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One of New Zealand’s top constitutional lawyers, Mai Chen, is hoping to inspire future leaders in Dunedin with a new prize.

Former Otago Girls’ High School head girl, dux and all-round top pupil, Ms Chen announced the establishment of a prize named after her for “transformational leadership”, at an assembly at the school yesterday.

The prize valued at $2000 per year for an initial period of five years would be awarded to a pupil who “demonstrated exceptional potential to effect positive change in society”. Ms Chen spoke to pupils through a Zoom call from the High Court at Auckland 15 minutes before presenting a closing case for a foreshore and seabed trial.

She encouraged them to pursue ideas they thought could change the world where they saw it needed to change.

“Things that are wrong will always be wrong because no-one does anything to change it,” she said.

She said she would be contributing her time as well as her money to the prize by being involved in selecting who the prize was awarded to.

“I want you to know that anyone can provide transformational leadership,” she told the pupils.

Ms Chen said she was not particularly brilliant, good looking or talented, but she worked really hard because she knew she had to.

The prize would provide pupils a platform so people would value what the winner had to say, she said. The Mai Chen Prize for Transformational Leadership will be awarded at the school’s prize giving at the end of each year.

WATCH – Cultural Expertise in New Zealand

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJimE3NeiW4

In this insightful EURO-EXPERT video, Mai Chen explores the increasing need for cultural experts in New Zealand courts. The unique demographic landscape of New Zealand, marked by a substantial Maori population and increasing super diversity, underscores the necessity for legal professionals to seek assistance from cultural experts.

Mai references two pivotal cases, Ellis and Dingan Zing, to illustrate the escalating demand for cultural experts in New Zealand. The majority acceptance in the Supreme Court that Maori customs and practices (Tikanga) constitute the first law of New Zealand is highlighted, emphasizing the need for cultural expertise to assist lawyers and judges. Mai Chen discusses the challenges and nuances of incorporating Tikanga into the legal framework, emphasizing its relevance to ensuring equal access to justice. The presentation concludes by stressing the crucial role of cultural experts in adapting the common law to new circumstances and maintaining constitutional legitimacy in an era of expanding Indigenous and diverse populations.

WATCH – Mai Chen awarded Honorary of Laws

http://Graduation Ceremony | 16 December 2023 | 1pm (youtube.com)

On 16 December 2023, constitutional law expert and barrister Mai Chen attended the University of Otago graduation ceremony where she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws (Hon LLD).

Honorary Doctorates are awarded as a formal recognition of the recipient’s outstanding contribution to their field. Mai received this award as an acknowledgement of her service to the law, most notably in the practice of Public Law and her contribution to diversity in the legal profession. 

The ‘Most Influential’ Mai Chen receives Otago honour

For one of New Zealand’s leading legal minds, returning to her alma mater to receive an honorary doctorate feels like crossing a finish line. 

Constitutional and administrative law expert Mai Chen is set to cross the graduation stage once again next month when the University of Otago awards her with an Honorary Doctor of Laws (Hon LLD ) for her services to Law, particularly to the practice of Public Law and to the legal profession, and to the diversity of the profession.

As a preeminent lawyer referenced by generations of New Zealand law students, Ms Chen’s stellar career reads as an astonishing list of achievements and accolades that just keeps growing.

In addition to being named a Most Influential Lawyer 2022, Ms Chen was placed on the Global Diversity List Top 50 Diversity Figures in Public Life, in the Global Diversity List 2016 (affiliated with the Global Diversity Awards, supported by The Economist), and was twice a top 10 finalist for New Zealander of the Year.

Being told she would receive an Otago award was something special, she says.

“I felt like I had crossed a finish line, and it made me happy.”

Having emigrated to New Zealand in 1970 at six-and-a-half years old, she found herself part of the second Taiwanese family in the South Island. She is now chair of the Superdiversity Institute of Law, Policy and Business, and president of New Zealand Asian Lawyers and NZ Asian Leaders, all of which she founded.

“My graduation speech, which I will give in December, is all about making your unique contribution regardless of recognition or payment.

“I have done that all my life, but this recognition feels great.”

Earlier in her career, she had regretted not taking up an offer to complete a doctorate of laws through Havard Law School after winning a prize for her Master of Laws thesis, but receiving an Hon LLD from Otago where her legal journey began means any regret has disappeared.

“The honorary doctorate means more to me because it is being conferred by the University of Otago. I have great respect for this University and the Faculty of Law.”

Ms Chen’s career started when she graduated Otago with a first-class LLB (Hons) in 1986, finishing top equal in her year. During her time at Otago she also tutored and taught as an assistant lecturer before being awarded a Frank Knox fully-funded scholarship to continue her studies for a Master of Laws at Harvard Law School.

Reflecting upon her pathway, Ms Chen says starting her career as a tutor and assistant lecturer at Otago University was great.

“I loved the Faculty and the lecturers. So many great scholars, interesting personalities and very diferent approaches to thinking about the law. I have never stopped teaching as that is what I do every day with clients and when I appear in Court.”

After winning the Irving Oberman prize for the best Human Rights LLM thesis at Harvard Law School, Ms Chen began an internship at the International Labour Organization in Geneva on a Harvard Human Rights Scholarship, and then become the youngest senior lecturer in law in New Zealand at that time at Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Law.

In 1994, she established Australasia’s public law specialist firm with former Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer KC . Chen Palmer was also one of NZ ’s first boutique specialist law firms.

Co-founding this public law specialist firm in partnership with Sir Geoffrey was a leap of faith considering the lack of boutique law firms in New Zealand at the time.

Under her leadership, Chen Palmer’s achievements include winning Best Boutique Law Firm in 2010 and Best Public Law Firm at the New Zealand Law Awards from 2007 to 2011.

Throughout her longstanding career, Ms Chen has handled cases involving the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and Treaty of Waitangi issues, as well as education, employment and regulatory law, and white-collar fraud.

The teaching skills Ms Chen picked up at Otago have also been useful at the University of Auckland, where she was an Adjunct Professor at both the Business School and the Law School and helpful in her governance and regulatory roles on a number of boards, having served on the NZ Securities Commission for two terms and seven years as a director on the Bank of New Zealand Board and the Chair of People and Remuneration Committee.

In addition to running a law firm, Ms Chen is a prolific writer within the legal field, assisted by the legal writing and research skills she learned at the Otago Law Faculty. Ms Chen has published prolifically in public law, Te Tiriti o WaitangiMMP , and on diversity. She has trailblazed by publishing on the impact of superdiversity on courts, law and policy.

She penned New Zealand’s first practice book on public law, which aims to help the public understand how the Government system works. She says that writing Public Law Toolbox was particularly important for her personally, as it provides access to information that might usually be seen as “the preserve of the elite, or for privileged insiders only”.

She has produced a number of influential reports in New Zealand public law including Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Parties in the Courts (CALD in Courts) which has been quoted by the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. She also appeared in the seminal case of Deng v Zheng [2022] NZSC 76, where the Supreme Court issued seminal guidance on evidential issues concerning culturally and linguistically diverse parties.

In recent decades, Ms Chen has dedicated a large portion of her time to planting seeds that ensure the future of New Zealand’s justice and legal systems are inclusive and accomodating to our super-diverse-community.

Otago’s Acting Vice-Chancellor Richard Blaikie says the conferment of Ms Chen’s honorary doctorate is timely in the wake of the 150th anniversary of Otago’s Faculty of Law this year, and adds to the many ‘firsts’ that have come from Otago.

“We are incredibly proud of the achievements of Mai Chen and the important contributions she has made to the Law in New Zealand and around the world,” he says.

“We are delighted that she has been able to accept her honorary degree in person at one of our main graduation ceremonies where she will share her reflections on her stellar career with our newest graduates.”

Otago’s Dean of Law Shelley Griffths says Ms Chen has made a unique contribution to Law in New Zealand.

“Her drive, her commitment to excellence and to others, and her passion for the Law and its practice represents the very best of an Otago Law graduate.”

Mai Chen image

1News: ‘The law has not changed’- expert on potential legislative changes 

Barrister and constitutional law expert Mai Chen has raised questions over the speed in which the new government will be able to roll back some of Labour’s legislation. 

“National’s promised a lot and I don’t doubt that they will want to get on and get it done, but the reality is, at the rate we’re going it may not be until the end of November when the government is formed.”

Currently, parliament is dissolved and won’t reconvene until incoming prime minister Christopher Luxon can show the Governor General he has the confidence to form a government.

National and ACT hold a slim majority, but there are around half a million special votes yet to be counted.

Chen told 1News she has heard people saying that due to the change of government they would no longer need to engage in some of the changes Labour had introduced while in power.

“National has promised a very significant first 100 days agenda, so expectations are high in the community.

“It’s already happening, clients of mine are saying ‘oh its alright now, National’s come in, I’m not doing fair pay agreements’.”

National’s 100 Day Action plan includes 41 first-moves, in the areas of law and order, health, education, housing, infrastructure and the economy.

Some of those plans are to:

• Stop all work on Labour’s Jobs Tax (Income Insurance Scheme).

• Introduce legislation to restore 90-day trial periods for all businesses.

• Repeal Labour’s ‘Fair Pay’ legislation

Chen said given there’s been such a large amount of law reform promised it needs to “be clear that the law has not changed”.

‘We have to continue to comply with the law as it is’ 

She also pointed out that Christmas won’t be far away along with the summer break for politicians, and parliament doesn’t usually meet again until the second week of February.

“This may result in a two or three month delay until we can get some substantive action in Parliament.”

“And until that happens, we have to continue to comply with the law as it is, regardless of what is on the first 100 day agenda for National.”

Chen said the incoming prime minister will have to be careful in the way he speaks and manages expectations, otherwise there is a risk people “stop complying with the law”.

“You can’t make a repeal of law by press statement, it has to go through parliament.”

“Until parliament repeals legislation, it remains the law, and you are required to do it.”

National’s workplace relations and safety spokesperson Paul Goldsmith said: “National is committed to repealing the Fair Pay Agreements legislation and will initiate that process as soon as we are in a position to do so. We will have more to say after that process has begun.”

Richard Wagstaff of the Council of Trade Unions said it expected employers to honour obligations and commitments to continue with fair pay agreements. 

“Employers dragging their feet on FPAs has been a concern throughout, and is consistent with their constant opposition to industry bargaining throughout the development and implementation of the FPA law.”

It was negotiating a fair pay agreement with bus drivers, and other unions were preparing for negotiations in industries like security, cleaning, hospitality and supermarkets. 

WATCH: Constitutional Lawyer Mai Chen predicts ‘prolonged period’ before new Govt formed | Newshub Nation 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXAQQSPEYTs 

 

Mai Chen Newshub Appearance: 12 October 2023

Election: Fears NZers won’t know who’s leading country until Christmas – why this expert isn’t worried

As the final day to cast a vote in this year’s election nears, there are fears Kiwis won’t know who is in charge of the country until Christmas.

There have been murmurs of a potential hung Parliament on the cards, but one law expert is relaxed New Zealand will have its government by December 21. 

Recent polls have suggested neither Labour nor National have enough seats to form a government with their usual coalition partners. It puts New Zealand First in a kingmaker position with the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll putting Winston Peters’ party at 6.8 percent.

Labour leader Chris Hipkins has ruled out working with NZ First, while National reluctantly said they will pick up the phone to Peters if they need to. But ACT leader David Seymour, National’s likely coalition partner, said he does not want to work with New Zealand First.

Earlier this week, National’s campaign chair Chris Bishop dropped a bomb – raising the prospect of a second election.

“That chance is a real one and growing,” Bishop told the NZ Herald.

“The second scenario is when there is essentially a hung Parliament and NZ First is in the middle, but it is just impossible to do a deal between National, Act and NZ First. That is a very real and growing possibility and that would necessitate, essentially, a second election.”

If no parties can form a majority and have the support to win a confidence vote, then another election would be needed. However, parties could engage in more creative arrangements with smaller parties to get across the line, but this could take time.

However, constitutional law expert and barrister Mai Chen told AM she is feeling “extremely calm” because we have a “sound” constitutional system that caters for all of these issues.

She said the parties have until December 21 to form a government. 

On average, Chen said it generally takes five weeks for a government to be established, but once it took nine weeks and another time it was done in two weeks.

She explained if there is no clear result on election night there would be a caretaker government – so Hipkins would continue with his current Government.

“They need to keep the ship of state on course, it can’t be off course. They can’t make any major decisions. If there’s a crisis they should consult all sides but the reality is that is the role of the Governor General,” Chen told AM co-host Ryan Bridge.

During a case when both parties don’t get an outright majority, they will go to Governor-General of New Zealand Dame Cindy Kiro who will see where the confidence of the House lies so a government can be appointed.

“She is the referee or the umpire, neutral when the constitutional chips are done,” Chen said.

Chen said there are all sorts of possibilities come this election but has one important point for politicians.

“If politicians think that we’re going to another election, they should think very hard about why we’ve never been in this situation,” Chen said.

“I don’t think any elector will thank them, but I think they will punish them.”

#MaiChen #NewsHub

Business Today recognises Mai Chen as one the “Top 10 Most Influential Public Law Attorneys in New Zealand 2023”

Mai Chen was recently named one of the top 10 Public Lawyers in New Zealand in 2023 by Business Today. Business Today wrote that “Mai Chen is recognized for her expertise in constitutional and administrative law” and that she is “experienced in handling judicial reviews and lobbying matters”.


Joint NZ Asian Lawyers and New Zealand Law Society Seminar

We are delighted to announce that NZ Asian Lawyers is co-hosting a seminar with the New Zealand Law Society on Asian parties in courts and how to work with Asian clients.

This seminar will discuss the following topics with top experts:
– Asian law firms servicing Asian clients and instructing barristers.
– Implications and issues with the increasing number of Asian parties in the courts.
– The impact of tikanga on legal issues between and with Asian parties including in the courts. 
– Adducing expert evidence and advice from those who have been expert witnesses. 
– How to successfully use translators and interpreters for legal issues between and with Asian parties.
Unique advantages and challenges for Asian counsel.

This is a CPD event.

Date: 7 November 2023
Time: 3:00pm-6:00pm (with drinks to follow) 
Location: Level 12/51 Shortland Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010
This event will also be streamed online for those out of Auckland.

This event is free for NZ Asian Lawyers members. There will be a charge for non-members.

NZ Asian Lawyers now incorporated!

We are delighted to announce that NZ Asian Lawyers just became an incorporated society! This means we are now an independent, standalone entity from the Superdiversity Institute.
 

A special thank you to our secretary, Takeshi Ito, for making this happen, and Pam Davidson and Augustine Choi for all of their assistance. 

See the above photo for some Board members including some who have helped with our incorporation. 

 

NZ Asian Lawyers Website – Now live!

We are pleased to announce that the NZ Asian Lawyers website is now live.

This website will contain all information related to NZ Asian Lawyers. You will be able to learn more about the organisation and our vision, view our upcoming events, and get to know our members and the Board. We will profile you as a member once the membership fee is paid. 

Contact us on the website to get involved! We are always looking for members to join our sub-committees. You can also see the members of our current committees under the “Our Leadership” section of the website.

 

Event:
Women Lawyers Committee – Practical Tips on Job-Seeking, Pay Negotiations and Reviews
20 September 2023

Join us for a panel session at Simpson Grierson for practical tips on job seeking, pay negotiations and reviews. It will be a Q&A session with Joanna Pidgeon, director of Pidgeon Judd Law, Jo Stevenson, People & Culture director of Simpson Grierson, and Anand Ranchhod, director of CoLegal. The panel will share practical tips and insights relevant to your career progression.

Drinks and nibbles will start at 5:30pm. The panel session will start at 6pm

This event is free for all members, and is $25 for non-members.

Thank you to Simpson Grierson for sponsoring this event. 

Event:
Asian Litigators Committee – Litigation Masterclass: Pleadings
5 October 2023

This event will provide practical knowledge and tips on the drafting of civil pleadings, and in dealing with culturally and linguistically diverse parties and/or underlying documents which are not in the English language.

Our presenters are Brent O’Callahan (Barrister) and Linda Hui (Senior Associate, McElroys). This event will be chaired by Leo Huang (Senior Associate, Tompkins Wake).

Date: 5 October 2023
Start: 5:30pm
Address: Level 8, 88 Shortland Street

This will be a 1.5 hour CPD event open to all in the profession. There will be a $25 charge for non-members. Members of NZ Asian Lawyers get free entry.

RSVPs open soon – look out for this information on our website or upcoming newsletters. 

Thank you to Tompkins Wake for sponsoring this event.

 

Upcoming Events

20 September 2023 – Women Lawyer’s Committee: Practical Tips Panel

We are also delighted to announce an upcoming seminar on the important topic: Asian parties in the Courts and Asian clients: unique cultural contexts and issues. Learn how to best represent Asian clients from our speakers – including Asian litigators, tax specialists, regulatory defence experts and trusts and relationship property experts. This is organised by Mai Chen, Karun Lakshman, Pam Davidson and Yvonne Mortimer-Wang.

And watch this space for the first Wellington event by the NZ Asian Lawyers Young Lawyers Committee, hosted by Natasha Young. This will be an informal networking event.

 

Ministerial Visit to Parliament 

Assisting Makes Sense founder Dr Jo Robertson and Holly Jean Brooker make the case for more filtering out of illegal objectionable child sex abuse material by the Department of Internal Affairs. Great meeting with the Minister Hon Barbara Edmonds (and mother of eight) who rightly said – it is all about the kids!

NZ|Lawyer Recongises Mai Chen as among the Most Influential Lawyers in 2023

Mai Chen was recently named one of the three most influential lawyers changing the legal landscape in 2023 by NZ|Lawyer in their annual Most Influential Lawyers awards. NZ|Lawyer wrote the following profile to convey Mai’s impact on the law;

“With over 30 years of experience in public and administrative law, Mai Chen has an impressive career that has included work with former prime ministers; publishing several books on public law; and trailblazing the impact of superdiversity on courts, law and policy. She previously served on the Securities Commission for two terms and spent seven years as a director on the Bank of New Zealand Board. She was also an adjunct professor at the School of Business and the law faculty at the University of Auckland for many years. Now a barrister at Public Law Toolbox Chambers, she is considered one of the country’s foremost experts in her field.

Throughout her longstanding career, Chen has handled cases involving the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and Treaty of Waitangi issues, as well as education, employment, regulatory law and white-collar fraud. Having emigrated to New Zealand at six and a half years old, she found herself part of the first Taiwanese family in the South Island. She is now chair of the Superdiversity Institute of Law, Policy and Business and president of New Zealand Asian Lawyers, all of which she founded. She shifted to Auckland from Wellington almost 10 years ago, aiming to plug the gap she saw in the lack of a superdiversity framework in the courts, law, public policy and business.

In addition to running a law firm, Chen is a prolific writer in the legal field. She penned New Zealand’s first practice book on public law, which aims to help the public understand how the government system works. Chen says that writing Public Law Toolbox was particularly important for her personally, as it provides access to information that might usually be seen as ‘the preserve of the elite or for privileged insiders only’.”

A timeline of Mai’s milestones is also available on the complete profile.

Otago Girls High School Recognises Alumnae for being awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws

Otago Girls’ High School’s Alumni Newsletter no June 2023 praised their past students, Mai and Mindy Chen, who will receive their Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Otago university later this year, writing;

“We are delighted to receive news that this year sisters Mindy and Mai Chen, distinguished alumni of Otago Girls’ High School, will be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Otago. Mindy was co-dux of the school with Morag Cunnigham in 1978. Mai was Head Girl, Dux and Best All Round Student of the school in 1981. The awarding of honorary degrees is a centuries-old custom of universities whereby distinguished persons are created members for life of the university concerned or (in the case of persons who are already graduates of the university) are promoted to the highest academic level in the university.

“Honorary degrees are conferredby the University of Otago on persons who have given notable service to the University or community, or who have achieved eminence in scholarship or elsewhere, or who are otherwise considered worthy of recognition. The University confers the following honorary degrees: Doctor of Laws, Doctor ofScience, Doctor of Literature, Doctor of Music, Doctor of Divinity, and Doctor of Commerce. This has extra significance in the year of the 150th anniversary of the Faculty of Law at the University of Otago. Mindy will receive this honour in August and Mai in December. We are privileged that Otago Girls’ High School has been included in the celebrations.

“Mai will give a graduation address at her graduation ceremony on Saturday 16 December 2023 and is keen to get in touch with old school friends and acquaintances to join her in celebrating this occasion. She has kindly written this for our alumni newsletter. Please contact admin@otagogirls.school. nz if you wish to get in touch with Mai and attend this celebration.”

“Sometime last century my foundations at OGHS started me on a journey to give back to the legal profession and to my adopted country of New Zealand where my family had immigrated many years previously from Taiwan. Our early life wasn’t easy with little money and no family in Aotearoa but OGHS taught me leadership and gave me high level learning and helped me to decide on a legal career that has dominated my work and my life. I amnot big on honours and awards, but having a honorary Doctorate of Laws conferred by the University of Otago this December, and giving the Graduation address, is the culmination of a lifetime of work and it has made me proud and encouraged me to do more. Pioneering the practice of Public Law was difficult as it is to do anything that is new and different. I have also found doing pro bono hours writing Public Law Toolbox and on culture and the law and on Tikanga and the law as well as founding New Zealand Asian Lawyers and the Superdiversity Institute of Law, Policy and Business a challenge alongside a full time job and being a mum and a wife. But there is no point having the eyes to see gaps in the law, and what needs changing in our community through our education and training, if we are not prepared to do anything about that. There is nothingI have not done that I thought should be done. And I am grateful for the support OGHS gave me in equipping me to give back.”

“My sister Mindy Chen-Wishart will also be conferredwith an honorary Doctorate of Laws this year. We are great friends and that makes the conferral that much more special. I am told that Mindy and I will be the only siblings who are Hon LLDs, and only the second Honorary Doctors of the University who are siblings. The others were another couple of high achieving sisters who preceded me at OGHS: Dame Alison Holst Hon DSc and Patricia Payne Hon DMus.”

Alleged Multimillion-Dollar Fake Fat Export Fraud Companies Named

Following an investigation by the Ministry for Primary Industries, Tuakau Proteins is the eighth company to be charged with unlawfully making and exporting an estimated $29 million worth of tainted fat and meat and bone meal. Two of Tuakau Proteins directors, Glenn Raymond Smith and Stephen Eric Dahlenburg, can now be named following the expiration of suppression orders. 

The two other directors of Tuakau Proteins, Andy Lowe and Philip Hocquard, have not been charged. In a statement given through Mai Chen, Lowe and Hocquard’s lawyer, it has been confirmed that whilst they sought name suppression until the first call of those charged appeared in court, they have not sought to renew interim name suppression when it expired on 30 June. 

Mai stated that Lowe and Hocquard had receivers appointed for Tuakau Proteins with powers regarding the Ministry’s prosecution, as it was inappropriate for the charged directors to be involved in taking those decisions. As the prosecution is ongoing, “no further comment will be made”. 

To read the full article please click here

ICON•S Conference 2023 Sponsorship

Public Law Toolbox Chambers are pleased to announce that we’re sponsoring the Annual Conference of the International Society of Public Law (ICON•S) that is being hosted by the New Zealand Centre for Public Law and the Faculty of Law of Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington 3-5 July 2023 at the Victoria University Pipitea Campus, Wellington. The theme of this year’s conference is Islands and Ocean: Public Law in a Plural World. You can read more about the theme here.

ICON•S is the largest public law academic association in the world and this is the first time it will hold its annual meeting in Australasia. Top public law academics from Aotearoa and from more than 60 other countries will be presenting and discussing their work. 

The conference will be fully in person, and will feature three plenary events and a keynote, special receptions, more than a hundred parallel panels on all areas of public law and related topics, including indigenous governance, the law of the sea, legal pluralism, human rights, constitutional interpretation, reproductive rights, artificial intelligence, democratic erosion, constitutional reform, international law, discrimination law, judicial review, peace building, health and the law, climate change, judicial independence, and so much more!

For further information about the conference, visit Law Conference | ICON•S Annual Conference | ICON•S (icon-society.org)

Amicus Curiae: First Wānanga

The latest issue of Amicus Curiae has been published and includes the special section, “Tikanga as the First Law of New Zealand Law: the need for a system-wide cognitive shift | Ko te tikanga Māori te mana tuatahi o Aotearoa: me tōrua marire te au whakaaro o te pūnaha ture nui tonu” .
 
To read the special section, please click here: https://journals.sas.ac.uk/amicus

                                                                 

The special section begins with Mai Chen’s paper on “the Increasing need for Cultural Experts in New Zealand”, which was written for the Euro-Expert Conference on Cultural Expertise in the Courts in Europe and Beyond: Special Focus on France and International Perspectives, held at the Universite Paris Pantheon Sorbonne on 6-7 April 2023, and is provided as a contextual introduction to the Wananga for those less familiar with the Tikanga development in New Zealand. Following this are the presentations of Justice Joe Williams, Justice Whata, Justice Powell, Chief District Court Judge Taumaunu, Acting Chief Judge Fox and Judge Doogan from the Wānanga on Tikanga and the Law, held on 3 May 2023, at Buddle Findlay’s Auckland office, with support of the New Zealand Bar Association. All of the presentations have been edited and embellished by the judges and should be considered a light-handed introduction to a very complex subject matter, that only expresses one view of Tikanga. The final article is by Justice Emilios Kyrou, a Judge of the Australian Federal Court and President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on “Cultural Experts and Evidence in Australian Courts”.

Amicus Curiae is the official journal of both the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London and its Society for Advanced Legal Studies. The journal is published three times a year and includes a range of articles that raise and explore important legal issues. 

Second Wānanga on Tikanga and the Law Presentations

            

On Wednesday 7 June 2023, the New Zealand Asian Lawyers ran a second wānanga on “Tikanga and the Law”. It was an extraordinary combination of different expertise, experiences and viewpoints. The combination was very successful in helping to work through the difficult issues that tikanga and the law can raise, as well as providing insights into the richness that tikanga brings to the development of the common law and how statutes can be interpreted for the benefit of all New Zealanders, as well as Māori. There was an audience of 200 physically present and online. 

Grateful thanks to Karen Feint KC, Annette Sykes, Matanuku Mahuika, Natalie Coates and Kingi Snelgar for providing us with their expertise, experience and insights. 

Huge thanks to Bell Gully and Buddle Findlay, who sponsored the event and ensured that the speakers were able to be present at the Wānanga. It was great to have all the speakers there. 

The powerpoints will go up on to the Superdiversity website and the Public Law Toolbox Chambers website, as the NZ Asian Lawyers website is still being worked on.

We are currently working on capturing and publishing the many valuable insights that were shared – watch this space. 

The first Wānanga will be published in the Amicus Curiae special section, “Tikanga as the First Law of New Zealand Law: the need for a system-wide cognitive shift: Ko te tikanga Māori te mana tuatahi o Aotearoa: me tōrua marire te au whakaaro o te pūnaha ture nui tonu” on the 26 June 2023. We will let you know when it is published 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.

 

We are delighted to publish the presentations of Karen Feint KC (Advocacy), Kingi Snelgar (Tikanga in criminal law), and (Tikanga and the Law).


Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua Strike Out Application:

Judgment of the Honourable Justice Harvey 

On Friday 2 June 2023, the Honourable Justice Harvey delivered his judgment on Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua‘s application to strike out the claims of Rihari Dargaville and Joseph Kingi, on the grounds that they continue to fail to comply with mandatory statutory requirements under the Marine and Coastal area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011.

When answering the issue of whether tikanga applies to strike out applications, Hon Justice Harvery stated that ‘undoubtedly, tikanga is relevant to this application. Māori have applied tikanga to resolve disputes both pre and post colonisation.’

Further he stated at [32]:

In light of the purpose and principles of the Act, and its Treaty clause, it is consistent that tikanga is taken account of when interpreting and applying the procedural elements of the Act. The strike-out provisions provides the Court with discretion, and tikanga considerations will likely be relevant in the exercise of those discretions. 

The Honourable Justice Harvey held that according to tikanga, Mr Kingi’s application, as it purports to claim on behalf of “Ngāti Awa”, including Ngāti Awa ki Tamaki Makaurau and Mataatua Marae, is struck out. and directed Mr Dargaville to amend his application. 

To read the full judgment please click here: Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua v Kingi and Dargaville [2023] NZHC 1384


Interview on RNZ Morning Report

31 May 2023

On Wednesday 31st May, Mai Chen spoke with Ingrid Hipkisson RNZ’s Morning Report to discuss Parliament’s Privileges Committee current consideration of whether Education Minister, Jan Tinetti, deliberately misled Parliament when she told the house she was not responsible for the release of school attendance data, despite staff later telling her this was wrong. Ms Tinetti did not correct the record until May 1 after she received a letter from the Speaker.

Mai gave a brief description of what the Privileges Committee is, who is in it and what it is designed to do. 

Mai went on to outline that the issue is whether the Minister deliberately misled Parliament. The concern for the Minister will be to exercise her natural justice well to make sure she tells her side of the story as to why, after all that time, she did not know that when you make a statement which turns out not to be true you must immediately correct it, and not 14 sitting days later. 

To listen to the interview please see click HERE


Sourced from Cranmer’s Substack

Minister Awaits Review into DOC Funding Hole

Multiple reviews are examining options to address a $25M to $40M funding hole in its operating budget and a reported $300M, 70,000 hour maintenance backlog for huts, tracks and visitor assets.

31 May 2023

Following Friday’s revelation that Budget 2023 has left the Department of Conservation with insufficient funding to meet its basic running costs, Chief Executive Penny Nelson sent an email to all staff later that day addressing some of the issues raised in my article.

The email also sheds further light on the precarious financial position that the department now finds itself in. It makes clear that Minister Prime is aware of the situation and is expecting to receive the initial results of several reviews taking place by the end of August.

In the leaked email, Nelson stated, “To make sure we have more stability in future, our Minister has supported us to work on a review of our baseline funding and future capability. This will look at the true cost of the work that we do and the outputs we achieve, to help present to the Government what the department could do if we got more money. The initial results are due to our Minister by the end of August.”

It is understood that following Budget 2023, the current hole in the operating budget is between $25 million to $40 million, which is projected to increase to at least $85 million within 3 years.

However, the funding crisis has been anticipated for some time. It is understood that PWC has been in the department for the last four weeks conducting an independent review of the baseline costs and funding, and that Nimbl Consulting is undertaking a review of the asset management plan.

Although the results of those reviews are due to be delivered to Minister Prime by the end of August, the expectation is that nothing will be done by the Minister before the election. This will, therefore, be an urgent matter for the incoming government and the new Minister of Conservation.

In her email on Friday, Nelson rejected the suggestion that job cuts were inevitable, stating, “This is not true. We are not laying people off”. Whilst no decision on jobs has yet been taken, it is difficult not to conclude that a significant number of jobs are nevertheless at risk, particularly given the uncertainty that exists about which programmes will be affected by the lack of funding and the fact that employment costs make up a significant amount of the department’s baseline costs.

An Official Information Act request from August last year revealed that the total staff headcount for the department as at 30 June 2022 was 2,564. Sources within the department estimate that approximately 10% of those jobs could be at risk pending the outcome of the current reviews and any decisions that the Minister may make. With morale already affected by the on-going crisis staff turnover has increased from a historic baseline of 8% to 16%.

Green MP Eugenie Sage has already raised concerns with the government regarding some of these issues through a series of Written Parliamentary Questions submitted the week before the Budget. In a number of questions, Sage asked whether the department has adequate operational funding to maintain its visitor assets.

The Minister responded, “The Department of Conservation has advised that it has a large and ageing visitor asset base, which it cannot continue to maintain and keep to required standards. It needs to ensure that it provides for a spectrum of experiences, whilst making difficult decisions on what assets that are replaced and maintained ensuring the visitor network is financially sustainable. Work is underway to develop asset management plans for all Visitor Assets. The plans will identify the level of operating investment required to sustainably maintain existing hut assets on public conservation land.”

In a separate question to the Minister, Sage asked for details about, “the reported $300 million, 70,000 hour maintenance backlog for backcountry huts, tracks and other visitor assets.”

The backlog underscores the recurring issue of Ministers consistently refusing to allocate additional funding to existing programs over the course of many years. Instead, adequate funds have only been made available to new programs that the government prioritises and that are ringfenced within the Natural Resources Cluster.

Amongst the most pressing maintenance issue for the department is the 520 suspension bridges dotted across the country on many of our trails and walks. Although constructed in accordance with best practice at the time, that is no longer the case given that a single point of failure will cause a bridge collapse. Current best practice requires two points of failure before collapse.

The issue was highlighted when a Lake Waikaremoana tramping track bridge collapsed in September 2015 in Te Urewera. Two tourists were unharmed after falling eight metres off the 65m-long Hopu Ruahine bridge when one of two suspension cables on the bridge gave way while the trampers were crossing.

Although the chance of a failure is extremely small, recent engineering and legal advice to the Department of Conversation is that the 150 suspension bridges in high use areas should be immediately closed and upgraded. That would mean the temporary closure of many, if not all, of our Great Walks. A lack of funding and a desire not to raise the issue with the Minister has meant that it has not yet been adequately addressed.

However, Eugenie Sage is clearly aware of the problem. On 12 May, Sage asked the Minister, “What advice has the Minister received, if any, about the number of bridges which have been deemed to be in need of “safety-critical work” in the last 24 months?”

Prime responded, “I have not received any advice from the Department of Conservation regarding the number of bridges in need of safety critical work.”

The department is instead trying to quietly do what it can with its limited funds. On Friday it announced that three popular bridges in the Wānaka area were being closed for safety reasons. The DOC press release stated that the Blue Pools and Rob Roy bridges required upgrade work to ensure there are measures in place should a key component fail, while the Makarora bridge has reached the end of its operational life.

Department of Conservation Central Otago Operations Manager David Butt stated while the closures will be frustrating for people who want to visit these sites, visitor safety is at the heart of the decision.

“These are popular sites that see a high level of visitation, particularly over the summer months. Engineering advice is that they cannot sustain the current usage, and with visitor numbers continuing to increase, we need to make them safer.”

Unfortunately, this safety issue extends far beyond these three bridges and impacts all 520 of DOC’s suspension bridges.

Beyond its funding squeeze, the department is also bracing itself for criticism which is expected to follow the release of the review of the treatment of kiwi which DOC has sent to Cape Sanctuary. The sanctuary is situated at Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay and was founded by Julian Robertson and Andy Lowe. Robertson was the owner of the Cape Kidnappers Golf Course and an American billionaire and philanthropist who died in New York last August at the age of 90.

Concerns first came to light when a report into the deaths of several little spotted kiwi at the sanctuary in 2015 revealed that they died from neglect. A video then emerged of Sir Paul McCartney cuddling a squirming kiwi during a visit to Cape Sanctuary in December 2017 which raised concerns that the country’s largest privately-owned conservation project had been allowed to show off kiwi to wealthy tourists without a permit, despite welfare concerns about the birds.

Following recent media coverage over the treatment of a kiwi at Miami Zoo, focus has again turned to the Department of Conservation and Cape Sanctuary which remains under investigation over whether our national birds have been mistreated here at home.

Cape Sanctuary has been the subject of multiple reports over the past five years although concerns continue to be raised about the treatment of kiwi there. It is understood that a kiwi was recently accidentally shot and killed by a guest participating in a rabbit hunt. According to sources, the killing has been reported to the department.

DOC and the sanctuary have now confirmed that an external review is nearly complete and is due out in June although it has been delayed numerous times already. It is understood that legal heavyweight, Mai Chen, is acting for Cape Sanctuary.

The Department of Conservation was contacted for comment but did not respond prior to publication.


Second Wānanga on Tikanga and the Law

Following the success of the Wānanga on ‘Tikanga and the Law’ held on 3 May 2023, New Zealand Asian Lawyers will host a second Wānanga, where a panel of top practitioners will share their wisdom on how to argue tikanga and the law cases successfully. 

The Wānanga will be held on 7 June 2023 from 2:00pm – 5:30pm at Bell Gully (Vero Centre, Level 21, 48 Shortland Street, Auckland CBD).

 

                                               


 Please find below the contents of the second Wānanga:

2:00 pm: Introduction by Rebekah Te Rito, on behalf of Bell Gully with the support of te Paewhiti Ture. Manuhiri to speak in reply.
2:05pm: Waiata
2:10pm: Introduction by Mai Chen, President of NZ Asian Lawyers
2:15pm: Ellis v R [2022] NZSC 114 – Matanuku Mahuika, Natalie Coates and Kingi Snelgar 
2:55pm: Questions
3:00 pm: Edwards (Te Whakatōhea) (No 6 ) [2022] stages 1 and 2 – Karen Feint KC and Annette Sykes 
3:40pm: Questions
3:45 pm: Wairarapa Moana Ki Pouākani Inc v Mercury NZ Ltd [2022] NZSC 142 – Matanuku Mahuika 
4:00pm: Questions
4:05 pm: Afternoon tea
4.35pm: Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd v Taranaki-Whanganui Conservation Board [2022] NZSC 63 – Natalie Coates
4:50pm: Questions
4:55 pm: Mercury NZ Ltd v Cairns (2022) 277 Waiariki MB 174 (277 WAR 174) and Mercury v Māori Land Court and Ors, CIV 2022-063, High Court, Rotorua (river bed and water – customary Māori ownership) – Annette Sykes 
5.10 pm: Questions
5.15pm: Berkland v R [2022] NZSC 143 case study – Tikanga in Criminal Law, Kingi Snelgar 
5.25pm: Questions
5:30pm: Paul Beverley, Buddle Findlay, to comment on what all of the sessions mean for the application of Tikanga and the law to future cases.
5:40pm: Karakia whakamutunga

Themes explored, where relevant, in each case study will include:

  1. Lessons learned.
  2. The methodology to figure out whether tikanga issues arise in a case, and if so what tikanga principles and values;
  3. How to adduce expert tikanga evidence;
  4. The best, or most reputable, published material on tikanga – which can be used in place of, or in addition to, tikanga expert evidence;
  5. How to deal with a conflict of tikanga and with regional differences;
  6. How to deal with conflicts of interests a Judge may have given their own iwi, hapū and whānau groupings or affiliations;
  7. Application of Tikanga to statute; and
  8. Application of Tikanga to evolve the common law for new situations


This will be a 3.5 hour CPD event that is open to all in the profession. It is in person and online. 

AGM of the New Zealand Asian Lawyers
Following the Wānanga, the AGM of the New Zealand Asian Lawyers will be held at the same venue (Bell Gully). The final version of the constitution will be sent out next week.

We would like to acknowledge the generosity of Bell Gully for sponsoring this event.


Wānanga on Tikanga and the Law Presentations

           

On Wednesday 3 May 2023, the New Zealand Asian Lawyers hosted a wānanga on “Tikanga and the Law” with the support of the Ngā Ahorangi Motuhake o te Ture / New Zealand Bar Association, at Buddle Findlay. There was an overwhelming attendance at the event, with 80 people attending in-person and 360 online.

The reason for the wānanga was 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 [2022] NZSC 114 and Wairarapa Moana Ki Pouākani Incorporation v Mercury NZ Limited and The Waitangi Tribunal and Ors [2022] NZSC 142.on by the University authorities. 

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.

 

We are delighted to publish the presentations of Acting Chief Judge Fox (Tikanga in the Māori Land Court and the Waitangi Tribunal) and Judge Doogan (Tikanga in Environmental Jurisdiction)


Mai Chen to receive Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws

We are delighted to announce that the University of Otago has invited Mai Chen to accept her Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws on 16 December 2023. Mai has also been invited to deliver the graduation address on this occasion. 

The awarding of Honorary Degrees is a centuries-old custom of universities whereby distinguished persons are promoted to the highest academic level in the university. 

Conferring an Honorary Degree is a recognition of the University of Otago’s most outstanding graduates and those who have brought great credit to the University through their achievements. Areas of achievement include notable service to the University or community, eminence achieved in scholarship, or other areas considered worthy of recognition. This awarding of this honour in 2023 is especially significant, as the Otago Faculty of Law is celebrating its 150th anniversary. 

Honorary Degrees from the University of Otago are awarded sparingly and after much deliberation by the University authorities. 


 

Please read below to find information on:

  • 3 May 2023 – Line-up of Wānanga on Tikanga and the Law – Timings of when Judges will be speaking, and how to get your link.
  • 6 & 7 April 2023 – EURO-EXPERT Conference in Sorbonne on cultural experts in the Court
  • 17 July 2023 – Dean of Law at Oxford University ‘Is there a bamboo ceiling in the profession, academia and the judiciary?’
  • 13 April 2023 – NZ Asian Young Lawyers Committee event
  • 19 April 2023 – NZ Asian Litigation Committee Event: Lessons to My Younger Self
  • Amicus Curiae – Glazebrook J publication on Tikanga and Culture in the Supreme Court: Ellis Deng
  • New Zealand Asian Lawyers Mentoring Programme
  • Further upcoming events
  • Membership Fees

New Zealand Asian Lawyers, with the support the Ngā Ahorangi Motuhake o te Ture / New Zealand Bar Association, looks forward to seeing attendees at the upcoming Wānanga on “Tikanga and the Law” on 3 May 2023 at Buddle Findlay’s Auckland premises.

   

 Please find below the timings for when each Judge will be speaking at the Wānanga.

1:45pm – Doors open at Buddle Findlay’s Auckland premises at HSBC Tower 188 Quay Street Auckland
2:00pm – Mihi lead by Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa.
2:05pm – Welcome by Paul Beverley, Partner, Buddle Findlay.
2:15pm – Mai Chen, President of NZ Asian Lawyers, to introduce the need for the Wānanga due to developments in the common law of which Tikanga is the first law of NZ, as well as Tikanga Māori proposed to be taught in the core subjects of the law degree at law schools from 1 January 2025.
2:25pm – Justice Williams of the Supreme Court of New Zealand;
3:00pm – Vote of thanks from Renika Siciliano (Co-President of Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa)
3:05pm – Maria Dew KC (President NZBA) to introduce Justice Whata
3:10pm – Justice Whata of the High Court of New Zealand who is currently writing a paper on Tikanga and the Law for Te Aka Matua o te Ture / the New Zealand Law Commission;.
3:30pm – questions
3:40pm – Justice Powell of the High Court of New Zealand who will speak on tikanga, including as it is dealt with through the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011;
4:00pm – questions
4:10pm – Frazer Barton (President NZLS) to introduce Chief Judge Taumaunu
4:15pm – Chief Judge Taumaunu, Chief Judge of the District Court of New Zealand;
4:35pm – questions
4:45pm – Deputy Chief Judge Fox of the Māori Land Court of New Zealand.
5:05pm – questions
5:15pm – Judge Doogan of the Māori Land Court and alternate Judge of the Environment Court of New Zealand.
5.35pm – questions;
5.45pm – closing statement by Pam Davidson (Vice President of NZ Asian Lawyers);
5:55pm – Kingi Snelgar to deliver the karakia whakamutunga;
6.00pm – Wānanga finishes.

Due to the overwhelming response to the Wananga on Tikanga and the Law, we are unable to accept any more in-person attendees at Buddle Findlay Auckland and will also need to expand our Zoom Meeting portal to allow everyone to take part. To do that, we will need to charge attendees an administration fee of $20 per person which can be paid prior to the event or on the day.

The administration fee goes towards the cost of administrative assistance to set up the events and to send out invites and links. The fee will further go towards the cost of liaising with venue sponsors, organising speakers, and thanking those speakers.
 
Please make your payment to: 06-0561-0161787-01 with your last name as the reference.


 

We are delighted to share the finalised programme and booklet of the EURO-EXPERT conference at the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne on 6-7 April 2023.

EURO-EXPERT seeks to develop a new integrated concept of cultural expertise by adopting an historiographical perspective. 

The Conference will begin on Day 1 (6 April) with presentations from the Francophone presenters and then continue on Day 2 (7 April) with mostly anglophone presenters. Interpretation will be made available for attendees on both days.

The Speakers are listed in order of appearance:

Day 1 (6 April starting at 6:30pm)

Livia Holden: The EURO-EXPERT Project: theory, methods and results.
Livia Holden (PhD – School of Oriental and African Studies University of London) leads the European Research Council’s funded project Cultural Expertise in Europe: What is it useful for? (EURO-EXPERT) and CULTEXP Proof of Concept. 

Christiane Besnier: Research on Cultural Expertise in France.
Christiane Besnier is a doctor of ethnology, a member of the Center for Cultural Anthropology (CANTHEL) at the University of Paris Sorbonne and a member of the editorial board of the journal Droit et Cultures. She is an assessor judge at the National Court of Asylum.

Bruno Cotte: Is there Cultural Expertise at the International Criminal Court?
Bruno Cotte, member of the Institute, is a magistrate. He was Director of Criminal Affairs and Pardons at the Ministry of Justice (1984-1990), Attorney General in Versailles (1990), Public Prosecutor in Paris (1990-1995), President of the Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation (2000-2008) and President of the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (2008-2014).

Joël Hubrecht: The Cultural and Social Prism of Violence: overcoming or enriching the criminal logic?
Joël Hubrecht is Head of Studies and Research at the Institute for Studies and Research on Law and Justice (IERDJ) and a member of the editorial board of the journal Esprit.

Martine de Maximy and Jackie Loteteka: The Cultural Intermediation Hearing in the Juvenile Court and Ethnopsychological Expertise in the Court of Assizes.
Martine de Maximy is an honorary magistrate. She was a juvenile judge for 22 years and was also an investigating judge and president of the Paris Assize Court.

Jackie Loteteka is a lawyer in Paris and is an active member of the association AVOMARC. She is an expert at the Children’s court in France, and an instructor in specialized education on issues relating to culture and justice.

Soazick Kerneis: CULTEXP – University Diploma on Cultural Expertise in Paris.
Soazick Kerneis is a professor of legal history at the University of ParisNanterre and director of the Centre for the History and Anthropology of Law (EA 4417). She is CEO of CULTEXP and is in charge of setting up, at the University of Paris-Nanterre, a DU devoted to the training of cultural experts in courts of law.

Ariel Planeix and Sharon Weill: Cultural Expertise in Terrorism Trials in Paris.
Ariel Planeix is an anthropologist, associate researcher at the Development and Societies Laboratory (IRD/Paris 1), former scientific advisor to the Anti-Terrorist Department, War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity, Genocide and Attacks on State Security of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Paris Court of Appeals.

Sharon Weill is an Associate Professor of international law at the American University of Paris and research associate at l’Institut des sciences juridique et philosophique de la Sorbonne. 

Afef Hagi: Cultural Expertise in Italy.
Afef Hagi, graduated from the University of Paris 8-Vincennes (2010), PhD in Research Methodology and Intervention in SocioEducational Services at the University of Florence – Faculty of Training Sciences and Psychology (2015).

André Benjebbar: Film – Documentary on Justice in Guyana.
André Bendjebbar is an associate professor of history, a graduate of Sciences-Po, and a member of the AFHJ board. He has published numerous books and articles.

Day 2 (7 April starting at 6:30pm)
Mai Chen: The increasing need for cultural experts in New Zealand Courts.
Mai Chen LLM(Harvard) is a barrister. She Chairs the Superdiversity Institute of Law, Policy and Business which she founded, and is President of New Zealand Asian Lawyers. She has written extensively on Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Parties in Courts. 

Justice Emilio Kyrou: Cultural Expertise and Evidence in Australian Courts.
Justice Emilios Kyrou is a Judge of Appeal of the Victorian Court of Appeal. He is the first and only Greek-born judge of a superior court in Australia. He was an inaugural member of the Judicial Council on Diversity and Inclusion and supports organisations that seek to improve access to justice by Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Emma Varley: Canadian Network on Cultural Expertise: Collaboration CASCA – CULTEXP. 
Emma Varley is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Brandon University, and Adjuncts at the University of Saskatchewan and the Institute for Global Public Health at the University of Manitoba. 

Noora Arajärvi: CULTEXP Policy for the Treatment of Personal Data in Legal Documents.
Noora Arajärvi (PhD) has been involved in the data collection since 2018. She recently joined the European University Institute in Florence as Legal Officer, having worked previously at the Hertie School, the United Nations, and as law lecturer at several universities.

Victoria McCloud: Cultural Expertise and the Equality Act in the United Kingdom.
Victoria McCloud (PhD) is a British judge and Master in the High Court of England and Wales. She is also a chartered psychologist and legal author. She was appointed a Queen’s Bench Master in June 2010 and also re-appointed as a Costs Judge / Taxing Master in 2017.


The conference will be in hybrid format.

To register for this conference, please click the button below labelled ‘Register Now.’
 
If you have any questions or issues with signing up, please do not hesitate to contact Anna Siliotto at CULTURALEXPERTISE@JISCMAIL.AC.UK.
          




New Zealand Asian Lawyers is delighted to announce that Professor Mindy Chen-Wishart, Dean of Law at Oxford University, will be speaking on 17 July 2023 from 5:30pm at Russell McVeagh, 157 Lambton Quay, Wellington. 

As the first Asian Dean of Law at Oxford University, she will speak on the topic: ‘Is there a Bamboo ceiling in the profession, academia and the judiciary?’ 

Professor Chen-Wishart will coincide her talk with a scheduled trip to New Zealand to speak at the 150th celebration of Otago Law School. 

The event will be led by Mai Chen and Pam Davidson, on behalf of Lambton Chambers. 

Due to the generous sponsorship of Lambton Chambers, Wellington, the event is free for all those that attend. 

Individuals are invited to attend the event in-person or via zoom.
To register for the event, please click the button here

This is a CPD event.

     


Come join the Young Asian Lawyers’ Committee’s first meet up! 
 
The Young Asian Lawyers Committee, chaired by Danielle Cooper (Minter Ellison Rudd Watts), are aiming to bring together young lawyers (anyone with less than 7 years PQE) of Asian background and open to anyone with a keen interest in Asia/Asian culture. The first event this year is a casual meet up to connect aspiring members of the legal profession or law schools and fostering a supportive community.

Price: Free
 
Where: Dr Rudis (204 Quay Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010)
 
When: 13 April 2023, 6pm – 7:30pm

Looking forward to seeing you there! Please click the button here to sign up.

(note this is a free event for all non-members, law students and existing members of NZ Asian Lawyers). 


The Young Asian Lawyers Committee consists of:
  • Danielle Cooper (Chair)
  • TK Lo (Vice-Chair)
  • Ayesha Goel (Events and Publicity)
  • Stella Gu (Events and Publicity)
  • Nicholas Ali (Events and Publicity)
  • Aimee Yang (Sponsorship/Membership)
  • Nulee Seo (Sponsorship/Membership)
  • Natasha Young (Wellington Representative)

On Wednesday 19 April 2023, barristers Christine Meechan KCSam Lowery and Julie Ding from Bankside Chambers will speak on “Lessons for My Younger Self”. The NZ Asian Lawyers Litigation Committee has invited them to share experiences and suggestions that will be useful both for solicitors considering instructing barristers for their clients, and fellow litigators at all levels. There will be a focus on issues that often arise with disputes involving Asian clients and parties, and what to do as counsel or as the solicitor when those issues arise.

Christine Meechan KC is a former partner at Bell Gully. She moved to the bar in 2008 and was appointed silk in 2013. She is an accomplished advocate and practises exclusively in commercial litigation, focusing on large insurance and construction disputes.

Sam Lowery practised in New York and at the International Criminal Court in The Hague prior to returning to New Zealand in 2015. He has a varied commercial practice, and also extensive experience as both prosecution and defence counsel in regulatory and criminal matters.

Julie Ding is a former director at K3 Legal and oversaw their wider litigation team. She moved to the bar joining Bankside in 2022. Fluent in Mandarin and able to understand Cantonese, she also acts as counsel in civil, family and criminal proceedings with certification as a PAL4 criminal legal aid provider.

This event is generously sponsored and hosted by the members of Bankside Chambers in Auckland, who look forward to seeing you all (www.bankside.co.nz). Guests are welcome from 5:00pm for a 5:30pm start. Mingling, drinks and nibbles on arrival and following.

This event is free for NZ Asian Lawyers members, non-members cost $25. The fee is to fund the administration of NZ Asian Lawyers. 

The event has been organised by Augustine Choi, Bankside Chambers, who is on the NZ Asian Lawyers Board.

Please register using this Eventbrite link to attend and to assist with catering.

The Litigation Committee is Co-Chaired by Yvonne Mortimer-Wang and Augustine Choi. The Committee members are Kavita Deobhakta, Chen Jiang, Anna Cho, Jerry Yu and Cherry Mo.


                   


The latest Amicus Curae (2.4.2) has been published and includes Tikanga and Culture in the Supreme Court Room: Ellis and Deng, an article that is based on the speech delivered by Justice Glazebrook on two recent Te Kōti Mana Nui o Aotearoa/Supreme Court of New Zealand cases: Ellis v R (role of tikanga in the law of Aotearoa/New Zealand) and Deng v Zheng (cultural considerations).

After a short introduction by Mai Chen, Justice Glazebrook introduces the background to these cases, their holdings and makes a few preliminary comments. She also links these recent developments with other judicial-led projects to address cultural considerations. Read the article here.

                              


A primary objective of New Zealand Asian Lawyers is to connect, inspire and grow Asian leaders across New Zealand. In furtherance of this objective, New Zealand Asian Lawyers is proud to announce that it will launch a mentoring programme in 2023.

The purpose of the programme is to provide a further opportunity for participants to grow their network and to give/seek guidance as they advance through their legal careers.  The format will be dependent on the number of people who wish to be involved.
 
Expressions of interest in the programme are sought by 31 March 2023.  The success of the programme depends on there being both mentors and mentees. We strongly encourage those with 4+ years’ experience to consider involvement in both capacities to further their own skills and experience.   

The mentoring programme is free for NZ Asian Lawyers members. Non-members are invited to apply but please be aware a fee is attached  for administration purposes. 
 
Lynne Van is leading the mentoring programme. If you would like to participate, please email her on NZAL@ah.co.nz with the form linked below.  Further information will be circulated after 31 March 2023.

                           



New Zealand Asian Lawyers members will have received a letter, on 6 March, notifying them of a membership fee. 

This is a reminder to pay your membership fee. 

Without your contribution, we will not be able to organise future events and develop the mentoring programme which is fundamental to the future of our organisation, and to allow you to attend events for free.


EURO-EXPERT Sorbonne Conference: Introducing the Speakers – Mai Chen

The second introduction today will be for Mai Chen, who will be speaking at the upcoming EURO-EXPERT Conference at the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne on 6-7 April 2023!

Mai Chen LLM (Harvard) is a barrister. She Chairs the Superdiversity Institute of Law, Policy and Business which she founded, and is President of New Zealand Asian Lawyers. She has written extensively on Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Parties in Courts. She was formerly Managing Partner of Chen Palmer, Adjunct Professor at the University of Auckland Law School, and on the boards of the NZ Securities Commission and the Bank of New Zealand.

On the morning of 7 April, Mai Chen will give a talk titled The increasing need for cultural experts in New Zealand Courts.

The conference will be in hybrid format.

To join online please register ASAP (non registered participants will not be able to access the online conference): https://zoom.univ-paris1.fr/webinar/register/WN_TebbGiuqTQWdQR5-6a_A_Q.

 

For further information, please see https://culturalexpertise.net/euro-expert-conference-2023-sorbonne-paris/.

 


Mai Chen mentioned in Tama Potaka MP’s Maiden Statement

                           

On 7 March 2023, new National Hamilton West MP Tama Potaka was able to give his maiden statement to Parliament’s House of Representatives, after it had been delayed by the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle on the House’s schedule.

Potaka’s speech covered his formal experiences, acknowledgments and his thoughts for New Zealand’s future success. In it, he described the sacrifices of his tūpuna and the fight his whānau took on to resist Māori land loss.

When discussing his formal experiences, Tama Potaka referenced his involved with the first Electoral systems course run by Nigel Roberts and Stephen Levine, where he experienced the contrasting legal academic styles of people like Mai Chen, Sir Geoffrey Palmer and others. 

Watch the speech here.


Amicus Curiae Journal Article: Tikanga and Culture in the Supreme Court

By Susan Glazebrook J and Mai Chen

This article is based on a speech delivered by Justice Glazebrook on two recent Te Kōti Mana Nui o Aotearoa/Supreme Court of New Zealand cases: Ellis v R (role of tikanga in the law of Aotearoa/New Zealand) and Deng v Zheng (cultural considerations). After a short introduction by Mai Chen, Justice Glazebrook introduces the background to these cases, their holdings and makes a few preliminary comments. She also links these recent developments with other judicial-led projects to address cultural considerations

Read the article here.


New Upcoming New Zealand Asian Lawyers Events 2023

  • 3 May 2023 – First wānanga on “Tikanga and the Law” 
  • 7 June 2023 – Second wānanga on Tikanga and the Law with a panel of top practitioners sharing wisdom on how to successfully argue such cases
  • 21 July 2023 – Dean of Law at Oxford University ‘Is there a bamboo ceiling in the profession, academia and the judiciary?’
  • 9 February 2023 inaugural event of the New Zealand Asian Women Lawyers Committee 
  • Thanks to Millennium & Copthorne Hotels New Zealand and Simpson Grierson for sponsorship of New Zealand Asian Lawyers


Wānanga on Tikanga and the Law 3 May 2023

 

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 wānanga will be on 3 May 2023 from 2:00pm – 5:30pm at the Buddle Findlay Auckland office with drinks to follow.

Those speaking at the wānanga are:

  • Justice Williams of the Supreme Court of New Zealand;
  • Justice Whata of the High Court of New Zealand who is currently writing a paper on Tikanga and the Law for Te Aka Matua o te Ture / the New Zealand Law Commission;
  • Justice Powell of the High Court of New Zealand who will speak on tikanga, including as it is dealt with through the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011;
  • Judge Taumaunu, Chief Judge of the District Court of New Zealand;
  • Judge Fox, Deputy Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court of New Zealand; and
  • Judge Doogan of the Māori Land Court of New Zealand and alternate Judge of the Environment Court of New Zealand.

Both the president of the New Zealand Bar Association, Maria Dew KC, and president of the New Zealand Law Society, Frazer Barton, will be attending the wānanga.

It will be a CPD event that is open to all in the profession and the judiciary. There is no charge to attend. Please RSVP in the link here to register your interest to attend (either in person (for catering purposes) or online).


Second wānanga on Tikanga and the Law – Panel of Top Practitioners share wisdom on how to argue such cases

 

Following the Judges wānanga on ‘Tikanga and the Law’ on 3 May 2023, New Zealand Asian Lawyers will host a second wānanga where a panel of top panel of practitioners will share their wisdom on how to argue tikanga and the law cases successfully. The wānanga will be held on 7 June 2023 from 3:00pm – 5:30pm.

Practitioners speaking will include:

  • Annette Sykes from Annette Sykes & Co Ltd;
  • Karen Feint KC from Thorndon Chambers; and
  • Natalie Coates from Kāhui Legal. 

It will be a CPD event that is open to all in the profession. If you would like to host this session at your law firm, can you please get in touch with New Zealand Asian Lawyers board member, Pam Davidson at pam.davidson@lambtonchambers.co.nz 

More details, including the venue for the wānanga, will be announced soon.


Save the date – Dean of Law at Oxford University: Is there a bamboo ceiling in the profession, legal academia, and the judiciary?

 

New Zealand Asian Lawyers is delighted to announce that Professor Mindy Chen-Wishart, Dean of Law at Oxford University, will be speaking in Auckland on 21 July 2023. 

As the first Asian Dean of Law at Oxford University, she will speak on the topic: ‘Is there a Bamboo ceiling in the profession, academia and the judiciary?’

Professor Chen-Wishart will coincide her talk with a scheduled trip to New Zealand to speak at the 150th celebration of Otago Law School. Any interest in sponsorship for this event will assist New Zealand Asian Lawyers to fly Professor Chen-Wishart to Auckland and to host a face to face session (also available online) as opposed to just online event.

This is a CPD event. If you would like to host this session at your law firm, can you please get in touch with New Zealand Asian Lawyers board member, Pam Davidson at pam.davidson@lambtonchambers.co.nz


Asian Women Lawyers Committee Event – 9 February 2023

 

Mai Chen and Karen Ngan – more photos can be found here.

On Thursday night, 9 February 2023, the Asian Women Lawyers Committee of NZ Asian Lawyers led by Karen Ngan held its inaugural Women in Law panel discussion at Simpson Grierson.   Mai Chen (President of NZ Asian Lawyers welcomed the attendees to the first event in her life where Asian women lawyers were the overwhelming majority and talked about the unique contribution we had to make and the intersectional double disadvantage we sometimes experience in the law. She and Karen encouraged all to support and prefer one another where possible given these challenges. 

This was followed by an engaging and insightful conversation between the panellists Seil Kimberley (criminal defence and prosecution), Lucy Luo (tech and start-ups, including First AML) and Lyn Lim (from partnership to governance), facilitated by Kitty Lin as moderator.  The event received hugely positive feedback, from the topics covered (including therapeutic jurisprudence, working with start-ups, board and governance, as well as more personal experiences that were shared honestly and openly by each speaker from mentoring, quitting law, fear of failures and relationship-building through “networking”) to the structure and venue of the event.

There was great energy in the room and the sense that the event, and what the speakers shared, really resonated with people in the room.  It sparked discussions that continued long after the panel session had formally ended. The event provided the opportunity for real connections to be formed, and highlighted the need for more interaction, support, and a general presence of Asian Women lawyers in the field especially for younger students and junior lawyers.  This will undoubtedly be reinforced in future events to come.

The committee, which includes Nova Huang aka event photographer, Alice Kim, Catharina Chung, Celina Chang, Christina Lee, Karen Ngan, Kitty Lin, Sarah Lee, Seil Kimberley, Susan Hur and Tina Hwang, is both pleased to have attendees volunteer to join the committee, and grateful for all the support and contribution that made the event successful, including from New Zealand Asian Lawyers and the team at Simpson Grierson.

Thanks to Karen, New Zealand Asian Lawyers board member, Yvonne Mortimer-Wang who attended in support, and to the following current members of the Asian Women Lawyers subcommittee are:

Alice Kim

Davenports

Catharina Chung

Tompkins Wake

Celina Chang

Simpson Grierson

Karen Ngan (Chair/NZAL Board)

Simpson Grierson

Kitty Lin

Simpson Grierson

Nova Huang

Simpson Grierson

Sarah Lee

Simpson Grierson

Seil Kimberley

MSD

Susan Hur

GMP Pharmaceuticals

Tina Hwang

Queen City Law

 


                                                       

New Zealand Asian Lawyers thanks Takeshi Ito, Secretary of New Zealand Asian Lawyers and Vice President and Legal & Company Secretary of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels New Zealand Limited, and Millennium & Copthrone Hotels for their kind sponsorship to provide banners for New Zealand Asian Lawyers – see below.

                                                                     


                                                                               

New Zealand Asian Lawyers would also like to thank Simpson Grierson for their sponsorship to create a standalone website for New Zealand Asian Lawyers as the current information about New Zealand Asian Lawyers is hosted on the website for the Superdiversity Institute. Pam Davidson is leading this work with Takeshi Ito. 


Judges to speak at Wānanga on Tikanga and the Law on 3 May 2023

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 [2022] NZSC 114 and Wairarapa Moana Ki Pouākani Incorporation v Mercury NZ Limited and The Waitangi Tribunal and Ors [2022] 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. 

Those speaking at the wānanga include:
  • Justice Williams of the Supreme Court of New Zealand. Te Hunga Rōia Māori Aotearoa will give the vote of thanks;
  • Justice Whata of the High Court of New Zealand who is currently writing a paper on Tikanga and the Law for Te Aka Matua o te Ture / the New Zealand Law Commission;
  • Justice Powell of the High Court of New Zealand who will speak on tikanga, including as it is dealt with through the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011;
  • Judge Taumaunu, Chief Judge of the District Court of New Zealand;
  • Judge Fox, Deputy Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court of New Zealand; and
  • Judge Doogan of the Māori Land Court of New Zealand and alternate Judge of the Environment Court of New Zealand.
The wānanga will be held on 3 May 2023 from 2:00pm – 5:30pm. The location will be notified closer to the time and the event will also be online for those that are unable to attend in person.

It will be a CPD event that is open to all in the profession and the judiciary. There is no charge to attend.
 

Mai Chen acknowledged as one of four of New Zealand’s Most Influential Lawyers in the Best in Law 2022 awards (as reported in thelawyermag.com on 26 January 2023)


Mai Chen on Sunday Café with Mel Homer  15 January 2023


Mai Chen Interview with TV3 Newshub Nation 10 September 2022


Labour changes to car standards – this time with National support


Radio New Zealand – Hōteo River claim at 15.00 mins


Te Pou Matakana Drops Injunction Against The Whanau Ora Community Clinic


Amicus Curiae Journal Article: Putting a Social and Cultural Framework on the Evidence Act

By David Goddard J and Mai Chen

This article follows that presentations to a seminar on the Supreme Court decision in Deng v Zheng (2022): guidance on bringing relevant social and cultural information to the court’s attention. The case concerned whether, despite a lack of formal documentation, the parties had entered into a legal partnership, of which they would be jointly responsible for the debts of the partnership. Two issues arose relating to the culture of the parties: namely, whether the meaning to be ascribed to 公司 (gingsi) went beyond ‘company’ and could extend to ‘firm’ or ‘enterprise’ and the significance of 关系 (guanxi). Both parties are Chinese and their business relationship appeared to have been conducted in Mandarin. Justice Goddard was the presiding judge in Zheng v Deng (2020), the Court of Appeal judgment appealed to the Supreme Court. Mai Chen appeared with two other lawyers on behalf of the intervenor, the New Zealand Law Society.

Read the article here.


What’s it like going to the independent bar?

By Mai Chen

I have never worked so hard in my life, but I love it. All of my time is spent solving legal problems and preparing for court which is really a giant viva voce exam – so it’s hard. I have just come out of the Auckland High Court and am now preparing to appear in the Wellington High Court in early December. But I am learning at a much faster pace than I was at Chen Palmer and I am getting better as a lawyer.

 

I have only ever really wanted to be the best lawyer I could be – and the “rock I have thrown at the tiger” (see my TED Talk) by leaving Chen Palmer and going to the bar is making me run – or get eaten. It is the concept of “anti-fragile” introduced to me by a fabulous client who is a great strategic problem solver and also an ex-elite athlete. We were both raised by Dads that pushed us to excel on the sports field. It carries over into your whole life!

 

I throw a rock at the tiger every 10 years so I don’t fall asleep at the wheel or rest on my laurels.  Previously, I left academia and set up Chen Palmer with Sir Geoffrey Palmer as NZ’s first Public Law specialist firm in Wellington. That was hard. I was inaugural Chair of Global Women, I sat on the NZ Securities Commission and the Bank of NZ Board. These were all hard challenges but led to so much learning. Ten years ago, I moved to Auckland and started Chen Palmer here and set up the Superdiversity Institute and NZ Asian Leaders. I started working on Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Parties in the Courts.

 

Leaving Chen Palmer was really hard. I loved my time there, but after almost 29 years there, I had to find my next challenge. When we were named as a top Boutique Law Firm by NZ Lawyer, I knew there was never going to be a better time. So with Sir Geoffrey Palmer’s blessing, and with a lot of encouragement from my wonderful husband Dr John Sinclair and my son Jack Chen-Sinclair, I am now focused on Public Law Toolbox Chambers (which is really the next iteration of Chen Palmer) and chairing NZ Asian Lawyers, which I founded – let’s go!

It has been hard work making the transition, but I love it. All of my time is spent solving legal problems and preparing for court which is really a giant viva voce exam – so it’s hard. I have just come out of the Auckland High Court and am now preparing to appear in the Wellington High Court in early December. And I have a lot of other files running. But I am learning at a much faster pace than I was at Chen Palmer and I am getting better as a lawyer.

 

I have only ever really wanted to be the best lawyer I could be – and the “rock I have thrown at the tiger” (see my TED Talk) by leaving Chen Palmer and going to the bar is making me run – or get eaten. It is the concept of “anti-fragile” introduced to me by a fabulous client who is a great strategic problem solver and also an ex-elite athlete. We were both raised by Dads that pushed us to excel on the sports field. It carries over into your whole life!

 

I throw a rock at the tiger every 10 years so I don’t fall asleep at the wheel or rest on my laurels.  Previously, I left academia and set up Chen Palmer with Sir Geoffrey Palmer as NZ’s first Public Law specialist firm in Wellington. That was hard. I was inaugural Chair of Global Women, I sat on the NZ Securities Commission and the Bank of NZ Board. These were all hard challenges but led to so much learning. Ten years ago, I moved to Auckland and started Chen Palmer here and set up the Superdiversity Institute and NZ Asian Leaders. I started working on Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Parties in the Courts.

 

Leaving Chen Palmer was really hard. I loved my time there, but after almost 29 years there, I had to find my next challenge. When we were named as a top Boutique Law Firm by NZ Lawyer, I knew there was never going to be a better time. So with Sir Geoffrey Palmer’s blessing, and with encouragement from my wonderful husband Dr John Sinclair and my son Jack Chen-Sinclair, I am now focused on Public Law Toolbox Chambers (which is really the next iteration of Chen Palmer) and chairing NZ Asian Lawyers, both of which I founded.


Justice Glazebrook Seminar on 8 November 2022

NZ Asian Lawyers in association with Russell McVeagh are proud to host an event which covers two significant recent Supreme Court cases on tikanga and culture, Ellis v R [2022] NZSC 114 and Deng v Zheng [2022] NZSC 76.

We are honoured and delighted to have the Honourable Justice Susan Glazebrook, who sat on the bench for both cases, address us on the topic. 

All are invited given the significance of this topic for our profession and competent advocacy for clients. The seminar is 1 CPD hour. 

The Zoom will begin at 5:15pm and complete at 6:15pm. Following this, you are invited to remain and join us as we host the NZ Asian Lawyers Christmas Function. 

Date: 8th November 2022

Time: 5:00pm event starts.
          5:15pm seminar and zoom starts.
          6:16pm NZ Asian Lawyers Christmas Function starts.

Venue: Russell McVeagh (Auckland) – level 30, Vero Centre, 48 Shortland Street. 

As there will be a livestream of the seminar please advise if you are attending in person or online.

RSVP: Here.


New Zealand Asian Lawyers Litigation Committee Event

20 October 2022

Following the welcoming of Yvonne Mortimer-Wang (Barrister at Shortland Chambers) and Kavita Deobhakta (Litigation Partner at Morgan Coakle) to the New Zealand Asian Lawyers Litigation Committee, the Committee invited Asian litigators to an informal gathering at Shortland Chambers on the 20th October 2022. This event afforded members the opportunity to meet with Augustine Choi (Co-Chair), Yvonne and Kavita to get to know them in a relaxed social setting. 

Due to the demand for this event, the Committee has decided to run Best lawyering tips – what I would have told my younger lawyer self on how to become a great lawyer, an event in 2023. The exact date is yet to be announced. 

                                                       

                                                       

                                                       


New Zealand Young Asian Lawyers Event

19 October 2022

Mai Chen (Chair of NZ Asian Lawyers), Alison Dymond (Chair of the Young Asian Lawyers Committee) and New Zealand Young Asian Lawyers presented the “Asian Experiences in the Legal Profession” event at Meredith Connell in Auckland. 

Attendees were invited to relax and mingle, as Danielle Cooper (Solicitor at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts) chaired the panel, consisting of Edwina Ma (Tax Director of KPMG), Michael Ip (Criminal Defence Lawyer at the Public Defence Service) and Kishan Gunatanga (Senior Solicitor at Chapman Tripp). 

We would like to thank Max Hardy (Meredith Connell) for hosting this event. 

                                                         

                                                         

                                                         


Panel on Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Litigants in Australian Courts

1 October 2022

Justice Emilios Kyrou (Supreme Court of Victoria) and Honourable Justice Helen Wood (Supreme Court of Tasmania) spoke on a panel, with Mai Chen, about Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Litigants in Australian Courts. 

The Summit, held by the Asian Australian Lawyers Association, had a theme of ‘Many Cultures, One Voice’ and consisted of a stellar line up of professionals, thinkers and performers who openly shared and discussed the vision and roadmap for legal professionals and those in the wider community to work together to build and maintain a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion. 

The video of this zoom summit is yet to be released. 


CALD Issues Paper Launch Event

14 September 2022

The linked report was launched on Monday night (12th September 2022) at The University of Melbourne Law School in conjunction with the Asian Australian Lawyers Association. Along with the launch of the CALD White Paper, the attendees heard speeches from Honourable Paul Coghlan AO QC (former Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria) and her Honour Judge My Anh Tran of the County Court of Victoria. Attendees also heard from a speech from the President of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association, Molina Asthana, and Andrew Godwin, co-author of the White Paper, who moderated the event. 

The purpose of this White Paper is:

  1. to outline for readers in Australia the key findings and recommendations of the CALD Report of the Superdiversity Institute in New Zealand entitled ‘Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Parties in the Courts: A Chinese Case Study’ (the ‘CALD Report’)1, published November 2019;
  2. to outline the changes to the legal landscape elicited by the CALD Report;
  3. to reflect on the insights that the recommendations of the CALD Report offers to Australia;
  4. to propose an action plan for related initiatives to meet the challenges arising out of increasing superdiversity in Australian courts; and
  5. to contribute to public discourse

To read the report please click here.


Interview on TV3 Newshub Nation on the Constitutional Implications of the Death of the Queen for New Zealand. 

14 September 2022

On Saturday 10th September, Mai Chen appeared on TV3’s Newshub Nation to discuss the constitutional implications of the death of Queen Elizabeth for New Zealand. 

Mai discussed how we presently have an unwritten constitution that is held together by conventions, practices and usages. In order for constitutional reform to take place many question must first be answered as to what the structure would look like. 

To change public power in New Zealand the impacts on every part of the system must be considered. 

To watch the interview please see click HERE


Media Release: CALD Issues Paper Launch Event

                                 

05 September 2022
 
The Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA) is proud to announce the Australian launch of the Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (CALD) Issues Paper drafted by Mai Chen and Dr. Andrew Godwin with the support of The University of Melbourne, Super Diversity Institute, and AALA, on 12 September 2022.

CALD parties have long faced barriers that disrupt their access to justice. The CALD Issues Paper seeks to identify these barriers and suggest ways of addressing them. The purpose of this Issues Paper is:

  1. To outline for readers in Australia the key findings and recommendations of the CALD Report of the Superdiversity Institute in New Zealand entitled ‘Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Parties in the Courts: A Chinese Case Study’, published November 2019;
  2. To outline the changes to the legal landscape elicited by the CALD Report;
  3. To reflect on the insights that the recommendations of the CALD Report offers to Australia;
  4. To propose an action plan for related initiatives to meet the challenges arising out of increasing superdiversity in Australian courts; and
  5. To contribute to public discourse.

Following its launch in November 2019, the CALD Report was acknowledged as ground-breaking and has materially assisted the consideration of the unique challenges for CALD parties in getting equal access to justice in New Zealand courts among the judiciary, the legal profession, and the broader community. The report was subsequently cited in the New Zealand Court of Appeal case Zheng v Deng [2020] NZCA 614 and in the recent Supreme Court case of Zheng v Deng [2022] NZSC 76. Given the report’s significant influence in New Zealand’s legal landscape and the long-term impacts of the discourse it has sparked, with a Global Symposium in Cultural Experts in the courts in the Sorbonne in 2023, we believe that these developments will provide valuable insight for Australia with its substantially similar legal system and superdiverse population.

The launch will take place at The University of Melbourne Law School at 5.30 pm (registration) for a 6 pm start (AEST) and will be joined by the Honourable Paul Coghlan AO QC (former Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria) and her Honour Judge My Anh Tran of the County Court of Victoria. The launch will be a hybrid event allowing both in-person and online attendance.

Registration is essential and can be done through the following link –
http://membersuite.aala.org.au/event-4949339

We hope to see as many attendees as possible at the event so that the true impact of the CALD Issues Paper can be realised, thereby promoting greater access to justice for CALD parties in the courts and justice system.

President of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association Molina Asthana says that “This ground-breaking research from New Zealand, as contextualised for Australia, will for the first time explore issues of access to justice for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities in the court system in Australia and recommend actions and initiatives that may assist in overcoming these challenges so that ‘Justice is not only done but seen to have been done’. We want to hear from all interested stakeholders so that the Comprehensive report when published, takes into account views of those who are directly involved in implementation.”

Authors Mai and Andrew state they “hope that the Issues Paper will make a useful contribution to the discourse in Australia and elsewhere concerning the challenges facing CALD parties in the courts and how those challenges might be overcome to ensure everyone gets equal access to justice. We look forward to engaging further with stakeholders on these important Rule of Law issues.” 

For all media inquiries, please contact Molina Asthana on
president@aala.vic.gov.au or 0400785299
Mai.Chen@maichen.nz or +6421565709

                                           


Deng v Zheng Seminar

2 August 2022

The Honourable Justice Goddard, Mai Chen, Jacque Lethbridge and Paul Radich QC presented a seminar on the Supreme Court decision in Deng v Zheng: Guidance on bringing relevant social cultural information to the Court’s attention. 

This event was run in conjunction with the New Zealand Law Society, the New Zealand Bar Association and held at Buddle Findlay. 

Please keep an eye out for the forthcoming issue 2.4.1 of Amicue Curiae, which will feature the article by Mai Chen and Court of Appeal judge, Hon. Justice David Goddard titled “Putting a Social and Cultural Framework on the Evidence Act: Recent New Zealand Supreme Court Guidance.”

To view the video of the Deng v Zheng seminar, click here