New Zealand Law Society - Our Profession, Our People

Our Profession, Our People

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Paul Rishworth QC will chair the Government's new Legislation Design and Advisory Committee. The establishment of the committee was announced by the Attorney-General, Christopher Finlayson on 29 June. "The new committee is similar to the former Legislation Advisory Committee but will provide advice to government agencies about the design and content of bills earlier on in their development," Mr Finlayson says. The committee is expected to be consulted on up to 25 bills each year. The committee also takes on responsibility for the 2014 revised Legislation Advisory Committee Guidelines on Process and Content of Legislation and the related website.

The current Parliamentary Counsel, David Noble, has been reappointed until 6 May 2016, the Attorney-General, Christopher Findlayson, announced on 25 June. Mr Noble has been Chief Parliamentary Counsel since November 2007 after several years' experience in the United Kingdom Civil Service (including five years on secondment to the European Commission in Brussels, spent drafting directives and enforcing the European Union acquis). Before this, Mr Noble practised as a barrister specialising in parliamentary, local government and planning law in the Inner Temple in London and taught and researched public law at Warwick University and University College, London. He returned to the Parliamentary Counsel Office in June 2013 after a 22-month secondment to the UK Cabinet Office where he led legal teams delivering the government's constitutional reform, national security, public procurement, health and safety and equalities legal advice and legislation. Mr Noble is also the PCO's Chief Executive.

Dunedin lawyer Kathy Grant has been appointed Commissioner of the Southern District Health Board (DHB). Health Minister Jonathan Coleman appointed Ms Grant as Commissioner after he wrote to all the Southern DHB board members dismissing them. Mrs Grant currently works as a consultant at Gallaway Cook Allan. She holds several current directorships including Chair of the Otago Polytechnic Council (appointed 2010), a trustee of Sport Otago (appointed 2007), and a director of Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (appointed 2012), Dunedin City Treasury Ltd (appointed 2013), and Dunedin International Airport Ltd (appointed 2008). She was also a member of the Anglican Family Care Board (2009-2013). Mrs Grant has been on the Board of Trustees for several schools and colleges, and is a previous member of the University of Otago Council (2007-2010). She was also previously Chair of the Dunedin College of Education Council (2001-2006).

Queenstown barrister Jane Taylor has been appointed chair of Landcare Research, one of the Crown Research Institutes. As well as being a lawyer, Ms Taylor is a Chartered Accountant. Her governance experience includes being on the boards of Silver Fern Farms, Radio New Zealand Ltd and HGL New Zealand Ltd.

Robert Hu, principal of Hong Hu Lawyers, has been made a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Notaries. Professor Hu was also recently appointed as Law Professor at Jianghan University in Wuhan, China. This is his second professorship appointment after he became Guest Law Professor at Hebei University of Science and Technology (HEBUST) in Shijiazhuang, China last year. Professor Hu also established the "Australia-New Zealand Legal Research Centre" at HEBUST in January 2015, which endeavours to be at the forefront of comparative legal research between Chinese mainland civil law and Australian/ New Zealand common law systems.

Paul Pang, litigation solicitor at Hong Hu Lawyers, recently completed a secondment as a Guest Lecturer at Hebei University of Science and Technology in Shijiazhuang, China. He lectured at the School of Humanities and Law on the subject of "An Introduction to the Common Law of Contract: Australia/ New Zealand/ England and Wales" as a two-week intensive course. The undergraduate elective was taught bilingually in Mandarin and English.​

Law firm news

Tauranga law firm, Employment & Environment Law, has changed its name to Employment Lawyers and is now specialising exclusively in employment law. This change reflects the primary focus for the firm since it was established 10 years ago, and has been driven by increasing client demand in the employment area. Employment Lawyers acts for clients throughout New Zealand.

Human rights contest

Entries are open for the 2016 International Human Rights competition for lawyers.

Those wishing to enter the event will need to prepare a speech for the defence in a human rights case by Wednesday 11 November.

The final of the competition will be held at the Mémorial of Caen, France, on 31 January 2016. Ten lawyers from the five continents will present and defend a real individual case in which the violation of human rights were observed.

A jury of outstanding personalities – all committed to defending human rights worldwide – will award prizes to the best speeches, judged both on the strength of the arguments presented and on the oratory talent.


Standout award for law firm

Standout Award winners
DAC volunteers Andrew McIntyre and Amelia Goodall, Wellington's Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and two of the Porirua College students, Umme Hussein and Zain Ali, at the awards ceremony.

DAC Beachcroft has won the Standout Project Award in the 2015 Volunteer Wellington Awards, which were presented on 25 June.

The law firm took out the award for its engaging "Trip to the City" project that saw two groups of Porirua College students hosted on whirlwind tours of Wellington city's highlights.

The trips took place on 27 and 28 November 2014, and each trip was joined by eight students, one teacher and DAC Beachcroft volunteers.

The trip included visits to the botanical gardens, Parliament, Mt Victoria lookout, the dinosaur exhibition at Te Papa and the Museum of City and Sea. The tours finished up with a visit to DAC's office and an opportunity to find out more about the firm's work and careers in law.

For most of the students, the trip to Wellington city was a first. For the students, the trip was a reward for the karma points scheme that Porirua College runs.

Four Fulbright law students

Four New Zealand law students were among the 84 new Fulbright Scholars and Grantees announced on 22 June.

Kingi Snelgar has been awarded the Fulbright-Ngā Pae ot Te Māramatanga Graduate Award. This award is for a promising New Zealand graduate student to undertake postgraduate study or research in the United States in a field of indigenous development.

From Whangarei, Mr Snelgar will complete an LLM specialising in criminal justice issues and indigenous law at Harvard University in Boston. Mr Snelgar graduated with a BA/LLB (Hons) from Auckland University in 2011.

Helen Churchman, Kiri Toki and Rebecca Thomson have received Fulbright New Zealand General Graduate Awards.

From Wellington, Ms Churchman will complete an LLM in International Legal Studies at New York University.

Ms Churchman graduated with a BA in European Studies and an LLB (Hons) in 2012 from Otago University. She also obtained a Diploma in European and International Law at Paris West University La Défense in 2009.

From Great Barrier Island, Ms Toki will complete an LLM specialising in commercial and indigenous legal issues at Harvard University in Boston.

Ms Toki graduated with a BA and an LLB (Hons) degree from Auckland University in 2011.

From Dunedin, Ms Thomson will complete an LLM at Columbia University in New York, specialising in criminal and public law.

Ms Thomson graduated with a BA (Hons) in Political Studies and Philosophy and an LLB (Hons) from Otago University in 2010.

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