Law Society appreciates need for court security screening

1 September 2010

Law Society appreciates need for court security screening 

The New Zealand Law Society says it appreciates the need for the introduction of security screening at New Zealand’s courts.

 Full-time security screening will be introduced at Auckland District Court on 3 September and progressively introduced through the rest of the country.

The convenor of the Society’s Courthouse Committee, Warren Pyke, says the Society has worked with the ministry to ensure the new security measures cause minimal delays and inconvenience.

“Except for members of the judiciary and uniformed police officers, anyone entering the Auckland District Court from Friday will have to undergo screening similar to that carried out at airports,” Mr Pyke says.

“The Society and the Ministry of Justice have agreed that searches carried out by security staff must be reasonable and will respect the dignity of the people searched.”

Lawyers who enter the Court will get priority access to the front of the queue if they present suitable identification.

Mr Pyke says the Society expects that lawyers will comply with the agreed procedures. It will be monitoring progress, particularly the single-point entry which has been adopted for Auckland District Court.

 “The screening process does not allow security staff to search briefcases or look through client files,” he says. “If the screening identifies an item which it is believed needs further examination, lawyers will be asked to give it to security staff for inspection.”

The New Zealand Law Society will shortly introduce an identity card which can be used by any lawyer with a current practising certificate. The identity card is intended to assist court security staff with their screening work.