New Zealand Law Society - Our Profession, Our People

Our Profession, Our People

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Queen’s Birthday Honours

The following members and former members of the legal profession were awarded honours in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

The President of the Court of Appeal, Dame Ellen France, of Wellington, has been made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the judiciary.

Former Court of Appeal, High Court and District Court Judge, and Judge of the Vanuatu Court of Appeal, Justice Ronald Young, of Greytown, has been made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the judiciary.

Michael Friedlander, of Auckland, has been made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to philanthrophy. Mr Friedlander is a consultant at Keegan Alexander, where he was a partner for 40 years.

Danielle Harris, of Palmerston North, has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and health. Ms Harris is CEO of Tanenuiarangi Manawatu Inc, the mandated iwi authority for Rangitāne O Manawatu, and has been the Principal Negotiator for the iwi’s Treaty claim since 2007, leading to the signing of a Deed of Settlement in 2015.

Minter Ellison Rudd Watts chair Cathy Quinn, of Auckland, has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the law and women.

Former in-house lawyer, now co-owner and chief executive of Gibson Group, Victoria Spackman, of Wellington, has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to theatre, film and television.

Auckland barrister Sandra Alofivae has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the Pacific community and youth.

Retired District Court Judge, now acting District Court Judge Sharon McAuslan, of Auckland, has been made a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order for services to the judiciary.

Former Chief Parliamentary Counsel, David Noble, of Wellington, has been made a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order for services to the State.

Christchurch sole practitioner Selma Scott has been appointed to the Queen’s Service Order for services to the Pacific community.

Phillipa Smith, of Wellington, has been appointed to the Queen’s Service Order for services to the state. Ms Smith served as the inaugural Assistant Auditor-General Legal, Chief Advisor Legal in the State Services Commission and as Deputy Controller and Auditor-General from 2005 to 2015.

New Queen’s Counsel

Twelve new Queen’s Counsel have been appointed.

Professor John Prebble holds the highest international rank of professorship and teaches post-graduate courses internationally in London, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Beijing and Sydney. He is the world’s third most published legal scholar whose academic writing is regularly cited or referred to by the courts. His main teaching and research interests are in income tax and he has given key expert evidence in New Zealand tax cases, including the Winebox, Ben Nevis and Conduit cases. A Law Professor at Victoria University, Professor Prebble completed his law degree at Auckland University in 1967, before completing a BCL (Oxford) in 1970 and JSD from Cornell in 1972. Professor Prebble was appointed under the Royal Prerogative in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the law.

Derek Nolan graduated with an LLB (Hons) from Auckland University and an LLM from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He was admitted in 1976. He joined Auckland firm Sellar, Bone and Partners in 1975 and remained with that firm until 1981 when he joined Russell McVeagh. Mr Nolan joined the independent bar in 2014. He is a guest lecturer and member of the Auckland University Law Faculty. Mr Nolan specialises in environmental and resource management law and related fields.

Kenneth Johnston graduated with a BA and LLB from Victoria University and an LLM from the London College of Law. He was admitted in 1980 and joined Watts & Patterson (later Rudd Watts) in 1981, becoming a partner in 1986. He joined the independent bar in 1997 and specialises in civil, commercial and employment litigation, estates and trusts, insurance, professional disciplinary and corporate governance matters. He is regularly appointed as an arbitrator/mediator.

Aaron Perkins graduated with an LLB from Auckland University in 1980. He worked for two Auckland law firms before joining the independent bar in 1982. In 1986 he joined Meredith Connell, the Auckland Crown Solicitor’s office, and was a partner in that firm from 1993. Mr Perkins has prosecuted a number of complex high profile murder and manslaughter cases. He returned to the independent bar in 2014. Mr Perkins specialises in criminal prosecution and related work.

Kieran Raftery graduated from Manchester University in 1969. He was admitted in New Zealand in 1988 and joined Auckland firm Meredith Connell, becoming a partner in that firm in 1992. Mr Raftery joined the independent bar in 2015 and specialises in criminal work and work for Crown and public agencies. Mr Raftery is admitted in England and Wales, New South Wales, Pitcairn, Samoa and Fiji and has been a faculty member for the Pacific Island Litigation Skills programme since 2000.

Richard Raymond is a graduate of Otago University and was admitted in 1988. He joined Wellington firm Buddle Findlay before spending some time in London firm McKenna & Co. In 1993 he returned to Christchurch working at Raymond Donnelly and then Duncan Cotterill where he was made partner in 1998. He joined the independent bar in 2011. Mr Raymond specialises in insurance-based litigation and commercial and civil dispute resolution.

Victoria Casey is a graduate of Auckland University. She was admitted in 1988. Ms Casey initially joined Bell Gully Buddle Weir and worked in their Auckland and Wellington offices. Ms Casey joined Meredith Connell in 2002 before going to the independent bar in 2003 where she remained until her appointment as a Crown Counsel at Crown Law in 2008. In 2012 Ms Casey returned to the independent bar specialising in public law, commercial and commercial-regulatory litigation.

Una Jagose was appointed Solicitor-General in February 2016. She graduated LLB from Otago University and LLM (First Class Honours) from Victoria University. Admitted in 1990, Ms Jagose joined the then Ministry of Consumer Affairs before moving to the Ministry of Fisheries where she was appointed Chief Legal Advisor in 1999. Ms Jagose joined Crown Law in 2002 and was appointed Deputy Solicitor-General in 2012. She was appointed to the position of Acting Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau in 2015.

David Bigio graduated LLB and BCL (Second Class Honours) from McGill University in 1988. He joined Auckland firm Minter Ellison (previously known as Rudd Watts and Stone) before moving to Ellis Gould in 1992 becoming a partner in 1994. In 2003 Mr Bigio joined the independent bar. He specialises in general civil and commercial litigation, including real estate and property, building and construction, unit titles, trusts and governance.

Jane Anderson is a graduate of Canterbury (LLB Hons) and Oxford Universities (BCL First Class Honours). She was admitted in 1991 and joined Auckland firm Rudd Watts and Stone. Ms Anderson joined the independent bar in 1998 and joined Shortland Chambers in 2002. She has previously lectured on intellectual property at Auckland University. Ms Anderson has a broad practice with a focus on commercial litigation, particularly trusts, intellectual property, company law and securities.

Marc Corlett graduated LLB (Hons) and Mjur (Distn) from Auckland University and LLM from Cambridge University. He was admitted in 1992 and joined Simpson Grierson Butler White. In 1996 he joined Russell McVeagh where he continued to work in the area of commercial litigation. In 2002 Mr Corlett joined Meredith Connell as a prosecutor before returning to Russell McVeagh and commercial litigation in 2008. He joined the independent bar in 2010 where he specialises in commercial litigation, fraud and regulatory, and criminal law.

Vanessa Bruton is a graduate of Auckland University (LLB and M Com Law (First Class Honours)) and was admitted in 1995. Ms Bruton initially worked for Auckland firm Hesketh Henry before joining Brookfields in 1999, becoming a partner in the commercial litigation team in 2004. Ms Bruton was the founding partner of the TGT Legal litigation team from 2011 until 2014 when she joined the independent bar. Her areas of practice are trust, estate and relationship property disputes.

Appointments of Queen’s Counsel are made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Attorney-General and with the concurrence of the Chief Justice.

Law firm news

Intellectual property law firm James & Wells has signed on as a strategic partner to the New Zealand China Innovation Centre. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 16 May in Auckland during the Tripartite Economic Summit featuring representatives from Guangzhou and Los Angeles. James & Wells will provide on-the-ground help to businesses at the New Zealand China Innovation Centre, a not-for-profit business support centre being sponsored by Chinese incubator InnoHub. Johnathan Chen, Head of Division Asia for James & Wells, says the partnership is a natural fit and builds on the firm’s existing work helping New Zealanders prepare for doing business in China.

From law to ‘Elephant Stripes’

When law and languages student Francesca Logan met science student Jordan Abrahams as a dorm mate, she was unlikely to have predicted that a partnership was in store for the two.

Despite each of us applying for a single dorm, we discovered on arrival day that we had to share with a stranger, Francesca says.

“To make matters worse, our personalities are vastly different. Jordan, the hippy at heart, already had Buddhist prayer flags and quotes strung up around her room, while I had just returned from a year in France and had my room looking like a Parisian show room.”

The pair soon bonded, however, over a love of travel and “a desire to make a difference in the world” and over the next three years at Victoria University, they were inseparable.

Their positive roommate experiences and similar ambitions led them in time to the conclusion that they were a perfect match as business partners.

They have now launched an online start-up, Elephant Stripes, selling a range of colourful travel gear. The product range includes suitcases, duffel bags, folding bags, packing cells, and cosmetic cases – all with the “Elephant Stripes twist” – combining fashion and function.

Now they’re well on track with a Kickstarter campaign, where they are taking pre-orders of their travel packs to raise the money to manufacture them. The campaign raised over $20,000 in the first two weeks to 18 May, with backers from over 15 countries.

Francesca says the pair are keen to be part of the new generation of entrepreneurs who do well while doing good, “part of the global movement towards better more ethical business practices”.

In line with this they partnered with the Bali Children’s Project, a reputable, not-for-profit charity registered in the United States and Indonesia, offering a school bag to Indonesian children in need, for every bag sold during the Kickstarter campaign.

Jordan graduated first with a Bachelor of Science in 2013 and Francesca in 2015 with a double degree in law and languages.

First law student cohort at AUT South Campus

AUT’s first cohort of law students were welcomed to its South Campus in Manukau at a special breakfast on 13 May.

The breakfast brought together more than 25 first-year LLB students, AUT Law School staff and members of the judiciary and legal profession.

AUT Dean of Law Professor Charles Rickett says the introduction of the LLB pathway at the South Campus at the start of this year has attracted strong interest.

Russell McVeagh litigation partner Andrew Butler, and AUT law alumnus and Junior Crown Prosecutor in Manukau, Charlie Piho were guest speakers at the event.

Mr Butler commended AUT for introducing the law degree to its South Campus. “Increasing accessibility for people in the region is a great move,” he said.

He encouraged students to develop their own way of thinking about the world. “Ask yourself what you want to learn and what gets you out of bed in the morning.

“If you really get into it, the law will shape how you think about the world. Litigation forces you to think about and confront issues and helps you understand them,” Mr Butler said.

Mr Piho, a solicitor at Kayes Fletcher Walker Ltd, the office of the Manukau region’s first Crown solicitor, Natalie Walker, says having a place to study law in South Auckland is a huge win for the region.

Mr Piho – a member of the first cohort of AUT Law students who graduated in 2013 – advised the students to “just go for it and give it your all. Don’t just be part of this special law school, strive to be the part that makes it so special.”

New Zealand College of Law CEO Marcus Martin announced an annual law prize to the best performing first year LLB student at the AUT South Campus.

Otago Law Review celebrates 50th anniversary

The Otago Law Review (OLR) recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

In his address, Otago Law Dean Professor Mark Henaghan noted that the annual publication’s informative and well-written content had guaranteed enduring appeal.

Inaugural OLR General Editor Professor Don McRae said that, at the outset, detractors expressed doubts about a New Zealand law school’s ability to produce a quality publication, but a “we’ll show them” attitude prevailed.

Professor McRae paid tribute to Law School Dean Frank Guest and other 1960s faculty members, who created “a positive intellectual environment” from which the student-initiated OLR emerged.

The publication succeeded because it was a collaborative effort between faculty members, professionals and undergraduate and graduate students which enlivened debate about contemporary issues including strata titles, regulation, prohibition and sub-delegation, indecency and censorship.

Retired District Court Judge Fred McElrea, who is well-known in New Zealand and internationally for his work on restorative justice, contributed an article on law and philosophy for the first issue. Many of his subsequent experiences in practice confirmed the article’s basic premise; that studying philosophy complements law because it explores concepts of logic and ethics.

Current OLR editor Associate Professor Margaret Briggs said the efforts of previous contributors, OLR administrators and more than 20 editors had laid the foundation for the publication’s quality and longevity.

Content from domestic and international “town and gown” contributors on a broad range of topics meant the OLR consistently added to the critical appraisal of legal practice in New Zealand, and beyond, she said.

A number of distinguished guests, including retired Court of Appeal Judge Sir Bruce Robertson and many former Faculty members and contributors to early OLR issues, such as Emeritus Professor John Smillie and Ian Williams, also attended the event, as did Dunedin QCs Judith Ablett-Kerr, Royden Somerville and Trevor Shiels. They had contributed OLR articles based on their FW Guest Memorial Lectures in 1997, 2001 and 2004.

A gateway into legal study

Wellington has defeated Auckland to win the 2016 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Champs, in the Grand Final held at Parliament on 30 May.

The Wellington Gold team of Ben Stockton (Wellington College), Sam Penno (Hutt International Boys’ School) and Ursula Crawford (Wellington East Girls’) successfully affirmed the motion “that state housing should be built in high socio-economic areas”, winning in a 3-2 decision.

Wellington have won the tournament for four years in a row.

“It was a great debate on a really topical issue”, says Josh Baxter, the President of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council.

“Wellington narrowly won the debate by arguing that we needed greater social integration and cohesion between our communities, and the topic was a way of achieving that.

“For many school students, debating is a gateway into legal study. Aside from encouraging civic engagement and public discussion, debating promotes many of the skills used by lawyers daily, rewarding well-developed, logical argumentation, where it is presented in a clear and persuasive manner.

“It is no coincidence that many legal practitioners have participated in debating at some point during their time at school or university,” Mr Baxter says.

The final was the culmination of a weekend of debating between 36 secondary school students at Victoria University.

Teams from Wellington, Auckland, Canterbury, Otago-Southland, Hawke’s Bay, Northland, Central North Island, Waikato and Kahurangi-Marlborough took part in seven preliminary rounds of debates.

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