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Duty Lawyer Training Programme

Duty Lawyer Training Programme
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Learning objectives  l  Ministry of Justice Requirements  l  Times & locations  l  Transfer & Cancellation policy
Duty lawyers are critical to the smooth running of a District Court list. Here is a way to gain more of the knowledge and skills you need to join this important group.

You will:
  • Undertake self directed pre-course reading and preparation on the role of a duty lawyer.
  • Attend an introductory session in the area in which you intend to practise.
  • Arrange to accompany and observe experienced duty lawyers for a minimum of five half days.
  • Work through a series of realistic scenarios with an experienced duty lawyer, then sit an open book exam.
  • Make critiqued appearances as a duty lawyer at a practice court.
  • Be observed and assessed while making your first appearance as a duty lawyer.
You MUST be prepared to do sufficient study and preparation for these sessions.

Ministry of Justice requirements 

As well as completion of the programme, you will need to meet the Ministry of Justice’s general listing criteria for duty lawyers. The MOJ says that being listed as a duty lawyer does not guarantee a place on any roster. See the MOJ website, www.justice.govt.nz for more information.


The introduction, advising, examination and practice court sessions are all run in the five main centres. In addition, introductory sessions are also held in a number of smaller centres. The introduction and final (assessed) appearance must be attended in the region in which you intend to practise.

All participants are required to attend the advising, examination and practice court sessions in one of the main centres. These sessions are held on a Friday afternoon and the following Saturday morning.

If you practise in a town which is not shown, we may be able to help you organise an introductory session in your area.

Learning objectives

At the completion of this programme you will be able to:
  • Recognise what information is required to advise properly list court defendants.
  • Advise defendants as to the best course of action in their individual case.
  • Recognise when to seek advice for a particular situation from a more experienced duty lawyer.
  • Recognise the limites to the duty lawyer role.
  • Appear in the list court to make the appropriate application/submission for a defendant.
  • Recognise and respond appropriately to ethical issues arising for a duty lawyer.
  • Know how to interact appropriately with the Community Probation Service, the Police, the Forensic Nurse and other services assisting in the list court.

Who should attend 

Those who intend to seek to be listed as a duty lawyer. As an adult learner you will need to be able to assess properly, and fill independently, the gaps in your own knowledge of the relevant legislation and processes of the criminal law jurisdiction by extra study and usually, extra observations.
  • You must hold a practising certificate in order to complete the course; and
  • Criteria for listing changed as from 1 July 2013 - Legal Services (Quality Assurance) Amendment Regulations 2013. For roster selection criteria see: Click here


Materials will be supplied when you have registered and paid the programme fee. Please read carefully all instructions, requirements and assessment procedures to ensure you are fully prepared for each component of the course.

We suggest that you register at least three weeks before the introductory session you wish to attend so that you can start on your observations and prepare for the introductory session.

Fee (incl GST)

Entry Level Workshop

  • $490
Fee includes all materials and catering

Do you want to register more than one person for this course? Click here

Download PDF brochure and registration form here.

Timing & Locations

  • Day 1: Introduction, 2.00pm - 5.30pm, (*)2.00pm - 5.00pm
  • Day 2: Advising session: 1.00pm - 6.00pm
  • Day 3: Practice court: 8.30am - 1.30pm 

*CPD hours

Please Note: CPD Hours will vary in different centres. Main centres (bold) will qualify for 11 CPD hours and smaller centres will qualify for 10.5 CPD hours.

The introduction and final (assessed) appearance must be attended in the region in which you intend to practise.
  Introduction Advising Session Practice Court
Christchurch 9 February 16 March 17 March
Timaru 9 February 16 March (in Chch) 17 March (in Chch)
Wellington 1 9 March 20 April 21 April
Nelson 9 March 20 April (in Wgtn) 21 April (in Wgtn)
Auckland 6 April 8 June 9 June
Gisborne 6 April 8 June (in Akd) 9 June (in Akd)
Hamilton 22 June 27 July 28 July
Tauranga 19 June 27 July (in Ham) 28 July (in Ham)
Rotorua 22 June 27 July (in Ham) 28 July (in Ham)
Dunedin 29 June 14 September 15 September
Invercargill 29 June 14 September (in Dun) 15 September (in Dun)
Wellington 2 3 August 5 October 6 October
Whanganui 3 August 5 October (in Wgtn) 6 October (in Wgtn)
Hawkes Bay 3 August 5 October (in Wgtn) 6 October (in Wgtn)
New Plymouth 3 August 5 October (in Wgtn) 6 October (in Wgtn)
Palmerston North 3 August 5 October (in Wgtn) 6 October (in Wgtn)
Manukau 21 September 2 November 3 November
Whangarei 21 September 2 November (in Man) 3 November (in Man)

Transfer Policy

You may transfer your registration to another centre for the exam and practice court session. We must be notified 10 working days in advance and you will be charged a $100 (incl GST) administration fee. If less than 10 days but greater than 5 days notice is given the transfer fee will be $150 (incl GST). If fewer than 5 days notice is given, the request will be treated as a cancellation.

Cancellation Policy

Before the introductory session:

If you notify us of your cancellation 10 or more working days in advance of an introduction session and you return your materials in a saleable condition, a full refund less an administration fee of $100 (incl GST) will be made. If less than 10 working days’ notice is given the administration fee is $150 (incl GST).

Before the exam and practice court session:

If you cancel your registration with 10 or more working days’ notice before the exam and practice court session, a refund of $150 (incl GST) will be payable. If less than 10 days’ notice is given or you fail to attend on the day no refund will be made.

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freephone (within NZ)
0800 333 111


04 472 7837

04 463 2986
Law Society Building
26 Waring Taylor Street
Wellington 6011

DX SP 20202
PO Box 5041
Wellington 6140
New Zealand