New Zealand Law Society - People in the law

People in the law

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John Marshall QC is stepping down as Chief Commissioner of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) once he has completed his term in March. “I would like to thank John for his significant contribution to the transport sector over the past five years, particularly towards improving transport safety for the benefit of all New Zealanders,” Transport Minister Simon Bridges says. “John’s leadership and wise counsel in heading complex, sensitive and high profile cases, such as the Rena investigation, have been invaluable.” Mr Bridges has appointed Helen Cull QC as Acting Chief Commissioner until the formal appointment process for a permanent Chief Commissioner is completed. Following the resignation of Commissioner Howard Broad in December 2013, Mr Bridges has appointed commercial barrister Jane Meares to fill the vacancy. Ms Meares’ term is effective from 16 February 2015 to 30 April 2019.

Dame Lowell Goddard has been appointed to chair a United Kingdom inquiry into child abuse. The inquiry was first announced in July 2014 by British Prime Minister David Cameron. It followed a number of scandals involving the abuse of children in hospitals and care homes as well as churches and schools. The original inquiry appointed a board of advisors. The two panel chairs originally appointed, retired judge Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss and lawyer Fiona Woolf, both stepped down in 2014 following allegations of conflicts of interest. British Home Secretary Theresa May has now announced that the inquiry will be re-set. The inquiry will investigate “whether public bodies and other non-state institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse in England and Wales”. New Zealand’s longest serving High Court Judge, Dame Lowell was senior counsel assisting Judge Cartwright during the inquiry into Cervical Cancer Treatment at National Women’s Hospital from 1987 to 1988. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1988, when she and the Chief Justice, Dame Sian Elias, were the first women to be appointed QCs in New Zealand. She was was appointed to the High Court in December 1995. Dame Lowell was appointed Independent Police Conduct Authority in 2007 and served for five years until 2012

DLA Phillips Fox partner Martin Thomson has been appointed the new chair of the New Zealand China Trade Association (NZCTA). Martin specialises in foreign direct investment into New Zealand, the Overseas Investment Act and Chinese trade with and investment into the country. He is a member of DLA Phillips Fox’s China practice. His clients are based in China, New Zealand and elsewhere around the globe. The NZCTA ( promotes and strengthens trade with and investment between New Zealand and the People’s Republic of China.

Wellington barrister Peter Dengate Thrush has been reappointed to the Copyright Tribunal for a further five-year term from 1 March. In announcing the appointment, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith described Mr Dengate Thrush as “an acknowledged expert in intellectual property”.

Law firm news

Auckland lawyer Simon Papa has established a new practice, Cygnus Law Ltd, in Newmarket. Cygnus Law specialises in commercial and financial markets law. Simon has over 10 years’ experience as a commercial lawyer at firms in Auckland and London and in-house. Most recently, he was a senior solicitor at the Financial Markets Authority, where his role included advising on a wide range of law applicable to financial services businesses and on the development and implementation of new financial markets law.

New Plymouth law firm Legal Beagle won the People’s Choice Best Plain Communication at the recent Plain English Awards. Legal Beagle won for its website, The firm aims to provide easy online legal services to people in all parts of New Zealand. “We are committed to modernising the legal industry in New Zealand and making buying legal services online easy,” says Legal Beagle Managing Director Claudia King. “Our mission is to make the law more accessible, understandable and affordable for Kiwis.”

Chapman Tripp has announced five new national community partnerships as part of its revitalised Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy. The firm has agreed to support Aera Foundation, Creative HQ, First Foundation, New Zealand Opera and The Sir Peter Blake Trust with pro bono work, funding and volunteering time (where relevant) over the next three years. In addition to these five national partnerships, the firm is also developing closer links with a number of long-standing pro bono clients including Arts Access Aotearoa, Circa Theatre, the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards and the Foundation for Youth Development.

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