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 – 28 November 2023
- Miriam Dean (Chair)
- John Hardie (Advisor, Internal Disputes Resolution)
- Emily Walton (Independent Lawyer)
- Edward Butler (Solicitor, MBIE)
- Robert Vincent and Stephen Campbell (Community Law Canterbury)
- Gina Ronald (Engineering New Zealand)
- Darren Wright (Director, NZCRS)
- Kirsty Hamilton (Principal Advisor, NZCRS)
- Susan Rolton (Support Team Leader, NZCRS)
- Evan Martin (Senior Advisor, MBIE)
- Chris Boys (CEIT Chair)
- Paul Kirby (Engineering NZ)
- Vanessa Howell (Crown Law)
1.1 Conflicts of Interest
- No new conflicts of interest were declared.
1.2 Minutes and Actions
- The minutes were taken as read and updates provided on the outstanding actions.
- The Chair acknowledged the passing of Aidan Prebble and recognised the significant contribution he made to the Group’s discussions and deliberations, homeowners as well as the legal profession as a whole.
2.1 NZCRS Operational
- The Director spoke to his Director’s Report. Discussion followed and the group noted the demand for services remains strong though is beginning to trend downwards.
- A staffing update was provided with average caseloads per Case Manager decreasing because of the additional resourcing.
- The exit survey results were noted with satisfaction remaining strong and 91% of homeowners reporting they would recommend the NZCRS to others.
- As to Canterbury Earthquakes, the group discussed the progression of aged cases and noted the 33% increase is older cases closed over the quarter.
- Toka Tū Ake EQC’s procurement process for their dispute resolution scheme was discussed with NZCRS confirming it had submitted a proposal to be an approved scheme. The Director committed to seeking the Group’s advice on its own dispute resolution service, should NZCRS not be successful in its application.
- The group discussed the challenges faced by homeowners with On Sold properties with a particular focus on those not eligible for Treasury’s programme. The Director has met with CEO of Toka Tū Ake EQC to discuss these issues and will continue to progress these discussions with Toka Tū Ake EQC.
- The group discussed potential reasons homeowners who register with the service, do not then provide consent forms. NZCRS committed to consider their processes and make adjustments where appropriate in this regard.
- Ongoing engagement with the Chief Ombudsman’s Office was discussed.
2.2 CEIT Update
- An update on the CEIT was provided by the Director, NZCRS in the absence of the Chair, CEIT, with 23 claims currently open. Defective repairs were noted as being the general issue in these cases.
2.3 IDRS Update
- The IDRS Advisor provided the group with recent examples of issues homeowners are experiencing with Toka Tū Ake EQC and the need to move some of these matters into formal dispute resolution mechanisms.
2.4 Engineering NZ Update
- Gina Ronald updated the group on engineering related matters and noted the general decreasing trend of Canterbury referrals.
- Gina provided an update on the Legacy Project , with the documentation now complete and available on Engineering NZ(external link) and NZCRS’ websites(external link).
3. Review of Agenda
3.1 General Business
- The next Legal Advisory Group meeting date is scheduled for 5th March 2024.
Meeting closed: 10:03am