18 Oct 2013

CPP says lawyers need more help with stress

3:24 pm on 18 October 2013

The Crown Prosecutor says lawyers need a system to help recognise the symptoms of stress and depression in themselves and others, to prevent another death like that of the high profile defence lawyer, Greg King.

The claims come after the Coroner found the high profile lawyer, Greg King, 43, was under pressure and in a deep state of depression when the he took his own life last November.

Simon Moore, QC, says legal work, especially when it relates to sexual abuse, can be very distressing and some top lawyers may fail to recognise in themselves what they regard as a weakness.

Mr Moore says resilience training needs to be set up with the mental health profession to help lawyers self diagnose, but also to recognise the symptoms in those around them and ensure they get help.

His comments are echoed by others in the profession.

Auckland barrister Ron Mansfield says defence lawyers are under more pressure, partly due to an increased workload.

And executive Director of the Law Society Christine Grice says the role is made more difficult by changes to legal aid and the family courts system.

Ms Grice says help is available from the society, including its agreements with a counselling service, a locum service and business mentors.