Government Appoints New Cease and Desist Commissioners

LAWFUEL – NZ Law Announcements – Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel today announced the appointment of the Honourable Sir Ian Barker and Helen Cull, Q.C. as Cease and Desist Commissioners for a term of five years.

Cease and Desist Commissioners can make orders to restrain anti-competitive conduct, or to require a person to do something to restore competition or the potential for competition in a market.

The role was created in 2001 and provides the Commerce Commission with an alternative to seeking interim injunctions from the High Court against anti-competitive behaviour.

Lianne Dalziel said she was pleased with the appointments as both the new Commissioners have direct experience in competition law.

“I am confident their expertise and reputations will serve to strengthen public confidence in the office,” Lianne Dalziel said.

Lianne Dalziel also acknowledged the services of outgoing Commissioner Terence Stapleton, and the late Fiona Bolwell who were the inaugural appointees to the office.

Biographical notes

The Honourable Sir Ian Barker, Q.C. retired as a Senior Judge of the High Court of New Zealand in May 1997 after 21 years of service on the Bench, including 11 years as Judge-in-Charge of the Commercial List. He is a past President of the New Zealand Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute, member of arbitration panels in several Pacific Rim arbitration centres, has chaired several arbitral tribunals for the International Chamber of Commerce’s Court of Arbitration in Paris, and serves on several Pacific Courts of Appeal. He is also a New Zealand Government nominee to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes’ Panel of Arbitrators.

Helen Cull, Q.C. has extensive experience in a range of litigation and in public law. She has chaired several national inquiries including the State Services Commission Scampi Inquiry, the G Parry Inquiry, Mental Health Inquiries, the Chest Physiotherapy Inquiry and the Fire Service Inquiry. She has served as a company director and board member of several statutory bodies.
Helen Cull is currently a Director of Solid Energy New Zealand, Senior Advisory District Inspector of Mental Health, member of the New Zealand Law Society Ethics Committee, and an independent board member of the New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association.

Background on Cease and Desist Commissioners
Two individuals are required to be appointed as Cease and Desist Commissioners and must be either a barrister or solicitor. Appointments are made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister of Commerce.

Since 2001, sections 74A to 74D of the Commerce Act 1986 has provided specific powers for the Commerce Commission to seek orders from a Cease and Desist Commissioner against anti-competitive behaviour, as an alternative to seeking interim injunctions from the High Court. The aim was to have a more timely and effective enforcement of the Commerce Act.

The role of Cease and Desist Commissioners is quasi-judicial. They are appointed for the sole purpose of hearing and determining applications. At every hearing for a cease and desist order, the Commerce Commission and the person against whom an order is sought, are entitled to appear and give evidence.

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