New Zealand Law Society - Our Profession, Our People

Our Profession, Our People

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Judge Peter Boshier will become the new Chief Ombudsman on 10 December. Judge Boshier will succeed Dame Beverley Wakem, who has been Chief Ombudsman since November 2007 and who is retiring. After graduating from Victoria University with an LLB in 1975, Judge Boshier practised in Wellington. He was appointed a District Court Judge with a specialist Family Court warrant in 1988. In 2004 Judge Boshier was appointed as the Principal Family Court Judge and held that position until December 2012. After that he became a Law Commissioner, the position he currently holds.

Clive Elliott QC has been appointed President-elect of the New Zealand Bar Association (NZBA). Mr Elliott is a Council member of both the NZBA and the New Zealand Law Society Auckland branch. He is a past Council member of the Legal Practice Division of the International Bar Association (IBA) and past co-chair of the IBA’s Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law Committee. Until recently he was convenor of the New Zealand Law Society’s Intellectual Property Law Committee. Mr Elliott is the immediate past President of the Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand and remains a member of its Trans-Tasman committee.

Professor Ursula Cheer has been appointed Dean of the Canterbury University Law School, becoming the first woman to hold the post in the school’s 142-year history. She will take up the appointment in January. Professor Cheer joined the law school as a lecturer in 1995 after working in private practice and in the civil service as a legal adviser to the Prime Minister and to the Lord Chancellor in the United Kingdom. She obtained an LLB (Hons) from Canterbury University in 1982 and an LLM from Cambridge University in 1990. In 2009, Professor Cheer was awarded a PhD from Canterbury for her thesis entitled: Reality and Myth: The New Zealand Media and the Chilling Effect of Defamation Law. Professor Cheer’s research interests lie in a combination of torts, such as defamation, freedom of expression and the New Zealand Bill of Rights; and the broad range of topics making up media law, such as privacy, court reporting and contempt, confidentiality, copyright and regulatory systems such as the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Press Council.

Professor Susy Frankel has become the first Australasian President of the International Association for the Advancement of Teaching and Research of Intellectual Property (ATRIP). ATRIP is a global organisation with a significant European and North American membership and a growing membership in Asia and this part of the world. Professor Frankel, who is on the academic staff of Victoria University’s Law School, succeeds Professor Tana Psitorius of the University of Pretoria.

Wellington barrister Kristy McDonald QC is the new chair of the kiwifruit industry regulator Kiwifruit New Zealand (KNZ). She succeeds Sir Brian Elwood, who has been in the role for 11 years. Ms McDonald is a director of a number of boards including the Accident Compensation Corporation and Wairarapa Building Society. She chairs the Judicial Control Authority for Racing and is the former Chair of the Real Estate Agents Authority.

Wellington lawyer John McCay has been appointed to the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) Board. A partner of Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, Mr McCay has previously advised the NZFC, Film New Zealand and New Zealand on Air, as well as being involved in a range of New Zealand films including Whale Rider and The World’s Fastest Indian. Mr McCay is a former chair of Film NZ and a trustee of the Wellington Arts Foundation, New Zealand International Festival of the Arts and Limbs4All Trust.

Wellington barrister Jo Hughson has been appointed chair of the Social Workers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal for a three-year term. Jo is a barrister at Featherston Chambers. Catherine Garvey, barrister at Quay Chambers in Auckland, has been appointed deputy chair. Both Jo and Catherine have many years’ experience in professional disciplinary matters involving a wide range of professions.

Abortion law analysis wins award

Auckland lawyer Hugo Farmer is the winner of the Rex Mason Award for 2014. Mr Farmer won for his article An analysis of NZ’s abortion law system and a guide to reform.

New Zealand’s longest-established legal writing award, it is given for an article adjudged the best appearing in any New Zealand legal publication in each calendar year.

The prize was established in 1973 to commemorate Henry Greathead Rex Mason (1885-1975), one of New Zealand’s longest-serving MPs and Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in the first and second Labour governments.

The award is managed by the New Zealand Law Society’s Wellington branch, and this year’s judges were Justice Sir William Young (nominated by the Chief Justice), Brenda Midson (Editor of the New Zealand Law Journal) and Professor Mark Hickford (Law Dean at Victoria University).

The $1,000 prize will be presented to Mr Farmer at a ceremony on 12 November.

A solicitor in Russell McVeagh’s litigation department, Mr Farmer is also a graduate teaching assistant at Auckland University.

Dan Parker wins Devil’s Own

Wellington lawyer Dan Parker is the 2015 Devil’s Own golf champion.

Despite being down by four to eventual runner-up Michael Kensington after just six holes, Dan came back to end the day one up on the last hole.

This year’s tournament attracted 122 participants, including four women golfers. LexisNexis provided a women’s trophy for the first time this year, and it was won by Annabel Lintermann.

The 2015 Devil’s Own was about more than golf too. One of the highlights was a successful CPD session, where speakers from the tournament sponsors talked about the future of New Zealand business, conveyancing, insurance and the future of law. And Iain Hutcheson, attired in a full kilt, won the best dressed competition.

The dates for next year’s competition have now been set. It will be held from 23 to 25 September (see

First Queenstown admission

Sam Buchan has become the first lawyer to be admitted in Queenstown.

This “first” for one of New Zealand’s favourite visitor destinations came about as a result of a series of events.

So much so that Sam describes it as an “alignment of the stars” that made him “super lucky to be the first person admitted in Queenstown”.

Originally he was going to be admitted in Dunedin. Delays in the paperwork meant that he missed that ceremony.

At about the same time, he was sending some papers to another lawyer, who mentioned that a High Court case was going to be heard in Queenstown. Although there is no High Court in Queenstown, there have been sittings in the town for around the last four years under the Invercargill Registry.

So Sam wrote to the Invercargill Registry and contacted the New Zealand Law Society’s Otago branch, and Queenstown’s inaugural admission was organised, with Justice Gerald Nation presiding. Like the other High Court sittings, the admission ceremony was in the District Courthouse on 24 August.

Sam graduated from Otago University in 2012. For the next two years he worked in television three-dimension graphics for a Dunedin-based company, with most of the work happening overseas.

More than anything else, that work proved to Sam that what he really wanted to do was be a lawyer. So he joined G TODD LAW in Queenstown where he works around 50-50 on private client and resource management work.

Otago law students make Animal moot grand final

Otago law students Amber Hosking and Hugo Dobson placed second in the grand final of the 2015 Australia New Zealand Intervarsity Moot on Animal Law (ANIMAL), which was held at the University of Melbourne from 19-20 September.

This is the second year that the competition has been running and is Australasia’s only animal law moot competition.

This year, the focus of the moot was regarding misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to food labeling and the admissibility of evidence pursuant to “ag-gag laws”.

There were 18 teams from around Australia, with Otago the only New Zealand university competing. Otago came second after losing to Flinders University in the final and beating the University of Melbourne and University of Tasmania in the quarter- and semi-finals respectively.

The competition is a joint initiative by the Animal Law Institute and Voiceless Australia, with the aim of encouraging analysis and consideration of legal issues relating to animals.

Branch returns to pre-earthquake address

The New Zealand Law Society’s Canterbury-Westland branch has just moved into its new offices.

This marks a return to its address at 307 Durham Street, which the branch was forced to vacate following the major earthquake on 22 February 2011.

The Canterbury-Westland branch’s premises were sufficiently damaged in the earthquake that the building was demolished. A completely new building now stands in its place, and the Law Society owns the middle floor of the three-storey building.

The shift from the branch’s temporary premises began on Friday 9 October and continued the next day. By Monday 12 October the branch was operational in its new home, with just a few IT issues still to be sorted out.

The new building meets the very latest design standards for earthquake resistance.

Auckland library relocation

The New Zealand Law Society’s Auckland library will see its staff and some of its resources relocated in mid November.

This is happening because the Ministry of Justice is building a new jury capable courtroom and a conference room on the lower ground floor of the Auckland High Court using part of the present Law Society Library space.

The library staff and some resources will be relocated to the Auckland District Court, and the library will operate out of both the High Court and District Court premises.

The texts will be shelved in the District Court Library on the 3rd floor of the District Court and practitioners will have access from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday. The journals will be moved to an area on the 4th floor at the District Court, where the library staff will be housed. Staff will be available to assist lawyers between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

Access to the databases, parliamentary materials and law reports at the High Court will be available 24/7 via the Anzac Ave door, using a door card. You will need to obtain a door card from the library, if you do not have one already.

Further information about the relocation is available on the NZLS website's Library section.

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