Rule of Law Work
Mai has authored a number of major reports and articles on the Rule of Law. In particular, Mai has focused on culturally and linguistically diverse litigants and their interaction with the legal system.
Mai’s Rule of Law work includes “Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Parties in Australian courts – Insights from New Zealand” an Issue Paper co-authored by Andrew Godwin, set to launch on 12 September 2022. Further to this recent work, Mai co-authored an article with David Goddard J titled, “Putting a Social and Cultural Framework on the Evidence Act: Recent New Zealand Supreme Court Guidance” that was published on 2 November 2022.
Mai’s Rule of Law work, as the President of New Zealand Asian Lawyers, most recently includes devising and leading a series of wānanga on “Tikanga and the Law” for the reasons below:
New Zealand Asian Lawyers is hosting a wānanga on “Tikanga and the Law” with the support of the Ngā Ahorangi Motuhake o te Ture / New Zealand Bar Association. The reason is because of the importance of the issue – especially as the place of tikanga in the law of New Zealand has been reinforced by recent Supreme Court decisions including Ellis v R  NZSC 114 and Wairarapa Moana Ki Pouākani Incorporation v Mercury NZ Limited and The Waitangi Tribunal and Ors  NZSC 142.
In Ellis, “[t]he [Supreme] Court is unanimous that Tikanga has been and will continue to be recognised in the development of the common law of Aotearoa/New Zealand in cases where it is relevant. It also forms part of New Zealand law as a result of being incorporated into statutes and regulations. It may be relevant consideration in the exercise of discretions and it is incorporated in policies and processes of public bodies.” (paragraph 19)
For many of us, our understanding of tikanga Māori, te reo Māori and Te Tiriti o Waitangi, is limited. Some of us are migrants and are learning all of this anew. For all those practising within Aotearoa New Zealand, it is critical that we expand our understanding of tikanga to recognise when it is relevant in the cases we are arguing, and to respect and acknowledge tikanga when doing so.
Other works include:
Susan Glazebrook J & Mai Chen “Tikanga and Culture in the Supreme Court: Ellis and Deng” Amicus Curiae Journal Vol 4, No. 2 (2023): Series 2, published on 6 March 2023.
David Goddard J & Mai Chen “Article: Putting a Social and Cultural Framework on the Evidence Act” Amicus Curiae Journal Vol. 4 No. 1 (2022): Series 2, published on 2 November 2022.
Mai Chen & Andrew Godwin “Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Parties in Australian courts – Insights from New Zealand” (2022) Issue Paper, to be launched on 12 September 2022.
David Goddard J & Mai Chen “Putting a Social and Cultural Framework on the Evidence Act: Recent New Zealand Supreme Court Guidance” (2022). Presentations to a seminar on the Supreme Court decision in Deng v Zheng  NZSC 76.
“Cultural Capability and Business Success Report: 5 top business leaders making cultural capability a cornerstone of their success” (Superdiversity Institute of Law, Policy and Business, 2022)
“Culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse parties in the Courts: a Chinese case study” (Superdiversity Institute of Law, Policy and Business, 2019)
“Latest cases on CALD parties in litigation and lessons from the Court of Appeal in Zheng”, (April 2021) Employment Law Bulletin
“CALD parties before the Employment Relations Authority”, LawTalk, Issue 939, May 2020
“Judicial leadership on equal access to justice for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Parties in Courts”, LawTalk, Issue 938, April 2020
“Unique issues and challenges faced by culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse parties in court”  New Zealand Law Journal 393
“Lawyers need to do more to ensure CALD clients get equal access to justice in courts”, LawTalk, Issue 935, December 2020
Pro bono work:
Chair, Superdiversity Institute
President, NZ Asian Lawyers
Patron, NZ Asian Leaders
Former inaugural Chair, Global Women
Assisting Lawyers for Climate Action get a right to a sustainable environment enacted