Judge Jock: Coquette Collins Bans Crime, Courtroom Flashing Crackdown, CPD Shock

Jolly Judge Quits
Auckland High Court commercial list judge Christopher John Allan (70 last month) is hanging up his wig, announcing his retirement at the tail end of a recent judgment in a thorny matter of Vincent Ross Siemer v The Privacy Commissioner and Official Assignee.

The Timaru-born former senior litigation partner at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts (MERW) followed the traditional path of serving on numerous Auckland district law society committees before becoming a judge in 2004.

While at MERW the Auckland law graduate was fondly regarded as a jolly good after-work drinks host.

Footnote: Mr Siemer, whose intriguing and occasionally troublesome website gave Justice Allan a rating of 7.4 out of 10 in a 2010 judge survey score, lost.

Famous silk gets balled out
Genial Auckland Queen’s counsel Bruce Gray had to put some of his busy caseload on the backburner the other day after being hit on the back of the head by a golf ball.

Mr Gray is defending former shareholders association chairman Bruce Sheppard against a defamation claim by Hanover Finance king-pins Mark Hotchin and Eric Watson.

He is poised to spearhead a litigation-funded test case against ANZ Bank brought by thousands of customers who claim they were over-charged on certain bank fees. The case is to be the first of a series of similar claims against the major banks.

And also represents bankrupt property developer Andrew Krukziener’s sister Lisa in a bitter building-ownership wrangle.

No more organised crime
Crime barristers are up in arms over a recent government decision to do away with organised crime. (Source: Overheard in Vulcan Lane)

Our Man At The Bar bemoaned to Judge Jock there was not a skerrick of promised consultation by vivacious justice minister Judith Collins before she abolished organised crime.

Miss Collins says her decision to end organised crime ensures New Zealand maintains its reputation as a responsible international citizen.

Miss Collins says banning organised crime means an associated plan to ensure domestic law enforcement agencies had the tools they needed to fight organised crime and corrpution was redundant.

“This long-overdue move means savings will be made and comes with the added bonus that fewer lawyers will clutter Courts which won’t need nearly so many judges,” the minister said, exuding her trademark coquettish charm.

“I am confident the resounding success of this stroke of my pen will lead to the complete abolition of all crime in New Zealand before Christmas.”

“Next, we do away with the troublesome Crimes Act and its pesky obsession with murder and rape and all that sort of unsavoury stuff,” Miss Collins said.

“This is a simple solution we law-makers understand.”

In the low-lit Ladies & Escorts Lounge a pall of despondency hung about “Car Boot Corner” as shattered briefs pooled meagre legal aid cheques to share one last jug.

In a brief statement issued through a senior judicial communications adviser - from somewhere in the South Island - the Chief Justice (name withheld by request) said: “Sod you lot… I’m all right, Jack… ”

There is no need for an inquiry.

Lawyers sue themselves
The Auckland district law society is preparing to sue itself for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression caused by compliance with mandatory continuing professional development.

An impeccably groomed spokewoman for society president “Flash” Frank Godinet told Judge Jock members had had enough and it was time for action.

“They blame themselves for supporting such lunacy. Their only recourse is to issue proceedings against themselves,” the glamorous spokeswoman gushed.

Annual membership fees will be hiked to $5000 per member to pay for the expensive, but virtuous, case.

There is no need for an inquiry.

Lawyers write seriously
Writing in NZ Lawyer, Bell Gully partner David Friar and senior associate Sophie East reckon:

“The Lombard directors may wonder if the outcome of their case would have been different under the new Financial Markets Conduct Bill, which is to have its third reading shortly.

The Bill removes strict liability for defective disclosure and adds an element of mental intent.

Under the new law, directors will only be guilty of a criminal offence if they know or are reckless about whether a disclosure is defective, which the Crown will have to prove.

There is room for debate over whether the Lombard case would have had a different outcome had the directors been tried under this new standard.

In the meantime, the Lombard directors will pursue their appeal to the Supreme Court in respect of a legislative test which will soon be historical.”

Global crackdown on Courtroom flashing
A judge has issued guidance on appropriate courtroom attire after declaring revealing garments, allowing for exposed elbows by numerous female lawyers, are far too risque for his Tennessee courtroom.

New Zealand, of course, leads the world in the field of what, and how, clothes should be worn in court, as Judge Jock’s exclusive titillation of 13 months ago revealed:

“Lawyers have been told to cover their naked shoulders and not wear shocking stockings.
In a dress code update to lawyers, the New Zealand Law Society says formal dress is expected at all times in the High Courts, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
The only approved garb in these higher courts is:
# A dark (black, blue or dark grey) suit or skirt.
# White shirt or blouse.
# A tie for men.
# Black shoes.
# Dark socks or neutral/dark-coloured pantyhose/stockings.
# A gown.
The society says a more individual style of dress is acceptable in the district courts, but reminds lawyers the way they dress should still show respect for the court.
In the inferior courts it is preferable to wear a dark suit or skirt, a tie for men and gowns for jury trials.
(Nothing about not wearing sneakers, the preferred footwear of boutique litigator Julian Long).
In a move clearly aimed at quelling brazen displays of bare lady flesh and saucy bra straps, women lawyers have been told to cover their shoulders.
It is not yet known if any cross/dressing lawyers feel put out by such rules.”

An inquiry is still slavering over heaps of dubious in-court photos.

Breaking News:
A well-known legal whisteblower who promised to tell how to cheat the mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) requirements has sought jurisdictional asylum on the West Coast.

More on this story as it comes to hand…

Meanwhile, ponder this:
How many hours CPD is an afternoon of “fact finding” and “stress management” in the Ladies & Escorts Lounge worth??? Find out next time...Bring money…

janderson@nbr.co.nz

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