New Zealand Law Society - The Committees

The Committees

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The following are the Law Society's Law Reform and specialist committees for the 2015-2017 term.

Law Reform Committee

The Law Reform Committee oversees all of the Law Society's law reform work. It reviews all bills before Parliament, as well as government and Law Commission law reform proposals. Committee members draft the Law Society's submissions on bills and discussion papers, with assistance from the Law Society specialist committees and the Family Law and Property Law Sections.

Liesle Theron (Convenor)

Photo of Liesle Theron

Liesle Theron was appointed convenor of the Law Reform Committee in January this year. A partner at Meredith Connell in Wellington, she was appointed to the committee in 2007 and became its deputy convenor early in 2015. A former Ethel Benjamin and Fulbright Scholar, she has worked both in law firms and in-house, as well as spending 10 years at the bar. She was also an intern at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Early Warning and Contingency Planning Unit in New York. Ms Theron is author of Guide to Company Liquidation (LexisNexis, Wellington, 2013), author of the chapters on liquidation in Heath & Whale on Insolvency and Morison's Company and Securities Law (both published by LexisNexis) and co-author of chapters on the nature, issue and transfer of shares, shareholders' rights and obligations, and amalgamations and compromises with creditors in Morison's Company and Securities Law.


Sean Kinsler, deputy convenor; Kristina Muller, deputy convenor; Jo Appleyard, Andrew Beck, Marcus Beveridge, Liz Bulger, Dr Andrew Butler, Victoria Casey, Allan Cooke, Lisa Fong, Matthew Harris, Adam Lewis, Greg Arthur, Austin Forbes QC, Vicki Thorpe, Dr Matthew Palmer QC, Steve Bonnar QC, Rebecca Sellers, Alastair Logan, Jonathan Orpin, Phil Page, Michael Quigg, Don Rennie, Professor Paul Rishworth QC, Neil Russ, Edward Scorgie, Jane Standage, Tim Stephens, Duncan Terris, Nick Whittington and Jesse Wilson.

Accident Compensation Committee

The Accident Compensation Committee monitors the application of the accident compensation scheme with reference to the purposes of the Act and the principles in the Woodhouse Report 1967. The committee makes submissions on proposed legislative changes which impact on the scheme, and liaises with the Accident Compensation Corporation and the Minister of ACC on operations or policy relating to New Zealand's unique social contract relating to personal injury.

Don Rennie (Convenor)

Photo of Don Rennie

Mr Rennie is the long standing convenor of the Accident Compensation Committee. He joined the committee on its inception in 1990 and has been convenor since 2002. Now retired from lawyering, Mr Rennie has been involved in ACC since before its establishment. He was a special consultant to the three commissioners who set up the ACC, established by the 1972 legislation. He was also responsible for setting up the ACC review and appeal systems. Mr Rennie is widely published in the areas of accident compensation and personal injury.


Hazel Armstrong, Alistair Barnett, Tiho Mijatov, John Miller, Peter Sara and Phil Schmidt.

Civil Litigation and Tribunals Committee

The Civil Litigation and Tribunals Committee considers and makes recommendations on all issues relating to the administration of civil justice. It regularly liaises with the Law Commission, the Ministry of Justice and the Rules Committee (a statutory body established by s51B of the Judicature Act 1908 which has responsibility for procedural rules in the courts).

Andrew Beck (Convenor)

Photo of Andrew Beck

Mr Beck specialises in tax, commercial, health and public law litigation. His particular interest in appellate work has seen him conduct many appeals in the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court. He has written extensively in the areas of contract, company law, tax and general litigation. Mr Beck is the author of Principles of Civil Procedure and co-author of McGechan on Procedure, Introduction to Advocacy, Civil Remedies in New Zealand, and Relationship Property on Death. He is a Law Society representative on the Rules Committee.


J Edward Bayley, David Campbell, Kevin Clay, Jenny Cooper, Stuart Dalzell, Allison Fergusson and Dean Russ.

Commercial and Business Law Committee

The Commercial and Business Law Committee monitors reform proposals in all areas of commercial and consumer law.

Rebecca Sellers (Convenor)

Photo of Rebecca Sellers

Ms Sellers is Financial Services Leader at Ernst & Young Law. She was appointed to the Commercial and Business Law Committee in 2013. Ms Sellers was admitted in the United Kingdom in 1996, in New Zealand in 2004 and New South Wales in 2015. She was previously special counsel at DLA Phillips Fox and a legal consultant at AMP Services (NZ) Ltd. Before this, Ms Sellers was a reinsurance and insurance litigator at Clifford Chance in London. She has extensive experience in the financial services industry and is a contributing editor of Colinvaux's Law of Insurance in New Zealand.


Rebecca Britton, Grant Fraser, John Horner, Ross Johnston, Stephen Layburn, Rae Nield, Nic Scampion and Andrew Wallace.

Courthouse Committee

This committee monitors and provides advice on significant issues affecting courthouses throughout the country, including courthouse design, access, safety, security and the efficient use and management of courthouses, bearing in mind the needs of all court users. The committee is connected to local networks of practitioners and court users across New Zealand, and liaises with the Minister for Courts, the Ministry of Justice and the judiciary on courthouse issues.

Iain Hutcheson (Convenor)

Photo of Iain Hutcheson

Mr Hutcheson is an Auckland barrister who specialises in civil litigation. Iain has been involved in the redevelopment of a number of courts in the upper North Island, providing input on design, access, security and other practical issues, through consultation with local practitioners, library and court staff, the judiciary, the Ministry of Justice and architects. His input has also covered issues around lawyers' rooms and library areas.


Donna Buckingham, Piers Davies, Prue Robertson and Mark Wilton.

Criminal Law Committee

The Criminal Law Committee has practitioners from all sides of the criminal bar. It considers and makes recommendations on all issues touching on the administration of criminal justice.

Steve Bonnar QC (Convenor)

Photo of Steve Bonnar

Mr Bonnar has practised as a Crown Prosecutor at Meredith Connell, in London and in the Cayman Islands. He has been a barrister sole since 2002 and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2014. His present practice is principally in criminal defence work and the defence of regulatory prosecutions. Mr Bonnar is a member of the Auckland and Manukau Crown Solicitors' prosecution panels and the Serious Fraud Office prosecution panel. He is a member of the Ministry of Justice Northern Legal Aid Selection Committee and is a pro bono SPCA Panel prosecutor. He was appointed to the Legal Services Committee in 2011 and transferred to the Criminal Law Committee in 2013.


Tiana Epati, Professor Jeremy Finn, Jonathan Krebs, Chris Macklin, James Rapley, Mike Ruffin, Sarah Saunderson-Warner, Simon Shamy and Todd Simmonds.

Employment Law Committee

The Employment Law Committee makes submissions on proposed changes to employment legislation. The committee also maintains a close relationship and dialogue with the judiciary and relevant government departments that oversee employment law.

Michael Quigg (Convenor)

Photo of Michael Quigg

Mr Quigg is a founding partner of Quigg Partners, a firm specialising in all areas of employment law and corporate/mergers and acquisitions. He has been convenor of the Employment Law Committee since 2007 and was a member of the originating committee at its inception in 1995. Mr Quigg, who has worked in New Zealand employment law for more than 25 years, has been actively involved in the NZLS CLE's biennial Employment Law Conference for a number of years.


Peter Cullen, Maria Dew, John Hannan, Stephen Langton, Professor Paul Roth, Andrew Shaw, Shima Grice and Christie Hall.

Environmental Law Committee

The Environmental Law Committee makes submissions on proposed changes to environmental and resource management legislation. The committee also contributes towards practice notes issued by the judiciary.

Phil Page (Convenor)

Photo of Phil Page

Mr Page is a partner of Gallaway Cook Allan and is the firm's senior environmental and resource management law expert. He completed an LLM in 1994 and his thesis focused on the fisheries quota management system as a model for management of renewable natural resources based on market economics. Mr Page has specialised in environmental law, resource management law and local government law since 1996.


Helen Andrews, Bronwyn Carruthers, Ashley Cornor, Robert Makgill, Dean van Mierlo and Vicki Morrison-Shaw.

Health Law Committee

The Health Law Committee makes submissions on proposed changes in health law. A substantial focus of the committee is the interface between medical ethics and law, for example assisted reproductive technologies.

Adam Lewis (Convenor)

Photo of Adam Lewis

Mr Lewis is a Wellington barrister whose primary area of practice since 1993 has been personal injuries and health law. He has been a legal adviser to multi-national health practitioner indemnity organisations and insurers in United Kingdom, New South Wales and New Zealand. In particular, since 1999, he has advised district health boards, registration authorities and health practitioner organisations. He is the co-author of the Coroners title reissue in The Laws of New Zealand (2012). Adam is a long standing committee member of the Wellington Medico-Legal Society.


Dr Jonathan Coates, Alison Douglass, Meenal Duggal, Professor Mark Henaghan, Dr Fiona McCrimmon, Dr Jennifer Moore and Dr Cordelia Thomas.

Human Rights and Privacy Committee

The Human Rights and Privacy Committee monitors compliance with domestic and international human rights standards and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, and makes submissions on human rights and privacy issues.

Dr Andrew Butler (Convenor)

Photo of Andrew Butler

Dr Butler is a partner at Russell McVeagh, with extensive litigation experience at trial and appellate level, in both commercial and public law. He is a leading authority in public law, human rights protection and judicial review. Dr Butler is general editor of Equity and Trusts in New Zealand (2009), a co-author of New Zealand Bill of Rights Act: A Commentary (2015) and editor of the law report series Human Rights Reports of New Zealand.


Peter Barnett, Kathryn Dalziel, Frances Joychild QC, Joss Opie, Steven Price, Katrine Evans and Vicki Slater.

Immigration and Refugee Law Committee

The Immigration and Refugee Law Committee monitors and makes recommendations on proposed legislative reforms relevant to immigration and refugee law. It also liaises with Immigration New Zealand on immigration policy.

Marcus Beveridge (Convenor)

Photo of Marcus Beveridge

The principal of Queen City Law in Auckland, Mr Beveridge is an immigration lawyer who has developed expertise in business-based immigration. His other main areas of practice are construction and property law, commercial law, foreign investment and real estate services. Mr Beveridge is widely published in immigration law and is a regular commentator on immigration issues on national radio and TV.


Carole Curtis, Rob Davidson, Kamil Lakshman, Anna Longdill, John McBride, Mark Williams, Rita Worner and Somang You.

Intellectual Property Law Committee

The Intellectual Property Law Committee assists in intellectual property law reform by reviewing proposed legislation, regulations and guidelines. The committee is also represented on working groups established by the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand, providing feedback on the workability of operational policy.

Greg Arthur (Convenor)

Photo of Greg Arthur

Mr Arthur is recognised as one of New Zealand's leading intellectual property litigators. He has been engaged in many significant intellectual property cases before the High Court and the Court of Appeal and before the Commissioner of Patents and Trade Marks. Mr Arthur began practice as a barrister sole in 2014. He was formerly head of litigation and managing partner at AJ Park. As well as litigating, Mr Arthur conducts patent and trade mark opposition cases before the Commissioners of Patents and Trade Marks. He represents clients in the Advertising Standards Authority.


Andrew Brown QC, Doug Calhoun, Clive Elliott QC, John Glengarry, Virginia Nichols, Paul Sumpter and Sheana Weeldon.

Legal Services Committee

The Legal Services Committee monitors proposals that affect the operation of the legal aid system, including proposed legislative reforms. Members are typically practitioners who are criminal, civil, family, Waitangi and refugee legal aid providers.

Liz Bulger (Convenor)

Photo of Liz Bulger

A Christchurch barrister, Ms Bulger's practice is principally in criminal law but she does undertake work in the Youth Court, the Coroner's Court and in other quasi-judicial tribunals. She also undertakes Parole Board assignments and has on several occasions been appointed as Counsel to assist the Court at Youth Court, District Court, High Court and Court of Appeal levels. She has been a Youth Advocate since 2004 and is also experienced in the Youth Drug Court. She was a member of the Law Society's Criminal Law Committee from 2002 to 2011 and was the Law Society representative on the Inter-Agency Court Improvement Group from 2006 to 2012. She has just been appointed to the Criminal Practice Committee. Established at the request of the then Chief Justice, Sir Ronald Davison, in 1988, this committee brings together all those professionally involved in the criminal justice system at a senior level to progress matters of importance to the operation of the criminal justice system and to inform the Executive.


Jennifer Braithwaite, Elizabeth Hall, David More, Ingrid Squire and Michele Wilkinson-Smith.

Public and Administrative Law Committee

The Public and Administrative Law Committee monitors reform proposals in public and administrative law. The committee regularly prepares submissions on legislative bills as well as Law Commission and government agency consultation papers.

Dr Matthew Palmer QC (Convenor)

Photo Matthew Palmer

A Wellington barrister, Dr Palmer is one of New Zealand's leading experts in public law. He specialises in litigation and advice challenging/defending decisions of government, Crown entities and public bodies. He has served as Deputy Solicitor-General (Public Law), Deputy Secretary for Justice (Public Law), Manager and Economic & Financial Analyst at the Treasury, as well as being Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of Law, and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Public Law, at Victoria University of Wellington for five years. He has written several books and many articles and chapters on New Zealand public law and law and economics, winning the Legal Research Foundation prizes for the best book in New Zealand law in 2008 and the best article in New Zealand law in 2005 and 2006. He has taught law at the Victoria University, Hong Kong University, Yale Law School (where he also gained his doctorate), the Australian and New Zealand School of Government and the University of Chicago.


Matthew Andrews, Nick Crang, Elana Geddis, Jason McHerron, Stephanie Winson, Nicolette Butler, Jessica Gorman and Olga Ostrovsky.

Rule of Law Committee

The Rule of Law Committee monitors and responds to rule of law issues and assists the legal profession in meeting its fundamental obligation to uphold the rule of law (as set out in s4(a) of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006). The committee is actively involved in monitoring the rule of law in New Zealand and overseas, and its work demonstrates the Law Society's strong commitment to the rule of law.

Austin Forbes QC (Convenor)

Photo of Austin Forbes

A former New Zealand Law Society President, Mr Forbes has been convenor of the Rule of Law Committee since its inception in 2007. He is a Christchurch-based barrister practising in commercial and civil litigation. In 1997, he was awarded a CNZM (Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit) for services to the legal profession. From 1991 to 1997, Mr Forbes was a member of the Law Society Board, serving as Vice-President from 1991 to 1993 and President from 1994 to 1997. From 1997 to 2000, he was a member of the executive committee and council of LAWASIA.


Gregor Allan, Isaac Hikaka, Professor Philip Joseph, Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC and James Wilding.

Tax Law Committee

The Tax Law Committee makes submissions on proposed changes to tax law. The committee maintains an ongoing dialogue with Inland Revenue, making submissions on issues papers, public rulings, interpretation statements, "Questions We've Been Asked" and other projects that the Inland Revenue seeks consultation on.

Neil Russ (Convenor)

Photo of Neil Russ

Mr Russ leads Buddle Findlay's tax practice. He specialises in corporate and international tax issues, as well as structured transactions. In addition to his tax expertise Mr Russ has a multi-jurisdictional background in banking and capital markets transactions. He has been a member of the Tax Law Committee since 2003, and was appointed convenor in 2013. Mr Russ is also Jurisdictional Council Member for New Zealand of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association, and is a member of the International Fiscal Association, LAWASIA and the Taxation Institute of Australia.


Geoffrey Clews, Shaun Connolly, Barney Cumberland, Maria Deligiannis, Mike Lennard, Mathew McKay, Bevan Miles, Graeme Olding, Stephen Tomlinson, Tony Wilkinson, Katherine Ewer, Kirsty Keating and Andrew Ryan.

Youth Justice Committee

The Youth Justice Committee monitors proposals that affect the operation of the youth justice system, including proposed legislative reforms.

Vicki Thorpe (Convenor)

Photo of Vicki Thorpe

Admitted in 1984, Ms Thorpe practised as a solicitor and partner at Chrisp Caley & Co. She set up sole practice in 1994 focusing at that time on criminal and family law in Gisborne and now has a mixed practice of criminal law, family law, lawyer for child, youth advocate, mental health advocate and mediator. Ms Thorpe has practised as lawyer for child since 1987 and in the Rangatahi Court since its inception. She has been a member of the Youth Justice Committee since 2009. She has been a member of the Litigation Skills faculty since 2003.


Clare Bennett, Helen Bowen, Don Kennedy, La-Verne King, Soana Moala and Rebecca Plunket.

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