Queen’s Counsel appointed

  • Christopher Finlayson
Attorney-General

The Attorney-General, the Hon Christopher Finlayson, announced today the appointments of 26 Queen’s Counsel.

This is the first appointment round of Queen’s Counsel since 2007 following changes to the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act earlier this year restoring the title of Queen’s Counsel and restricting appointments to barristers sole. Two of the newly appointed Queen’s Counsel, John Pike of Wellington and Peter Watts of Auckland are appointed under the Royal prerogative in recognition of their extraordinary contribution to the law. Seven Senior Counsel were appointed in 2008 under the then Lawyers and Conveyancers Act.

The newly appointed Silks are:

Auckland - Neil Campbell, David Chisholm, Gillian Coumbe, Paul Dacre, Kate Davenport, Matthew Dunning, Clive Elliott, Nathan Gedye, Simon Jefferson, Frances Joychild, Graham Kohler, Christine Meechan, Daniel McLellan, Matthew Muir, Philip Skelton and Peter Watts

Christchurch - Jonathan Eaton and Philip Hall

Dunedin - Trevor Shiels

Napier - Russell Fairbrother

Wellington - Peter Churchman, Richard Fowler, John Pike, Justin Smith, Terence Stapleton and Leslie Taylor
 

Appendix

  • Christine Meechan is a graduate of Canterbury University. She joined the then Auckland firm of Heaney, Jones and Mason before joining Bell Gully Buddle Weir, becoming a partner in that firm in 1995. She joined Bankside Chambers in 2008 and specialises in the areas of insurance, construction and general commercial litigation
  • Clive Elliott graduated LLB from the University of Natal, Durban before completing an LLM (Hons) at Victoria University of Wellington. On moving to New Zealand in 1983 he joined Auckland firm Baldwins as a partner leaving in 2000 to join the independent bar. Mr Elliott specialises in intellectual property law including employment as well as general commercial work and arbitration.
  • Daniel McLellan is a graduate of Canterbury University. He joined the firm Heaney Jones/Jones Fee in 1987 becoming a litigation partner in 1993. Mr McLellan joined the independent bar in 2004 where he specialises in media law, insurance and other commercial litigation.
  • David Chisholm graduated LLB from the University of Auckland and LLM from Queen Mary College in London. He worked overseas and in a number of Auckland firms including Phillips Fox, as a litigation partner, before becoming a barrister sole in 2001. He is a general commercial litigator specialising in corporate insolvency, intellectual property and commercial disputes.
  • Frances Joychild is an LLM (Hons) graduate who has been at the independent bar for 12 years. She joined the Human Rights Commission in 1981 and was appointed a Law Commissioner for three years, returning to the independent bar in 2006. She is a specialist in general civil litigation and civil appellate work especially in the areas of human rights and public law litigation.
  • Gillian Coumbe graduated from the University of Auckland initially joining Auckland firm Russell McVeagh McKenzie Bartleet & Co before joining the independent bar in 2001. Ms Coumbe practices as a civil and commercial litigator particularly in the fields of public law, competition law, equity and trusts, regulated industries and animal welfare.
  • Graham Kohler graduated LLM from the University of Auckland and worked at a number of Auckland firms before joining the independent bar in 1987. He practices as a commercial litigator specialising in contract disputes, construction matters, defamation, land law and leases, estates and judicial review.
  • John Pike graduated LLM (Hons) from the University of Canterbury commencing his career at the Department of Justice as Legal Adviser. He joined the Crown Law Office in 1987 as Crown Counsel and was appointed Deputy Solicitor-General in 2006 and General Counsel in 2007. Mr Pike has appeared for the Crown in over 1500 Court of Appeal cases and has appeared before the Privy Council 18 times.
  • Jonathan Eaton is a graduate of Canterbury University. Initially joining the Christchurch firm Cunningham Taylor before travelling overseas. Mr Eaton joined the independent bar in 1998 and established Bridgeside Chambers in 2006. His specialist area of expertise is criminal law and evidence and he is a member of the NZ Armed Forces Courts Martial Panel.
  • Justin Smith graduated from the University of Canterbury joining Christchurch firm Lane Neave and Co before moving to Luke Cunningham & Clere in Wellington. He has been a partner in the firms Kensington Swan and Russell McVeagh and joined the independent bar in 2007. Mr Smith is a general commercial litigator particularly in the areas of securities, energy, judicial review, Fair Trading, Commerce Act and resource management.
  • Kate Davenport has an LLM from the University of Auckland. She worked in several Auckland firms and in London before joining the independent bar in 1990. Ms Davenport practices as a civil litigator specialising in disputes between private clients, contract, trust and tort litigation as well as property relationships and Family Protection Act matters. She is a member of a number of Disciplinary Tribunals and Review Boards.
  • Les Taylor is a graduate of the University of Canterbury. He joined Wellington firm Bell Gully before becoming a barrister sole in 1999. In 2002 he joined Minter Ellison Rudd Watts as a litigation partner returning to the bar in 2007. Mr Taylor specialises in commercial litigation particularly insurance law and practice.
  • Matthew Dunning is a graduate of the Universities of Auckland (LLB) and Oxford (BCL) and began his career as a judge’s clerk. He joined Russell McVeagh in 1986 becoming a partner in that firm in 1990 before joining the independent bar in 2004. Mr Dunning is a general commercial litigator specialising in competition law.
  • Matthew Muir is a graduate of the Universities of Auckland (LLB (Hons) and Virginia (LLM). He first joined Auckland firm Holmden Horrocks, becoming a partner in 1985 and spent six years as a partner at Buddle Findlay. He joined the independent bar in 1995 and practices in the areas of banking and commercial law.
  • Nathan Gedye graduated from the University of Auckland and began his career working in a number of Auckland firms before joining Bell Gully where he remained for 18 years, 16 of those as a partner. He joined the independent bar in 2004 where he specialises in commercial litigation and criminal law relating to finance companies.
  • Neil Campbell graduated LLB from the University of Auckland and LLM from Cambridge University. He joined the Auckland firm of Bell Gully Buddle Weir before spending some time in the academic world both in New Zealand and overseas. He joined the independent bar in 1998 and is a general civil litigator specialising in contract, property, company and trust disputes.
  • Paul Dacre graduated from Auckland University joining Wellington firm Rainer Collins Armour & Boock before moving to Auckland where he spent eight years at Meredith Connell as a Crown Prosecutor. He has practiced as a barrister sole since 1988 and has been Pitcairn Island Public Defender since 1992. Mr Dacre specialises in criminal law.
  • Peter Churchman is a graduate of the Universities of Otago (LLB (Hons) and Pennsylvania (LLM). He began his career at Invercargill firm French Sons Burt & Co and spent a number of years as a part time law lecturer at the University of Otago before joining Kensington Swan as a partner in 2000. Mr Churchman joined the independent bar in 2005 and specialises in employment law.
  • Peter Watts is an Auckland Barrister and professor of Law at Auckland University. He is one of New Zealand's leading academic lawyers, with broad expertise in commercial law, particularly in agency law, company law, equity, the law of restitution, and insolvency law. Mr Watts is the General Editor of Bowstead & Reynolds on Agency (19th ed, Sweet & Maxwell, 2010), the leading Commonwealth text in its field. He has written for many of the Commonwealth's leading law journals and his articles have been cited by judges in the House of Lords, High Court of Australia, Supreme Court of New Zealand, Court of Appeal of England and Wales, and many other Commonwealth courts.

    Professor Watts has advised the New Zealand Law Commission and the Law Commission of England and Wales on a number of private law and commercial law projects.

  • Philip Hall graduated from Canterbury University joining the then Christchurch firm of McClelland Wood Mackay & McVeigh where he became a partner in 1974. He joined the independent bar in 1998 specialising in the areas of criminal law, defamation, relationship property, Tribunals and coronial inquests. Mr Hall is Judge of the Court Martial of New Zealand.
  • Philip Skelton is a graduate of the Universities of Auckland (LLB) and Oxford (BCL). He worked for Auckland firm Russell McVeagh for 23 years except for a period spent overseas studying and working. Mr Skelton joined the independent bar in 2006 and practices in the fields of employment law and civil litigation.
  • Richard Fowler graduated LLB (Hons) and commenced his career with JW Damer in Wellington. He joined Phillips Fox in 1979 becoming a partner in 1982. He joined the independent bar in 2011 and has a civil litigation practice specialising in local government, defamation, trust and estates. Mr Fowler also acts as chair of Special Tribunals on appointment by the Minister for the Environment.
  • Russell Fairbrother joined the then firm of Luckie Hain Kennard and Slater after graduating. He worked for 18 years as a sole practitioner in Napier before joining the independent bar in 1998. From 2002 until 2008 he was a Member of Parliament. Mr Fairbrother specialises in criminal law and Maori customary rights.
  • Simon Jefferson graduated from the University of Auckland spending a number of years working overseas before returning in 1981 and joining the firm Wood Ruck Gibbs & Co. He then joined Shieff Angland Lawyers where he spent 24 years, 21 of those as a partner. Mr Jefferson joined the independent bar in 2006 and is a family law specialist.
  • Terence Stapleton is a graduate of the University of Canterbury initially joining Christchurch firm Kerr Mackintosh & Co. He then joined Gisborne firm Nolan & Skeet where he was a litigation partner and the Gisborne Crown Solicitor. He worked in Wellington firms Brandon Brookfield and Simpson Grierson as a litigation partner before founding Stapleton Stevens in 1994. Mr Stapleton joined the independent bar in 2000 and specialises in advocacy, litigation and dispute resolution.
  • Trevor Shiels graduated from the University of Otago and began his career at the firm Paterson Lang where he spent 17 years, 13 as partner. He became a barrister sole in 1992 and has a general, mainly civil and tribunal, practice with some criminal law.