Disciplinary Tribunal Cases Involving New Zealand Lawyers with Physical or Mental Impairment, 2009 – 2013
Moore, Jennifer; Buckingham, Donna; Diesfeld, Kate
The purpose of this study was to examine disciplinary proceedings in the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal (NZLCDT) which involved lawyers with physical or mental impairments. International research has documented the high rates of depression, anxiety and substance misuse in the legal profession. Australian and American research has found that disciplinary cases often involve lawyers who are impaired by medical conditions, or substance misuse. Their impairment either contributed to, or was responsible for, their misconduct. In the present study, the disciplined lawyers’ demographics, and the nature of the impairments, were described for NZLCDT cases from 2009 to 2013. Twenty one of the 74 decisions involved impaired lawyers. The main types of impairment were depression, anxiety, substance misuse, and stress. This study reinforces the importance of the NZ Law Society’s 2009 initiative “Practising Well”, which aims to minimise the adverse impact that impaired lawyers have on themselves, their families, clients, and the profession.
Pages: DOI: 10.1080/13218719.2015.1055624-
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Keywords: anxiety; depression; disciplined lawyers; disciplinary proceedings; impairment; stress; substance abuse
Research Type: Journal Article