Last Year – 14
From Pike River to prisoners’ rights, the hirsute Christchurch KC is also known as something of a ‘disaster lawyer’ with his involvement in a range of the country’s worst, recent tragedies and disasters including representing victims in the collapse of the Christchurch CTV building during the 2011 earthquake, the Pike River coal mine disaster victims’ families, the enquiry into the Whakaari/White Island eruption and families involved in the Christchurch mosque shooting.
He has inherited a mantle of indomitable influence in the profession and relating to legal issues generally. A member of the Criminal Law Appeals Commission and a vastly experienced criminal lawyer, Nigel Hampton’s role as a legal ‘influencer’ is as great as anyone, seeing him moving up the rankings for 2021.
He has been recognised publicly with an OBE and as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to the law.
From topping his law graduate class at the University of Canterbury in 1964, Hampton’s 53-year career has seen him chair the New Zealand Law Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, become the first Disciplinary Commissioner of Counsel at the International Criminal Court in 2007, and serve as Chief Justice of the Kingdom of Tonga.
A significant thought leader on legal issues, including his recent comments concerning the Corrections’ practices regarding advising prisoners of adverse court decisions following the sudden death of a Dunedin convicted murderer Venod Skantha, who was convicted of murdering Dunedin teenager Amber-Rose Rush in 2018, has sparked a “life-saver” change to national court processes. But the knowledge and wisdom of the vastly experienced and level-headed lawyer continue to lift his Power status.