crown knowing they would always be paid. Isn’t a guaranteed income ‘personal gain.’ I’m also fairly certain that many who have progressed through Meredith Connell have been mindful of the number from that firm who have ‘reached’ the Bench which in itself might be held to be an opportunity for ‘personal gain.’ Compared to prison officers it is clear there is a big difference, or at least one that can be seen and which certainly involves money and a career potentially at someone else’s expense.

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  76. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    they have a narrow, technical job which is making the case for the state according to the rules of the court. The way that the court system is set up they simply cannot abuse it for personal gain in this case

    I had missed that.  For many years that would have been totally incorrect.  It is more correct now, but it isn’t completely so.

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  77. queenstfarmer (746 comments) says:

    Not my high horse, it is the Law Society’s.

    So you admit you are on a high horse, but claim it’s someone elses. I’m not sure the jury will buy that one :-)

    It is a position of our profession going back hundreds of years. Are you saying that we are wrong?

    I’m sorry, what position are you referring to? That legal aid lawyers should be paid what they feel they are worth and not a penny less?

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  78. jackinabox (578 comments) says:

    “I hate them (policemen) because when I needed them the bastards repeatedly failed to act without fear or favour.

    I could ask what happened, but looking at your site very quickly I won’t go there.”

    You already know all about it aye NK? you having been both a cop and a Crown lawyer.

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  79. queenstfarmer (746 comments) says:

    Citation needed

    Why? Do you think you would understand it?

    Yes. As evidence in support of your assertion, Counsel. Though if it’s not factual but just an opinion, then that’s fine.

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  80. anticorruptionnz (164 comments) says:

    any one who knows how to do any kind of investigation would know that I am Grace . My crime in life has been to question a statutory law enforcement authority which did not exist. Transpires that a lawyer wrote and advised on legislation for his own business plan then made an application for law enforcement under the legislation he was involved in for the animal welfare institute of New Zealand .. an impressive name but otherwise had no existence.

    He operated AWINZ from council premises having changed the logos so that the council facilities and his AWINZ merged into one. he would be off to jail if i had been believed so he had to discredit me , and did so by setting up a trust to cover up and used the charitable dollar to pursue me through court.

    I was denied a defence of truth and honest opinion and he had the opportunity to get a judgement which effectively perverts the course of justice

    David Neutze of Brookfields was instructed by the fictional AWINZ. He apparently does not know enough about trusts to know about unincorporated trusts and the validity of trust deeds .Neutze was able to convince the court that it is sufficient for a trust to exist in a certain time frame and through the magic of hot air that trust becomes the law enforcement authority- no signatures or consents from legal persons needed.

    how can an unincorporated trust be a law enforcement authority? when no deed existed at the time, the trustees never met once the deed was allegedly signed , the trust held no assets .

    only one person applied for law enforcement powers in a false name using false claims that it was a trust . the law society the courts and lawyers condone such magic.. so with trusts created at any time past present or future any embarrassing situation can be covered.

    If any of you highly paid highly skilled gentlemen are concerned about corruption you might like to get your teeth into that one..I have a truck load of evidence sourced from Government and council files.. but then it appears that evidence plays no part in our courts.

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  81. flipper (3,550 comments) says:

    I have just caught up with most of the CRAP set out above.

    Apart from FES, and a few others most commenters are in need of a few brains and an ability to see matters objectively.

    I do not have a humble opinion. I have a very firm opinion.

    If the crown takes a cased against any individual and loses, the CROWN MUST pay full recompense for all losses, and also additional costs.

    If the Crown takes a case against a company or institution, and loses, then depending on the tax situation, the Crown must pay compensation and costs, PERIOD. No argument. And do NOT come at me over Court rules and precedents. They are, with no respect whatsoever, bullshit. TO ARGUE OTHERWISE IS TO PLACE THE STATE ABOVE THE INDIVIDUAL. But of course Ayn Rand was mad!

    I have never had a need for legal aid so I can comment. I believe such lawyers that serve society defending clients on (miserly fees) legal aid are to be commended. Similarly I salute those solicitors and barristers who give their all to defend various folk because they believe the Crown is using its position and resources (expropriated from us without knowledge or consent) , to persecute innocent people because they cannot bear the thought that, to put it mildly, their agencies and agents have, at best, fucked up, and sometimes perverted justice.

    And none of that deals with the injustice inflicted by the State upon the innocent.

    So, I say to the usual trolls and other nutters: Go away and experience the real, world and then come back.

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  82. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    I think all the international reports show NZ does *not* have a corruption problem. So I am contrary to your view. I guess I am corrupt then (according to you).

    It depends on what and how they measure it. NZ is far better than many places, but falls well short of the standard any decent person would find acceptable.

    I do not consider you corrupt, just poorly informed. My view comes from observation and first hand experience.

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  83. anticorruptionnz (164 comments) says:

    I am with you Kea. New Zealand just hides corruption better than most other countries , we have not ratified the UN convention against corruption we don’t even have a proper definition for corruption and you can report corruption at your own peril.

    If a country has no means by which you can report a council manager using council resources for his own gain or of a law enforcement authority which does not exist then it is corrupt

    you wouldn’t want to cheat your way to being the no one rugby nation so why do we cheat our way to being the least corrupt.. guess its good for sucking in other unsuspecting sods who stash their money in the NZ Tax haven through a company structure which is a dodgy as hell

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  84. HC (152 comments) says:

    The explanation for this is quite simple: Labour has since the days of Roger Douglas and his reforms simply been a ‘National Light’ party. So apart from some lobby determined “lifestyle” and “identity” politics, where they sought to break the barriers and bring about change, they largely continued with economic and some other policies as National had done before, in a slightly “moderate” way. Only over the last few years, and without convincing under Goff, did they talk about a “return to their roots”. And that still leaves answers to come, for many questions that most of us have, until today.

    Politics in NZ are not as “independent” as most think, there are of course powers and lobby groups that make sure, it all only happens within tight, controlled boundaries. Hence some will say, democracy in NZ is a bit of a “farce”, really.

    Don’t bite the hand that feeds you is what will determine the decision making of most.

    As for corruption and so forth, perhaps check this:
    http://www.transparency.net.nz/2013/05/17/transparency-international-new-zealand-not-what-it-is-cracked-up-to-be/

    It seems every country can try and determine itself, how “corrupt” or “uncorrupted” it is.

    As for lawyers, there are such and there are such, some professional with ethics, others with a case by case opportune approach, always out to make money. The system as it is may have flaws, but I think if the government had its own lawyers, I would worry more, as they would likely be more biased, having only their one paymaster to be accountable to. The firms that Crown Law use do a lot of other work, and their lawyers make a living anyway, with or without Crown Law.

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  85. HC (152 comments) says:

    Who wants to be a prison officer, and enjoy such a job? You either have to be a hard sort of a person, and be used to abuse and dealing with that and also applying discipline and more, or plain desperate for a paid job. It is maybe not that poorly paid, but it is to my information not highly paid. In private prisons the pay tends to be lower and conditions not necessarily great. So who blames the women and men working in such jobs, that few out there would want to do, to be members of unions, to ensure they do at least get a reasonably acceptable pay and conditions?

    I do not see corrections officers living a life of luxury and pleasure, unless, perhaps, and forbid, they maybe engaged in some criminal activities themselves.

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  86. Nostalgia-NZ (4,907 comments) says:

    You’ve raised a relevant point HC in that prison officers in either private or traditional prisons can belong to unions. That seems to be missed in the black and white scenario that Government run prisons are unionised and private prisons are not – that is the choice of the individuals working there. I don’t know if private prison employees are forbidden to join unions, but even if they are they would have the right to negotiate their working conditions or withdraw their labour. The difference being who those negotiations are with, the Government on the one hand or the company contracted to run the prison on the other.

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  87. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    If a country has no means by which you can report a council manager using council resources for his own gain or of a law enforcement authority which does not exist then it is cor

    What about the Obudsman’s office and protected disclosures ?

    My interest here is more than academic !

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  88. anticorruptionnz (164 comments) says:

    @ Kea it took the ombudsmen office 2 1/2 years to get documents released which proved that the whole trust aspect was a sham. The audit report which was released ( http://www.transparency.net.nz/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/audit-report.pdf) was damming of the administration of the so called AWINZ.

    Unfortunately the suitors did not go into the identity issue and they did not go back as far as the application for approved status (http://anticorruptionnz.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/full-application-awinz.pdf) was made 22 November 1999. in 2006 a trust deed emerges . Neither MAF nor Waitakere had had a copy of the deed despite both believing they were contracted to a trust, the trust ( http://www.transparency.net.nz/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/trust-deed.pdf) was proved through the audit report ( and other documents) to be a sham as all four meetings were accounted for and in the trusts own terms the trustees were not reappointed after 3 years I can prove that they never met and that they did not hold assets .

    I have tied the office of the auditor general, the ombudsmen, ministers , press until I was blue in the face. SFO said it was not serious enough Police say it is too serious for them and they have no time .

    I have it with the police again as I raised the issue that last year parliament sat under urgency to clear up an issue where returning police officers had not been properly sworn yet on the other hand we have a statutory law enforcement authority which enforced animal welfare law , had powers of search and seizure for 10 years and had no legal existence and could not be identified as any natural or legal person .

    I have just finished a further complaint to the police for false statement by promoter( crimes act 242 ) based on the 2013 annual return filed on the charities web site . if you want a copy please send me an email info@verisure.co.nz

    This matter will be case law one day it is identity fraud 101 and a total abuse of the use of trusts . I can only imagine that I have so much trouble getting any one to do anything is because this practice is so prevalent that once this one is exposed it will open a can of worms. e.g. Len Brown receiving 3/4 million from the unincorporated and unidentifiable ( does it even exist ) New Auckland council trust which reported intention is to conceal identity of election donors ( is that a legal reason for a trust ? )

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