New Zealand Law Society - Our Profession, Our People

Our Profession, Our People

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Christchurch Queen’s Counsel Nicholas Davidson has been appointed a High Court Judge and will sit in Christchurch. Justice Davidson graduated with an LLB (Hons) from Canterbury University in 1971 and joined Duncan Cotterill & Co in Christchurch. In 1974 he left that firm to join Young Hunter & Co, becoming a partner in 1975. Justice Davidson went to the independent bar in 1988 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1996. He has led teams across a wide range of civil and prosecution litigation including representing the Serious Fraud Office in the Commission of Inquiry into various tax related matters (the Wine Box Inquiry). He was also counsel before the Royal Commission of Inquiry for the families of those men who died in the Pike River Mine Disaster in 2010. Justice Davidson was appointed deputy chair of the New Zealand Sports Disputes Tribunal in 2003 for a term ending in 2011 and is National Commissioner for New Zealand Cricket. He is a member of the disciplinary structures within SANZAR and the IRB and the Code of Conduct Commission for the International Cricket Council based in Dubai.

Auckland barrister Rebecca Edwards has been appointed a High Court Judge and will sit in Auckland. Justice Edwards graduated with a BA and LLB (Hons) from Auckland University in 1993 and commenced work as a solicitor with the Auckland office of Russell McVeagh. In 1996 she graduated with an LLM from the University of Virginia. In 1997 Justice Edwards joined Herbert Smith in London, before returning to Russell McVeagh as a senior solicitor in 1998. Justice Edwards left Russell McVeagh in 2003 to commence practice as a barrister sole specialising in commercial civil litigation with a particular focus on contract, shareholder and insolvency related disputes. Justice Edwards was admitted to the permanent bar in the Cook Islands in 2010 and subsequently represented the respondents in the first two Cook Islands appeals to the Privy Council.

Wellington barrister Geoff Sharp has been recognised as one of the world’s top 10 mediators by Who’s Who Legal 2015. This is the second year in succession that Mr Sharp has been awarded this ranking. “Clients would go to Geoff Sharp ‘10 times out of 10’,” the Who’s Who citation read. “A door tenant at Brick Court [Chambers, in London], he has conducted over a thousand mediations in New Zealand and worldwide, and is one of the most highly rated individuals on our international research.”

Wellington barrister Tim Castle has been appointed to the board of Drug Free Sport NZ. Mr Castle was the first person from Oceania to be appointed to the Court of Arbitration in Sport based in Switzerland. He is also a former chair of the NZ Olympic Committee. Justice Warwick Gendall has been reappointed the board chair and Auckland lawyer Stephen Cottrell has been reappointed to the board.

Auckland barrister Anita Killeen is a recipient of the American Bar Association Public Service Honor Roll Award for 2015. The award recognises excellence in public service and pro bono activity.

Wellington lawyer Simon Karipa has been appointed to the Independent Charities Registration Board for a three-year term. He will join Porirua lawyer Roger Miller, who has been reappointed as chair for a three-year term. Mr Karipa is general counsel for Te Ohu Kai Moana Trustee Limited (the Māori Fisheries Trust) and has previously held roles with several iwi organisations. He has also held a range of governance roles, including currently being a Court-appointed Alternate Trustee to the Crown Forestry Rental Trust. Mr Miller is a specialist in trust law and governance. He also chairs the Scots College Foundation, the Porirua City Council Community Services Board, and the Performing Arts Foundation of Wellington.

The term of the current Acting Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), Wellington lawyer Una Jagose, has been extended to 31 March 2016. “The Government has decided not to continue with the State Services Commission’s current recruitment process and instead extend Ms Jagose’s appointment as Acting Director,” Minister Responsible for the GCSB, Christopher Finlayson, says. Ms Jagose has been Acting Director of the GCSB since 28 February 2015.

Fast track continuing

The Court of Appeal will now be operating the fast track procedure on an ongoing basis, the Court says.

A pilot scheme fast track procedure for urgent civil appeals has been operating in the Court of Appeal since 2011.

“Our consultation with the profession indicates the pilot scheme has been successful,” the Court says.

“We should note two changes made from the pilot scheme. First, it has been made clear the fast track is intended for urgent appeals expected to take no more than one-day’s hearing time. Second, the Practice Note records that a Judge will conduct a teleconference with counsel ‘if necessary’ to determine an application for fast track.”

The Court of Appeal’s Fast Track Practice Note 2015 is at

Privacy network launched

The brainchild of two Christchurch lawyers – Kathryn Dalziel and Gareth Abdinor – the South Island Privacy Network was launched at Taylor Shaw’s Christchurch offices on 11 June.

It was a “very successful” launch with more than 30 people attending, Mr Abdinor says.

The Privacy Commissioner, John Edwards, and the Chief Government Privacy Officer, Russell Burnard, attended along with privacy officers and others working in the privacy area. That included in-house lawyers and two lawyers who are with firms.

The network is mainly aimed at privacy officers, although it could potentially be of benefit to lawyers working in the area, Mr Abdinor says.

At present there are a lot of lawyers dabbling in privacy. Privacy legislation is in the process of being amended and, when that happens, there will be a flurry of activity by lawyers in area, Mr Abdinor predicts.

Ms Dalziel is a partner of Taylor Shaw and Mr Abdinor is an associate of the firm.

New full-time Profs course

The Institute of Professional Legal Studies (IPLS) will next year add a 13-week full-time onsite Professional Legal Studies Course (Profs) to its programme.

It has made this change following consultation with the profession, IPLS says.

“Over the past year a number of law firms have expressed interest in a full-time onsite option,” says Bernadette Wilson, IPLS National Director.

“With several major course development projects now complete, the timing is right to start work on such a course.

“The onsite seminars are an important element of our existing programme and are always rated very highly by our trainees. Being in the classroom allows trainees to practise their skills in a safe and supportive environment and receive immediate, detailed individual feedback on their performance,” Ms Wilson says.

People interested in enrolling in the new course should contact IPLS via the “Any Questions?” button on the IPLS home page at Enrolments will open on 1 September.

Business support excellence

Lawyer Mai Chen, Chen Palmer, the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ) and the New Zealand Dispute Resolution Centre (NZDRC) are among the finalists in the 2015 AUT Faculty of Business and Law Excellence in Business Support Awards.

They are among the finalists in 10 categories at this year’s awards. The category winners and the supreme award will be announced at a gala dinner on 29 October.

Ms Chen is one of four finalists in the Fuji Xerox Leadership category. Her firm is a finalist in the IBM $5 million to $20 million turnover category.

AMINZ is one of three finalists in the New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation Not for Profit category. NZDRC is one of four finalists in the Image Centre Group with under $5 million turnover, management services.

Now into its 10th year, the AUT Excellence in Business Support Awards is the only national performance measure for New Zealand business support organisations.

Best plain English legal document

A new category for legal documents has been added for this year’s WriteMark Plain English Awards – the Best Plain English Legal Document award.

Entries can include such documents as contracts, agreements, terms and conditions, notices and judgments. Judges will be looking to ascertain if the documents are clearly written for their intended audience.

The awards are run by a not-for-profit trust. The aim of the trust is to help bring plain English into common use in New Zealand by publicly acknowledging the efforts of organisations that use plain English. They have been running since 2006.

Law firms have featured at every year’s awards apart from 2012. A J Park won the award for Plain English Champion – best organisation in 2006. The firm was also a finalist in the Best Plain English Document category in both 2007 and 2008.

Simpson Grierson’s professional development manager Julie O’Brien was a finalist in the best individual or team Plain English Champion – best individual or team in 2009.

Martelli McKegg was a finalist three times in the Best Plain English Website – private sector – in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

Last year, Legal Beagle won the Best Plain English Communication – people’s choice award.

Entries for this year’s awards are now open and close on 30 August. The awards ceremony will be held on 19 November. See

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