The Power List features 12 barristers, lead by David Goddard QC and including some of the major names in the law. Senior silks like Jim Farmer, David Williams and Robert Fisher have been at the forefront of the profession for many years.
However, the changing nature of the bar also sees others who are nudging the List, including the following senior barristers –
Jonathan Eaton QC, the leading Christchurch-based barrister sat on the list last year and has been outed temporarily through pressure from fellow contenders.
The barrister who recently defended a babysitter on a manslaughter charge
has represented defendants on some of the highest profile criminal defence cases such as the South Canterbury Finance prosecution and the George Gwaze manslaughter cases.
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, the subject of an appeal at the Court of Appeal in November, 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.
Former Chapman Tripp senior litigator Jack Hodder completed the defence of the Crown in the PSA class action case brought by the LPF-funded group in late 2017. Hodder has continued to build his appellate and trial repetoire with a range of top draw clients from the Crown to Fonterra in the case brought by Dairy Farmers under the Dairy Industry Restructing Act, to the iwi fight brought by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei seeking another chance to stop land in central Auckland from being offered to neighbouring tribe Ngāti Paoa.
Rising Star – Greg Arthur
A rising litigation star Greg Arthur is one of the leading IP litigators involved in many significant intellectual property cases before the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court and before the Commissioners of Patents, Trade Marks, Registered Designs and Plant Variety Rights.
His most prominent recent role has been in the unsuccessful defence of the National Party in their fight against the copyright owners of the Eminem rap theme ‘Lose Yourself’, used in the 2017 election campaign (which has been appealed). But Greg Arthur is not a loser and his own star continues to shine brightly.
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.”
The Top Power List Barristers –