The Defence Lawyers Association NZ
Founded in 2020.
The DLANZ was formed in 2020 to fill a gap in the New Zealand legal landscape. Until the DLANZ was formed there was no group that was dedicated solely to defence practitioners and the work that they do. Given the challenging and unique nature of criminal defence work, the DLANZ was formed to ensure there is a focused group to support, inspire, educate and contribute to law reform.
In October 2020 Supreme Court Justice Joe Williams gifted DLANZ the name - Te Matakahi. The whakataukī is: Iti te matakahi ka pakaru i a ia te tōtara. (The wedge may be small, but it will split the tōtara.)
DLANZ recognises New Zealand's criminal justice system disproportionately impacts Māori at all points of the process. The DLANZ acknowledges te Tiriti o Waitangi and the work of the DLANZ will also be guided by the Māori worldview, both through our members and through expert advice.
On 26 October 2020 DLANZ formally became an affiliate member of the NACDL, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the equivalent national association in the United States of America. DLANZ is delighted to announce this affiliation - which strengthens the support NACDL has shown informally to our members for many years.
The co-founders of the DLANZ are Christopher Stevenson and Elizabeth Hall, senior criminal defence lawyers based at Pipitea Chambers in Wellington.