The Criminal Law Committee is made up of experienced members of the defence bar who are committed to upholding the rights of their clients. The Committee keeps a watching brief on all issues regarding the administration of criminal justice and where necessary, raises issues with stakeholders in the criminal justice sector and suggests possible solutions. These stakeholders include the Courts, Judiciary, Police, Crown Law, Ministry of Justice, the Department of Corrections and the New Zealand Parole Board. The Committee also makes submissions on proposed legislative changes concerning criminal procedure, evidence and courts operations, and writes a wide range of LawNews articles on criminal justice issues.
In light of the experience learnt during the pandemic lock-down periods, the Committee will continue its advocacy work on the wider use and acceptance of AVL/VMR at all level of Courts, potentially for a wider range of proceedings. This may be achieved through lobbying a change to the Courts (Remote Participation) Act 2010. The Committee considers an increased adoption of AVL/VMR will reduce backlogs of cases, enhance access to justice, improve efficiency of Courts operations, as well as the business performance of criminal law practitioners, and reduce carbon emission by cutting down the need to travel.
The Committee meets once a month online for an hour on the first Tuesday of each month at 8am.
Committee members are expected to contribute in:
- Drafting of submissions, Bills, and/or letters;
- Representing the Committee at stakeholders meetings;
- Appearing for ADLS on matters where ADLS is granted leave to be an intervenor;
- Writing articles, or being interviewed, for LawNews; and/or
- Assisting ADLS CPD.
Junior Committee members may assist with the drafting of letters and conducting legal research.
In return, Committee members gain access to a network of senior criminal law practitioners who are passionate about criminal justice, restlessly advocating for access to justice, more efficient administration of the criminal justice system, and promoting the wellbeing of defence counsel.