Farewelling a favourite

We would like to advise our clients and business friends that at the end of November we will farewell our long standing partner Celia Barker.  Celia has decided to take the time to “design a second life” and therefore will be retiring as a partner of our firm.

Celia joined Cavell Leitch in 1980, her first work being with the litigation team, before moving to work on subdivisions, property, business and Trust and Estate planning work from 1983.  She recalls that at that time her first appearance in court was to obtain a divorce for a client, which stopped needing a court appearance so long ago that most will have forgotten that it used to require one.  She worked in the Christchurch offices in Manchester Street, Hereford St in the National Bank building, and then in Clarendon Tower. After some years there she became the first full time solicitor at the Riccarton branch of Cavell Leitch in 1993. She managed the Riccarton office for a number of years until it was ‘red stickered’ by CERA due to risk of collapse from the next door building. She then moved to the Hazeldean premises post-earthquake in 2012.

Being the first female solicitor at Cavell Leitch is something that Celia remains immensely proud of. At the time she graduated with her law degree she was one of only just over 100 women in New Zealand who held a practising certificate. Seeing the Cavell Leitch partnership grow to include so many female partners and in that regard outstrip most other legal firms in New Zealand has been a career highlight for Celia.

Celia has built a reputation for being a caring and diligent professional, always prioritising the needs of her clients. She acknowledges that throughout her career her main interest has always been people "I have appreciated being able to help clients to achieve both their personal and investment projects, to allay their fears and worries and help them make important decisions or obtain peace of mind in respect to their business and family affairs".

Celia has also been a wonderful mentor for young solicitors over the years, investing her time in training them and encouraging them at the outset of their careers.

Time is something that Celia is looking forward to, time for herself and time to plan her next adventure. She is lucky enough to have friends and relatives all over the world and having no work commitments means she will be able to plan a multitude of adventures which will include seeing them, as well as some more tramping and skiing in NZ and also skiing overseas.

We wish Celia all the best with her next stage of life and thank her for her lasting commitment and loyalty to our firm.

Calling the shots on disciplinary issues in sport

Written by Christopher Newman - Senior Solicitor (Employment)

We Kiwis love our sport, and amateur and community sports clubs are the backbone of our communities. However, largely run by volunteers, the rules and regulations of the game, and importantly the enforcement of those rules and regulations, can be grossly inconsistent between and within codes. This is perhaps best seen at the grassroots level, and especially when disciplining players who do not follow those rules. While the people who volunteer their time are to be commended, there are downsides to volunteer led processes. They tend to have an element of inconsistency in outcomes, which can result in penalties that are inherently unfair to the players concerned.

This issue was highlighted in a recent premier rugby league case where a player appealed a decision of the Canterbury Rugby League Incorporated Judicial Panel (the Panel) to suspend him for 13 years from all levels of rugby league in Canterbury. For his part, the player accepted he had pushed the referee, but felt the 13 year suspension was excessive. We agreed. On appeal, the Southern Zone Appeals Committee (the Appeals Committee) reduced the penalty to 2 years and 3 months.

Read more here.

Who keeps the bling?

Written by Anna Worrill - Associate (Relationships)

With more couples choosing to invest a significant amount of money in their engagement ring, when an engagement is called off, the question of who keeps the ring can be contentious and have a significant impact on the division of property between partners or spouses.

If an engaged couple separate before being in a qualifying de facto relationship pursuant to the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (PRA), that is living together in the nature of marriage, the Domestic Actions Act 1975 (Domestic Actions Act) allows the court to “restore each party…as closely as practicable to the position that party would have occupied” had the agreement to marry not been entered into.

Accordingly, where a couple become engaged and agree to marry, and purchase an engagement ring in contemplation of their marriage, in the event that they separate, the partner who purchased the ring is able to apply to the court for its return, or compensation for its value.

Read more here.

Trans-Tasman disputes – out of which court do I sue?

Written by Sam Cowan - Senior Solicitor (Litigation)

With the evolution of the ‘global economy’, disputes between parties who reside or do business in different countries are now commonplace. Disputes between New Zealanders and Australians are governed by the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010. This Act simplifies the process and reduces costs for resolving civil disputes where the parties or the subject matter of the dispute spans both countries.

The regime allows a person in New Zealand with a claim against someone in Australia to commence proceedings in a New Zealand Court and serve the Australian party in Australia without having to first show that the New Zealand Court is the appropriate court to determine the dispute (the same applies for a person in Australia commencing proceedings in Australia against someone in New Zealand).  Under the regime, however, the Australian party can apply to the New Zealand Court to halt the New Zealand proceedings on the basis an Australian Court is best suited to determine the dispute. 

We recently represented an Australian client who was served with proceedings out of the High Court in Auckland.  The general basis of the NZ party’s claim was that it had loaned our client a sum of money and, while our client had repaid that money, they had not paid interest on the loan.

Read more here.

New fire levies: A hot topic!

Written by Mike Parker - Partner (Property)

The Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017 (the Act), which came into force earlier this year, has the potential to have significant financial implications for commercial property owners, and their tenants.

The Act replaces the Fire Services Act 1975 and the Forrest & Rural Fire Act 1975. It has been designed to ensure NZ has a modern, fit for purpose, and well funded fire service that addresses long standing issues such as under funding of rural fire.

The Act established Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) on 1 July 2017, bringing together around 40 urban and rural fire fighting services to deliver one comprehensive national emergency service.

However, under new funding structures proposed in the Act, the commercial property sector looks set to contribute more than its share of FENZ’s funding requirements.

Read more here.

Grow your knowledge - Cavell Leitch Illuminate Series

We have developed presentations covering the legal topics you are interested in. This series will include presentations from a range of our specialist teams and cover both professional and personal areas.
There will be no charge for these events and drinks and nibbles will be provided. These presentations will offer you with the opportunity to learn and ask questions in a relaxed and social atmosphere.

How to deal with competing legal obligations in complex family situations

  • In new relationships
  • On death

Wednesday 8th November, 5.30pm

Please email Rebecca Smith for more information and to register for our Illuminate series seminars.