Dame Margaret Bazley has been appointed to head an external review of incidents of sexual harassment at law firm Russell McVeagh.

The law firm announced it had appointed Bazley to look at incidents which took place in 2015/16.

Bazley will be assisted by a female lawyer whose appointment will be announced shortly.

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Pip Greenwood, a senior partner at Russell McVeagh, said: "We recognise that the incidents of sexual harassment that have occurred at our firm have had a profound effect on the women involved and we are all truly sorry and horrified that they occurred."

Greenwood said: "We are extremely grateful to Dame Margaret for agreeing to conduct this review."

"We have been conscious, in making this appointment, to appoint a person who is truly independent as well as one who has experience in such work."

Bazley headed the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct in 2007, was a member of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance and reviewed the Legal Aid system in 2009.

She was also the reviewer of the process, protocols and procedures the Wellington Rugby Football Union had in place with regard to player recruitment and the management and monitoring of player behaviour in 2016.

Russell McVeagh chairman Malcolm Crotty said: "'The women who have been subjected to any form of sexual harassment want to be assured that the review will be thorough."

Bazley would have full access to material and any staff who wished to participate, a statement from Russell McVeagh said.

Former staff and summer clerks would also be invited to take part.


The review would cover sexual harrassment claims relating to the summer of 2015/2016 and the firm's responses to those claims, as well as claims of improper conduct from any other time.

Bazley would also be considering the firm's standards, systems and policies relating to the management of staff and the firm's implementation of those policies.

The overall culture of the firm would also be under examination.

At least two staff members from Russell McVeagh left after allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour towards young, female law-clerk students.

All six of New Zealand's law schools have cut ties with Russell McVeagh in the wake of a series of accusations that paints a culture of sexual harassment as rife within the firm.

AUT, Waikato, Victoria, Canterbury and Otago universities all said they had temporarily banned any Russell McVeagh-related events.