An Auckland lawyer has managed to keep his name secret while being investigated for "offensive" verbal and physical sexual attention.

The affected person in the case does not want their identity revealed, and it is on this basis the Auckland High Court has allowed the lawyer - Mr P - to keep his real name secret.

The details of the alleged incident, the lawyer's firm, and the nature of legal practice have all been suppressed.

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The law firm said the affected person would find it "personally harmful" if their identity was known.

The National Standards Committee of the NZ Law Society (NZLS) investigated the lawyer's alleged misconduct and referred the matter to the Disciplinary Tribunal in May 2019.

The lawyer concedes the verbal and physical sexual attention was unwelcome and offensive, a judgment said.

As part of that process, the lawyer wanted to apply for two documents and filed for a judicial review hearing at the High Court at Auckland.

The affected person is taking no part in the process.

Before this proceeding, both Mr P and the NZLS applied for suppression of the affected person's identity.

Mr P's representative, Rachael Reed, QC, said if his name was published it would identify the other affected person by way of a concertina effect.

The law firm involved told the court it was "certain" the affected person did not want their identity known and "would regard publication as personally liable".


The representation for the NZLS said while those coming to the court should expect open justice, the "more pressing risk" was that of identifying the affected person.

Justice Matthew Palmer granted the suppression order and banned publication of the relevant law firm, details of the alleged incident and Mr P's name, nature of practice and other identifying information.