Legal Advisory Group
The Legal Advisory Group provides advice to the New Zealand Claims Resolution Service (NZCRS) on legal issues, recommends system improvements and supports engagement with stakeholders and interest groups within the legal community. It also oversees the mediation and determination services available to Canterbury earthquake claimants.
Terms of Reference
The Legal Advisor Group is chaired by Miriam Dean KC and convened on an adhoc basis as required.
Chair – Miriam Dean CNZM KC
Miriam’s many years of experience in dispute resolution, review work and governance allow her to take on the most difficult and diverse issues. She is a King’s Counsel; a director of Ōtākaro Limited (which delivers the Crown-led anchor projects in Christchurch), Chorus Limited (providing the country’s telecommunications infrastructure (fibre and copper) nationwide), REINZ – Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (a membership organisation representing real estate professionals nationwide) and chair of the Banking Ombudsman Scheme (an approved body to resolve complaints between banks and customers); and has led many government and private reviews, including reviewing in 2015 the Accident Compensation Corporation’s dispute reduction processes.
She has also served on many other governing advisory boards or committees including as a member of the Department of Internal Affairs Advisory Board. Miriam played a leading role in setting up the internal dispute resolution processes of the Greater Christchurch Earthquakes Claims Resolution Service and those of the now wider and national New Zealand Claims Resolution Service.
Latest meeting minutes – 8 August 2023
- Miriam Dean (Chair)
- John Hardie (Advisor, Internal Disputes Resolution)
- Emily Walton (Independent Lawyer)
- Edward Butler (Solicitor, MBIE)
- Tiffany Matsis (Engineering New Zealand)
- Paul Kirby (Engineering New Zealand)
- Aidan Prebble (Community Law)
- Vanessa Howell (Crown Law)
- Darren Wright (Director, NZCRS)
- Kirsty Hamilton (Principal Advisor, NZCRS)
- Chris Boys (CEIT Chair)
Conflicts of interest
- No new conflicts of interest were declared.
Minutes and actions
- The minutes were taken as read and updates provided on the outstanding actions.
- The Director spoke to his Director’s Report. Discussion followed and the excellent progress made setting up NZCRS and assisting with the recent weather-related claims noted.
- As to Canterbury Earthquake claims, the group discussed aged claims and how, and when, these could be resolved. It was agreed that special attention to these was required with the view to closing these as far as practicable.
- Staffing-related issues were discussed, noting that two staff have now relocated to Auckland and Gisborne. Additional Case Managers have been employed as has an Iwi Liaison with further recruitment underway. The Director advised that pleasingly, the average number of cases per Case Manager had decreased significantly due to this additional resourcing.
- The group discussed On Sold properties, with particular focus on those not eligible for the Treasury On Sold programme. Toka Tū Ake EQC’s settlement approach to On Sold claims was noted and discussed.
- The group discussed the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) work in complaint resolution processes and the need for NZCRS to remain in contact with the FMA team as it progresses its work in this area.
- The Chair asked that the Director passes on the groups thanks to the NZCRS team for their efforts over the last quarter in managing the large number and diversity of claims as a result of the weather-related events.
- John Hardie spoke to the recent low uptake of the IDRS. Discussion followed, especially on how the IDRS Advisor could assist with aged NZCRS cases to achieve final resolution.
- The group discussed resourcing of the mediation panel and the fact additional resourcing will be required if IRDS is extended nationally.
Engineering NZ update
- Tiffany Matsis updated the group on engineering related matters, including the launch of the Natural Disaster Recovery Panel on 1 August, and their recent induction and training workshop for engineers.
- The group discussed Engineering NZ’s legacy and lessons learnt project which is in the final stages of review. The group noted that this protect would be a valuable resource and discussion followed on quantity surveyors potentially undertaking similar work.
MBIE dispute resolution policy design update
- MBIE updated the group on its dispute resolution policy design work, including the stakeholder engagement it had undertaken. The group was informed of MBIE’s two staged approach to this work. The first stage is to seek a high-level steer from the Minister on the scope of the service. Discussion followed.
- The group sought from MBIE the broad themes of the feedback received from the different groups it had engaged with and this feedback was discussed. The group emphasised the need for a national IDRS service to be complementary to the courts and other dispute resolution schemes. Also, the fact that the IDRS service as currently designed had proved a successful scheme with high homeowner satisfaction rates. MBIE noted that it aimed to provide its advice to the Minister by the end of August. It confirmed NZCRS would see a draft of the initial advice.
- The group asked that any feedback on how the current IDRS was performing be provided to the IDRS Advisor.
- Engagement and consultation more widely on the set-up of a national IDRS under the Natural Hazards Insurance Act was discussed.
Review of agenda
- The Auckland Council’s use of Australian standards for assessing life risk was raised and the need for industry participants to be aware of its approach.
- Early intervention and the modelling of an event was discussed, with the UK’s recent work on this area noted. It was agreed the FMA in the UK would be approached for further information.
- The next Legal Advisory Group meeting date is scheduled for 28 November 2023.
Meeting closed at 11:51am