The growth of the New Zealand Bar continues apace with a regular career move for litigators and others to join a Chambers and the fruits of their endeavours.
Chambers like Shortland Chambers with over 30 barristers and ranks of assistants create ever-more viable options for litigators.
He has become a central voice in several major cases in recent years, in particular the Teina Pora case as well as handling Law Society work as convenor of the Criminal Law Committee. The Hawkes Bay barrister who has strong thespian and musical inclinations – he plays bass guitar in the baby boomer rock group The Rentals, as well as the trumpet and bagpipes and playing Dullboot in Badjelly the Witch, as well as acting in Les Miserables and other productions.
A friendly but determined lawyer who has a strong sense of justice, has helped propel his work for Pora and others, including his recent appearance for one of the Hawkes Bay police officers charged with assault.
He has prosecuted high profile cases including Jules Mikus and the Tukuafu Brothers, possibly the longest jury trial in New Zealand history, lasting 30 weeks.
Anne Stevens is a Dunedin barrister with a reputation as a feisty and tough opponent. Working as a criminal law specialist and with a focus on mental health law issues, the former Takaka hippy has developed an increasingly significant reputation for her abilities and client commitment.
Mrs Stevens helped start the Otago branch of the Howard League for Penal Reform in 2009, is still on the committee and has strong views on New Zealand’s propensity to lock people up.
Receiving some prominence for her high profile crime work, including commenting on the controversial sentencing of Nikolas Delegat in September, she continues to voice her views on criminal justice and related issues and will increasingly be a voice that is listened to.
Jonathan Temm QC
Jonathan Temm QC, the Rotorua-based former Law Society president and barrister continues his role as a figure of significance following his advancement of law society matters, his involvement in various pro bono works and general visibility as a figure of influence within the profession.
The son of the late Justice Paul Temm he has grown up as part of a strong legal family and sees his role as one to help influence lawyers and the law in a benevolent manner that characterises the likeable figure. Although his role as Law Society president finished in 2013 his leadership role and prominence as a leading barrister continue unabated.
Auckland QC Bruce Stewart has handled a range of high profile cases ranging from representing former Hanover co-owner Mark Hotchin in his fight for greater living expenses following court orders, to the prosecution to the Capital + Merchant Finance case that saw a brief attempt to hire his own QC to represent his interests.
He also acted in a major dispute involving so-called ‘Putin banker’ Sergei Pugachev as well as other heavyweight cases that have established him as one of the country’s leading litigators.
Michael Ring QC
As one of the country’s foremost insurance litigators, Michael Ring has been a busy man with the many and varied insurance issues that have beset the country in recent years. His low profile pubicly (we couldn’t even locate his picture) belies his influence and effectiveness as a leading advocate and expert in insurance law and dispute resolution.
His work in securities and commercial litigation, as well as in insurance cases surrounding the Christchurch earthquakes and media and defamation work are testament to his reputation and extensive abilities.
He has also acted in insolvency and in a relatively recent trademark dispute between Coca Cola and Pepsi, when he acted for the former.
Wellington’s Peter McKnight has long been one of the country’s leading defamation lawyers, but his major win in the lawsuit against Colin Craig this year has truly cemented his position as an advocate and expert not to be readily tangled with.
Nonetheless, Peter McKnight’s background as a leading media lawyer representing Fairfax’s interests while a partner at Izard Weston and his work since becoming a barrister sole has seen a hectic workload punctuated by equally resounding results.
Colin Carruthers QC
One of New Zealand’s most experienced barristers, Colin Carruthers QC has a raft of high profile defence and prosecutions in his CV. The junior to former Chief Justice Sir Thomas Eichelbaum when the two were at Chapman Tripp, Colin Carruther’s list of cases is as extensive as his Martinborough vinyard.
Handling the prosecution of the South Canterbury Finance directors, to representing Sir Ngatata Love in his fraud trial, Colin Carruther’s legal repetoire is extensive and impressive.
Stuart Grieve QC
A long-time leader at the criminal bar, Stuart Grieve has handled some of the most significant criminal cases in recent years, as well as acting for Pike River’s Peter Withall, securing compensation for David Doherty and continuing his specialty in white collar crime and fraud, as well as parole board hearings and serious crime.
Highly respected after half a century of law practice, he was also involved in the Dotcom case when required to verify whether documents obtained by the GCSB should be publicly released.
Robert Lithgow QC
Adopting something of an enfant terrible persona, the Wellington-based QC is frequently used as a media source for some of the more vexed and difficult results that emerge from the justice system. He famously described the Court of Appeal as a ‘complete waste of time’ when interviewed over miscarriages of justice in 2006.
His ability to interpret the law and comment often controversially on decisions that may appear vexed to many has made him something of a refreshing change from the usually more predictable ‘steady-as-she-goes’ legal commentators.
In 2015 he also criticised the lack of transparency and other factors surrounding the appointment of QCs, saying in a Law Society article that the Crown Law Office, NZLS and NZBA should “apologise to the very many unsuccessful candidates”. He says their application fees should be returned.
“The disappointed candidates cannot say these things publicly. “I can, so I do.”