New Zealand Law Society - Our Profession, Our People

Our Profession, Our People

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Auckland barrister Catriona MacLennan is the co-winner of the Bruce Jesson Foundation’s Senior Journalism Award for 2015. Catriona has been awarded $1,000 for a report on the feasibility of adopting the living wage at Auckland Council. In presenting Catriona with her award, Foundation chair Sir Edmund Thomas said he was well aware of her writings in the legal area and her journalism “invariably set the highest standard”.

Sir Geoffrey Palmer has been made an Honorary Master of the Bench of the Middle Temple. Founded in the 14th Century, the Middle Temple is one of the four Inns of Court in England which have the exclusive right to call students to the Bar. The Masters of the Bench are elected by their peers to provide governance of the Inn. The Inn also elects Honorary Masters of the Bench, distinguished individuals who have excelled in their professions.

Dr Royden Somerville QC has been reappointed to the Otago University Council. A Dunedin-based barrister, Dr Somerville specialises in public and environmental law. He is a trustee of the University of Otago Foundation Trust and a Fellow of Knox College, Dunedin. His academic qualifications include LLM and PhD (Otago) and he is an Associate of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand.

Swift Energy Company, a publicly listed independent oil & gas company headquartered in Houston Texas, has appointed Auckland commercial barrister Rabin Rabindran as a Director to the Boards of its three New Zealand subsidiaries, Swift Energy New Zealand Limited, Swift Energy New Zealand Holdings Limited and Kowhai Operating Limited. Mr Rabindran is currently the Chairman of the Bank of India (NZ) Ltd and a Director of Solid Energy New Zealand and Auckland Transport.

Nalini Meyer, a senior associate of Harmans Lawyers, has been appointed a layperson member of the New Zealand Psychologists Board for a term of three years. Nalini is a member of Harmans commercial and residential property team.

First winner of scholarship

Matthew Gale from Auckland has won the inaugural $10,000 FairWay Resolution Anne Scragg Scholarship for 2015.

Currently a Master of Laws candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, Matthew’s entry for the award was entitled Mediation and the Civil Justice Gap. It explored the interplay between courts, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and the challenges associated with a surging tide of people looking for justice.

Before heading to the University of Pennsylvania, Matthew was a senior solicitor at Wilson Harle, an Auckland based commercial litigation and dispute resolution firm, and formerly a Judges’ Clerk at the Auckland High Court.

Scholarship judges said they were impressed with his reflections on the application of ADR theory to his practical experiences and his broad grasp of the challenges people face when trying to resolve disputes.

Keen to explore a career in ADR, Matthew will do an internship with FairWay as part of his scholarship package. His essay is published on the FairWay website:

Other finalists for the award were Nathaniel Walker, Keri Morris and Nicola Hartfield.

LEADR now Resolution Institute

After the integration of LEADR and the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia (IAMA) on 1 January 2015, the Board has now announced the new name of the integrated organisation as Resolution Institute.

“The new name reflects the broad nature of the organisation, the diverse types of dispute resolution our members practise and signifies that DR is no longer an ‘alternative’,” says New Zealand litigator Mark Beech, who is the Resolution Institute Board vice-chair. See

Family affair at Wellington admission ceremony

Palmerston North’s Clark brothers were the centre of a proud family outing to the old High Court in Wellington for their recent admission to the bar.

Richard, 25, and his brother Simon, 24, were called to the bar by their older sister Vanessa who had travelled all the way from Perth where she is an associate at Slater and Gordon.

Mum Amanda, Dad Ken, a doctor, and eldest daughter Olivia were also present, along with baby Ariana and the lads’ partners to witness the special family occasion.

The admitted Clark siblings are each products of the Canterbury University Law School, Richard from the class of 2008 and Simon from the class of 2010. It was there they developed a focus on commercial practice that is now gainfully employed by Fitzherbet Rowe and Cooper Rapley, respectively, two “rival” firms from the brothers’ home town.

“We had a great day with the whole family,” Simon says. “To join such a prestigious profession, alongside my brother Richard was a real honour.”

“And for our sister Vanessa to make it over from Australia to act as our moving counsel was also really special. She’s been a huge influence on both of us and it was great to have her share the day with us. The old High Court really added to the experience.”

Simon and Richard both made a small speech to Judge Mallon, “mostly just thanking the family”.

“Mum and Dad seemed pretty chuffed. Mum was shedding a few tears during our speeches and Dad looked a little starry eyed.”

They celebrated the evening over “a few beers”, while being cautious not to spill any on the expensive and borrowed gowns and wigs they were admitted in.

LLM scholarship

Members of the New Zealand Law Society who are seeking to study for an LLM in Transnational Commercial Practice can receive a 50% tuition scholarship.

The next LLM sessions will be held in Budapest from 3-16 April and 12-25 June 2016. The degree may be completed over a two- to five-year period.

The courses are taught in English and the normal tuition fees are US$3,400 per session.

The courses are offered by Lazarski University, Eötvös Loránd University, Boston University and the Centre for International Legal Studies. See Enquiries:

Business support winners 

Two dispute resolution organisations and one law firm featured in the 2015 AUT Faculty of Business and Law Excellence in Business Support Awards, announced on 29 October.

Intellectual property specialist AJ Park won the award for export support.

New Zealand Dispute Resolution Centre was a joint winner, with Altris Limited, of the award for management services provided by an organisation with a turnover less than $5,000,000.

The Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ) was highly commended in the Not For Profit category.

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

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