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New Zealand Council of Legal Education

 

 

 

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    Statement by New Zealand Council of Legal Education

    Possible Challenge to the Professional Examinations in Law (Tikanga Māori Requirements) Amendment Regulations 2022

    The Council understands that there may be a challenge to the above regulations made to the Regulations Review Committee. The Council comments as follows:

    1. The Council is satisfied the correct procedures have been followed, including appropriate consultation.

    2. The Council is disappointed that these issues were not raised with us before being published in the media.

    3. Teaching Tikanga is an essential part of legal education given frequent references to tikanga in Acts of Parliament and its acknowledgement by the Supreme Court as part of the law of
        New Zealand.

    4. The Council understands that the Regulations Review Committee has been approached and we will respond further in that forum if asked.

    New Zealand Councii of Legal Education

    7 May 2024

    Work of the Council

    The Council is an independent statutory body. The general activities of the Council concern public interest and regulatory matters and centre on the Council's responsibilities for the quality and provision of education and practical legal training that is required to be undertaken by any person either within New Zealand or from overseas wishing to be admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.

    These general activities include:

    • Defining and prescribing courses of study for the examination and practical legal training of persons wishing to be admitted as barristers and solicitors in New Zealand
    • Arranging for the provision of those courses of study
    • Arranging for the moderation and assessment of those courses of study
    • Delivery of practical legal training
    • Assessment of qualifications particularly those of overseas law graduates and legal practitioners wishing to practise in New Zealand
    • Arranging for the provision of research as necessary, and tendering advice on legal education
    • Administering and conducting certain examinations required to be taken by some overseas and other applicants.

      NZLPE - Removal of Temporary Covid-19 measures − Overseas venues

      Prior to the disruptions of COVID-19, examinations (as per regulations) were either sat in New Zealand or in one venue in the United Kingdom which was determined by the Council.

      Owing to the worldwide COVID-19 travel restrictions, the Council implemented temporary measures to allow candidates who did not reside in the United Kingdom or New Zealand to sit the examinations overseas.

      Due to the end to COVID-19 as a global health emergency, as of January 2024, the Council will be reverting to examinations sittings being in New Zealand and one venue in the United Kingdom which will be determined by the Council.

      For more information about the legislation under which the Council operates, please see the About Us page


      Professional Legal Studies Course: Access to Student Loans and Allowances

      March 2024 Update

      The re-classification of training providers by the Government in 2022 meant that the Professional Legal Studies course (known as Profs) needed to be developed as a Qualification on the NZ Qualifications and Credits Framework, in order to ensure continued access to student support (loan/allowances) beyond December 2024.

      The New Zealand Council of Legal Education, as the statutory regulator of pre-admission legal training, worked with the relevant government education agencies to progress this. As required by the relevant legislation, this process, involving an application to the New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) for listing as a Qualification on the NZQCF, was progressed with the assistance and endorsement of a Workforce Development Council (WDC), Ringa Hora, being the relevant WDC for the legal profession. While WDCs were recently established as part of the Government's vocational education reforms, Ringa Hora's staff are experienced in working with NZQA and the sector.

      The Council worked with Ringa Hora, and with both existing providers of the PLSC, to bring this about as smoothly and quickly as possible through the required New Zealand Qualifications Authority application process. This was assisted by the PLSC not being a new course being developed, but an existing a well-established course governed by the NZCLE Regulations and successfully delivered by the College of Law and Institute of Professional Legal Studies. The process through Ringa Hora involved taking that course and seeking approval for it to be listed as a 'Qualification' for the purposes of the New Zealand Qualifications and Credit Framework. This involved a writing group, with a wider group of interested parties and a consultation phase with key stakeholders.

      The application was made in December 2023. NZQA approved the application for the listing of the Qualification in February 2024 and it now appears on the NZQCF as Certificate in Professional Legal Skills. The next phase is for providers to apply for accreditation to offer the Qualification as listed. The existing providers, College of Law NZ, and Institute of Professional Legal Studies (which is the Council's provider arm) have applied to offer the Qualification, and we are hopeful that NZQA will approve these applications as soon as possible. Once approved trainees will continue to be able to access student loans and allowances beyond 2024.


      New Tikanga Māori requirements

      From 1 January 2025, the New Zealand legal education curriculum will include requirements for the teaching and assessment of Tikanga Māori |Māori Māori Laws and philosophy.

      FAQs about the new requirements:

      What are the new requirements?

      1. There will be a new compulsory law course on Tikanga Māori (Māori Laws and philosophy).
      2. The existing compulsory law courses will also include relevant content on tikanga Māori (Māori laws and philosophy).

       The existing compulsory law courses are:

      •   The Legal System
      •   Public Law
      •   Contracts
      •   Torts
      •   Criminal Law
      •   Property law (or Land Law and Equity and Succession)
      •   Legal Ethics

      What will this mean for New Zealand law students?

      If you enrolled in the LLB before 1 January 2025, you will only need to complete whatever courses your university requires to obtain the LLB. Ask your Law School if you have any questions about what this means in your situation.

      If you enroll in the LLB after 1 January 2025, you will need to complete the new requirements [link to FAQ What are the new requirements] to obtain the LLB.

      What will this mean for people who already hold a New Zealand law degree?

      New Zealand LLB holders seeking admission to the High Court can apply to the Council for a Certificate of Completion to show they have met all the educational requirements to be a lawyer.

      If you apply for a Certificate of Completion before 1 January 2025, you will not have to complete the new requirements.

      If you apply for a Certificate of Completion after 1 January 2025 and your 'qualifications for admission' are current - meaning they are less than 10 years old at the time you apply - you will not have to complete the new requirements.

      If you apply for a Certificate of Completion after 1 January 2025 and your 'qualifications for admission' are stale - meaning they are more than 10 years old at the time you apply - the Council may require you to complete the new compulsory law course on Tikanga Māori (Māori Laws and philosophy) (in addition to other study or training).

      'Qualifications for admission' are:

      • a New Zealand LLB (or LLB with Hons)
      • any compulsory law course
      • the Professional Legal Studies Course. For more information about Stale Qualifications click here.

      What will this mean for overseas lawyers and graduates?

      Overseas lawyers and graduates seeking admission to the High Court of New Zealand can apply to the Council for an assessment of their qualifications.

      If you apply for an assessment before 1 January 2025, you will not have to meet the new requirements, unless the Council's assessment, or the study or training you were required to complete under that assessment, have become stale - meaning they are more than 10 years old.

      If you apply for an assessment after 1 January 2025, the Council may require you to complete the new compulsory law course on Tikanga Māori (Māori Laws and philosophy) (in addition to other study or training).

      For more information about Overseas Law Qualifications click here.


      For more information about the legislation under which the Council operates, please see the About Us page

       

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