New Zealand Law Society - Our Profession, Our People

Our Profession, Our People

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Tauranga Queen’s Counsel Paul Mabey has been appointed an Acting District Court Judge with a jury warrant to be based initially in Tauranga then in Rotorua. Judge Mabey was sworn in on 28 April in Tauranga. Mr Mabey practised as a litigation solicitor for 18 years in Christchurch, Palmerston North and Tauranga. In 1994 he joined the independent bar conducting criminal and general litigation. In 2000 he was appointed Queen’s Counsel and has since specialised in criminal law. Mr Mabey is a former chair of Tauranga Girls College Board of Trustees and was, on his appointment, President of the New Zealand Bar Association.

Auckland barrister Mina Wharepouri has been appointed an Acting District Court Judge with a jury warrant to be based in Manukau. Judge Wharepouri will be sworn in on 1 June in Auckland. Mr Wharepouri began his career with Kensington Swan in 1995. He moved to Russell McVeagh in 1997 where he was counsel for several Māori claimants in proceedings in the High Court and Court of Appeal. Between 2003 and 2011 Mr Wharepouri worked for Meredith Connell leading District Court and High Court jury trials. He also trained police in matters relating to evidence and prosecution. Mr Wharepouri became a barrister sole in 2012.

Clive Elliott QC has become President of the New Zealand Bar Association. This follows the appointment of Paul Mabey QC as an Acting District Court Judge. Mr Elliott was the association’s President-Elect when Mr Mabey was appointed to the bench. 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.

Noel Sainsbury is the new President of the Criminal Bar Association and the first from outside Auckland. The majority of Mr Sainsbury’s time as a lawyer has been spent practising criminal law. Following his admission in 1985, Mr Sainsbury began working with Richardson & McCardle in Upper Hutt, doing family and criminal work but also general practice. He then moved to Crown prosecution with Luke Cunningham and Clere before joining Bell Gully as a commercial litigator. Mr Sainsbury moved to the independent bar in the mid-1990s. He also taught “profs” at IPLS. He presents the NZLS CLE Ltd Introduction to Criminal Law Course and is a long standing member of the faculty for the NZLS CLE Ltd Litigation Skills Programme.

Peter Dengate Thrush has been appointed to the Advisory Council of the Washington DC-based Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT). CDT plays a leading role in free speech, privacy, Internet governance and architecture issues affecting democracy and civil liberties on the global Internet.

Two law students are among the five recipients of the Ngārimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship. This year’s masters recipient, Kingi Snelgar, is one of just three New Zealanders admitted to Harvard Law School and aims to become a Supreme Court Justice. Herewini Ammunson, who is studying law and commerce, is an undergraduate recipient.

New head of Kensington Swan

Kensington Swan has appointed Charles Spillane Chief Executive.

After graduating from Auckland University with an LLB (Hons), Mr Spillane was admitted in 1996.

His early career was in private practice where he specialised in tax and corporate law. He then joined Auckland International Airport Ltd, initially as sole legal counsel before being promoted to General Counsel, and General Manager, Corporate Affairs.

In those roles he had group responsibility for legal, governance, regulatory, government relations, tourist industry relations, media and community relations. Mr Spillane led the process for the Airport’s acquisition of the shareholding in Queenstown Airport Corporation and is notable for the strong relationships he built with key external stakeholders.

He is a former CLANZ (now ILANZ) Corporate Lawyer of the Year and has also held a number of directorships.

Rex Mason Prize

Entries are now open for the 2015 Honourable Rex Mason Prize.

To be eligible for the award, submission must have been public in a New Zealand legal publication between 1 January and 31 December 2015.

The award is organised by the New Zealand Law Society’s Wellington branch as Trustee of the Honourable Rex Mason Trust.

The trust deed stipulates that in determining the best articles, the judges shall be guided by:

  • the educational value of each article;
  • the literary value of each article;
  • the ability of each article to stimulate awareness in young lawyers of the nature and function of law as seen in and derived from practical experience;
  • the extent to which each article draws attention to the need for development of law in times of social change; and
  • the extent to which each article stimulates the interest of practising members of the legal profession.

Entries close at 4pm on 24 June and should be sent on the official entry form to The Manager, Wellington branch, New Zealand Law Society, PO Box 494, Wellington 6145 or delivered to Level 3, NZLS Building, 26 Waring Taylor Street, Wellington.

Preserving heritage data

Preserving funeral parlour records following liquidation is valuable in terms of preserving our past for the future, the New Zealand Society of Genealogists (NZSG) says.

This was highlighted recently when the liquidator of a funeral parlour contacted the society to see if it was interested in accepting a number of filing cabinets containing funeral records.

“We were delighted to accept them for safekeeping,” NZSG manager Jan Sanderson says.

“At the same time we realised that many similar records containing significant family data are likely being destroyed because liquidators may not be aware of their heritage value.

“We are qualified to preserve and protect these items, and would appreciate the opportunity to share our mission with your members.”

Gambling Law Guide wins award

Jarrod True has won the 2016 BigHand/Nuance Thought Leadership Award for producing the New Zealand Gambling Law Guide, an online resource which provides specialist advice to gambling operators.

A partner of Harkness Henry, Jarrod was presented his award at the 30th Lawlink conference in Dunedin on 15 and 16 April.

The New Zealand Gambling Law Guide ( is an online resource which provides access to the relevant legislation, provides commentary on the legislation and case law, but goes one step further by enabling clients to access the regulator’s internal documents (obtained under the Official Information Act) on each particular topic.

Clients find the ability to instantly access policy documents and prior internal decisions of the regulator extremely valuable, as it gives them an insight into how the regulator is likely to act on a matter in the future, Jarrod says.

The independent panel of judges reviewed four innovative projects. The judges were impressed that the guide was very popular with clients and doubled as a marketing tool for Harkness Henry. The judges also noted that the guide is used by the Department of Internal Affairs as a resource text and has been recently cited by the Court of Appeal as a source of expert opinion (Department of Internal Affairs v Whitehouse Tavern Trust Board [2015] NZAR 1708).

The Lawlink group established the award to recognise member firms that were being innovative, taking a new approach to customer service, and taking full advantage of technology. To win the award, the firm needed to demonstrate that the project had helped to grow their firm and was valuable to their clients.

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