New Zealand Law Society - Victoria Anderson, Wairarapa sole practitioner

Victoria Anderson, Wairarapa sole practitioner

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An accomplished family lawyer with a passion for children and families, Victoria Anderson has worked mainly as a family lawyer for most of her legal career.

Admitted to the Bar at the Hamilton High Court in July 1989, Victoria has been practising for 28 years. She practised in Hamilton, Tauranga and Gisborne before returning to the Wairarapa/Tararua area where she lived as a child.

Victoria worked on the high profile Bottrill trial and inquiries in the early 2000s.

The Bottrill Inquiry, and subsequent court proceedings, focused on the misreading of cervical screening tests in the Gisborne/Tairawhiti region by the region’s screener, Dr Michael Bottrill.

Dr Bottrill’s misreading of four tests of one patient resulted in her developing advanced cervical cancer before it was ultimately diagnosed. She needed invasive surgery and aggressive treatment and this incident subsequently launched an inquiry and subsequent hearings into his practice.

This case made its way to the Privy Council, but was ultimately settled out of Court.

Many other women were also affected, some of whom lost their lives. Victoria assisted Bruce Corkill QC in representing these other women at the Inquiry and subsequently securing settlement for these women and their families.

After 15 years of working at other firms and for a short period with CYFS, Victoria decided to set up as a sole practitioner in about 2004. “I felt it was time to move on, take the challenge, as it were”. She operates her practice from her home office at Pahiatua and her Masterton office.

“In family law, there is a lot of diversity. From my perspective, it’s a challenging and interesting area of law.”

Victoria does a variety of Family Court work including accepting assignments as lawyer for child and to represent subject persons in PPPR matters. This work is mainly in Masterton, Dannevirke and Palmerston North Courts. She complements this work with relationship property matters, conveyancing, and estate planning. She describes herself as “essentially a country GP”.

Part of the big challenge of working as a sole practitioner is business management. With a tight-knit team to help her, Victoria explains “I have very good staff to do the admin side of the practice so that I can focus on the legal work.”

For someone who describes herself as at “retirement age”, Victoria has a very busy work life.

“I still have a passion for the work I do but some days I think I must be absolutely mad!”

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