New Zealand Law Society - Vicki Morrison-Shaw - Environmental Law Committee

Vicki Morrison-Shaw - Environmental Law Committee

Matakana-based barrister and commissioner Vicki Morrison-Shaw originally joined the Environmental Law Committee as a way of keeping herself across developments in the law - since the role of the committee is to make submissions on proposed changes to environmental and resource management legislation. 

But in the nine years she’s been involved it’s given her so much more.

Vicki says one of the most valuable aspects is the opportunity to listen to other committee members’ views. 

“Everyone sees things through a different lens,” she says. “And there’s real value in hearing other peoples’ points of view and learning from them.” 

The diverse range of people on the committee along with their different experiences and areas of expertise means there’s a range of perspectives, she says. 

“That really assists in identifying any drafting errors, fishhooks, or potential unintended consequences of the wording of a particular provision.” 

After being on the committee since 2015, Vicki became the convenor in September last year.  

One of the most interesting and largest pieces of work the committee has completed recently was a 90+ page submission on the 900-page Natural and Built Environment Bill and Spatial Planning Bill.  

The members of the committee divided up the different parts of the Bill, drawing on members’ knowledge or expertise in particular areas (such as resource consenting, plan changes, heritage orders etc).  Vicki says it was helpful to have a range of levels of experience and diversity to be able to input into the submission. 

These enactments, which created a new resource management system, were repealed late last year. 

The Committee encourages the wider profession to contribute to the Law Society's law reform submissions. Consultations which are being considered by the Law Society are published on the Law Society's website, and in LawPoints. 

Vicki does not hesitate when asked if she would recommend being involved in the Law Society’s committees.  

“Being involved forces you to keep abreast of legal changes,” she says. “It is also an opportunity to learn about other areas of law that you might not come across otherwise.” 

And, she says it is an opportunity to connect with and learn from others.  

For further information about the committee visit the Law Society’s website 

About Vicki 

Vicki’s areas of practice include environmental, local government, resource management, public and Māori law issues. She has held several roles including director of a boutique law firm, in-house counsel for a land development company, development manager for an iwi consultancy firm, and research and policy officer for a local government organisation. She regularly sits as a member of plan change and resource consent hearing panels. Vicki is of Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Pākehā descent and is continuing to deepen her understanding of Te Reo Māori through Te Aupikitanga at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa this year.  

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