Perceptions of the Bar from above (CPD 1.5 hrs)

5:00pm Tuesday, 21 November 2023
6:30pm Tuesday, 21 November 2023
CPD Training
At your desk or device
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New Zealand

In this webinar, each of our three speakers is a KC who moved from private practice to a new role, which gave them a unique perspective of the bar. One became Attorney-General, the other was appointed as Solicitor-General, and the third joined the High Court bench. They have all since returned to the Bar: two have resumed practice; the third is a mediator and arbitrator. Join our webinar chair, Nikki Pender (Kate Sheppard Chambers) as she chats with Hon. Christopher Finlayson KC, Michael Heron KC and Hon. Paul Heath KC.

Our Chair, Nicky Pender will be asking them:

  • How did their perception of the bar change when they viewed it from a different vantage point?
  • What particular insights about the role of barristers did they glean from their official role?
  • How has their practice changed since returning to the independent bar?
  • What advice can a former Law Officer give to other officers of the Court?
  • What differences are there between the decision-making role of a High Court Judge and that of an arbitrator?
  • What differences (good and bad) are there between advocacy practised in the courts as compared to arbitrations?

Our Presenters


Hon. Christopher Finlayson KC

Christopher Finlayson was born and educated in Wellington. After graduating with a BA in Latin and an LLM from Victoria University, he practised law in Wellington as a solicitor before going to the Bar in 2002. He was elected to Parliament in 2005 and became Attorney-General and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations in 2008. Mr Finlayson held those positions until October 2017. During his Ministerial career, he also held a number of other portfolios. He was chair of the Privileges Committee of Parliament from 2011-2017.

Mr Finlayson retired from Parliament on 30 January 2019 to return to the Bar.

In the course of his career, Mr Finlayson has served on a number of professional bodies, including The New Zealand Council for Legal Education, The Rules Committee of the High Court, The New Zealand Council of Law Reporting and a number of New Zealand Law Society Committees.

Outside of law, Mr Finlayson has had extensive involvement in arts and culture. He previously served as chair of the Arts Board of Creative New Zealand and was a trustee of a number of arts organisations before he entered Parliament. Since leaving Parliament, he has become a trustee of Chamber Music New Zealand, The Archibald Baxter Memorial Trust and the Adam Foundation. He is a board member of the NZSO and Te Urewera.

Mr Finlayson is a foundation author of McGechan on Procedure, the leading text on the practice and procedure of the Senior Courts of New Zealand. In 2018, he received a grant from the New Zealand Law Foundation to complete a book on the Crown Māori relationship, and he has also written a book on the Office of the Attorney-General, published in 2022.


Michael Heron KC

Michael Heron KC is a former Solicitor-General of New Zealand and QC/KC since 2012.  He is a founder of Britomart Chambers and legal/tech companies CODR Ltd (now Immediation NZ), Agreeable Ltd and Glorious Digital (digital art).  His practice is primarily in inquiries, investigations and reviews of all types, together with government, security, technology and sporting matters. 

Michael is a judicial officer in rugby, cricket and other international sports.  He is a director of NZ Regco (the regulatory body of NZX).  He has practised at the independent bar since 2016.


Hon. Paul Heath KC

Hon. Paul Heath KC was called to the New Zealand Bar in 1978. In 1998, he was appointed Queen’s Counsel. In March 2002, after serving for five years as a consultant (two years) and member (three years) of the New Zealand Law Commission, Paul was appointed as a Judge of the High Court of New Zealand. Between 2003 and 2017, he sat as an ad hoc member of the Court of Appeal on numerous occasions, on both the Civil Appeal Division and Criminal Appeal Division. Paul was also a Commercial List Judge and a member of the Commercial Panel of the High Court when he retired from the Bench in April 2018 and joined Bankside Chambers. He is also an Associate at South Square in London, the leading set of insolvency and restructuring chambers.

Paul practises primarily as an arbitrator, both in domestic and international arbitrations. He also provides commercial mediation services and strategic advice in complex disputes, particularly in his specialist field of insolvency and restructuring. He is one of a number of members of Bankside Chambers who also have rooms at Maxwell Chambers in Singapore.

Paul is currently Chief Justice of the Pitcairn Islands and a Judge of the Court of Appeal of Tonga and has recently been appointed as a Judge of the Court of Appeal of Fiji.


Nikki Pender (Chair)

Nikki is a barrister at Kate Sheppard Chambers. Nikki began her career at the Crown Law Office, where she appeared regularly for the Crown in judicial review and commercial-regulatory matters. Nikki has 30 years of experience representing private sector clients and regulatory agencies in civil, competition, disciplinary and public law matters. She also contributes to policy development and law reform, particularly in the justice sector. Nikki is the founding director of Legal Empowerment, which provides witness familiarisation and expert witness skills training in Australia and New Zealand. She also teaches and coaches advocacy skills.

This webinar is free to members of the NZBA 

Register using your NZBA email login to get the member price of $0.

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This webinar presentation is free to all members. 

If you are unable to attend the live event please register to later receive the recording.

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Group pricing is available to non-members as follows:

  • 3-4 attendees - $98.00 
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