The Top Barristers Nudging The LawFuel Power List

Julian Miles on LawFuel Power List

The Power List features 12 barristers, lead by David Goddard QC and including some of the major names in the law.  Senior silks like Jim Farmer, David Williams and Robert Fisher have been at the forefront of the profession for many years.


However, the changing nature of the bar also sees others who are nudging the List, including the following senior barristers.

Jack Hodder QC

The Top Barristers Nudging The LawFuel Power List 1

Jack Hodder QC Former Chapman Tripp senior litigator Jack Hodder has continued to demonstrate his power plays through his recent representation of former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley, and fellow directors Peter Gomm, Clive Tilby, and Sir Paul Collins who were all directors of the failed Mainzeal Construction company in 2013.

He was also hired by the Free Speech Coalition when they sought judicial review proceedings against the Auckland Council, after it banned Canadians Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux from using council facilities for public addresses.

Hodder has continued to build his appellate and trial repetoire with a range of top draw clients from the Crown to Fonterra in the case brought by Dairy Farmers under the Dairy Industry Restructing Act, to the iwi fight brought by   Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei seeking another chance to stop land in central Auckland from being offered to neighbouring tribe Ngāti Paoa.

Return to the Power List Here

Jonathan Eaton QC

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Jonathan Eaton QC, the leading Christchurch-based barrister sat on the list last year and has been outed temporarily as he continues to represent a number of clients in high profile criminal cases.

In January this year he was appearing for Dunedin doctor Venod
Skantha, accused of murdering a teenage girl, attempting unsuccessfully to have the accused’ trial moved from Dunedin.

The QC has represented defendants on some of the highest profile criminal defence cases such as the South Canterbury Finance prosecution and the George Gwaze manslaughter case, the recent case involving Yealands Vinyards and Marlborough Lines and also representing Mark Lundy during his second trial for killing his wife and child in Palmerston North in 2000.

Return to the Power List Here

Julian Miles QC

Julian Miles on LawFuel Power List

Julian Miles has been something of a household name in the law and beyond for more years than many might remember, but he continues to exert an influence at the bar as one of the foremost barristers in the country.

With experience in commercial litigation, defamation, media law, intellectual property and information technology disputes, he remains highly sought after by clients to lead complex commercial litigation. A litigation partner with Bell Gully from 1969 to 1990, when he went to the independent bar. He took silk the following year, later becoming President of the New Zealand Bar Association and President of the Medico-Legal Society.

As one of only four practitioners ranked in band 1 of the Dispute Resolution Bar in New Zealand by Chambers Global, Julian Miles has a wide ranging commercial and appellate practice with particular expertise in media, intellectual property law and employment law.

Recent significant cases have involved his representing Air New Zealand in their dispute with the airline pilots, representing dairy company Lewis Road in their fight with Fonterra and representing perennial litigator Colin Craig in his appeal from Justice Kit Toogood’s decision regarding the defamation case against WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater.

Return to the Power List Here

Bruce Stewart QC

Bruce Stewart QC

Auckland QC Bruce Stewart has handled a range of high profile cases ranging from representing former Hanover co-owner Mark Hotchin in his fight for greater living expenses following court orders, to the prosecution to the Capital + Merchant Finance case that saw a brief attempt to hire his own QC to represent his interests.

He also acted in a major dispute involving so-called ‘Putin banker’ Sergei Pugachev as well as other heavyweight cases that have established him as one of the country’s leading litigators.

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Kate Davenport

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The head of the NZ Bar Association, Kate Davenport has influence by virtue of her heading the Association as well as an extensive litigation background encompassing equity, relationship property and other areas of focus.

Heavily involved in issues including gender matters, the Bankside Chambers’ barrister has also had an active involvement in professional regulation as well as serving as Deputy Chair of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal current Deputy Chair of the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal.

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Michael Ring QC

As one of the country’s foremost insurance litigators, Michael Ring has been a busy man with the many and varied insurance issues that have beset the country in recent years.  His low profile pubicly (we couldn’t even locate his picture) belies his influence and effectiveness as a leading advocate and expert in insurance law and dispute resolution.

Bruce Gray QC

Bruce Gray QC

Bruce Gray’s litigation and appellate practice places him firmly in the upper ranks of the litigation firmament.

His work in securities and commercial litigation, as well as in insurance cases surrounding the Christchurch earthquakes and media and defamation work are testament to his reputation and extensive abilities.

He has also acted in insolvency and in a relatively recent trademark dispute between Coca Cola and Pepsi, when he acted for the former.

More recently he has represented former Defence Minister Dr Wayne Mapp in the now infamous NZSAS raid in Afghanistan, known as Operation Burnham.

Return to the Power List Here

Peter McKnight


Wellington’s Peter McKnight has long been one of the country’s leading defamation lawyers, but his major win in the lawsuit against Colin Craig  truly cemented his position as an advocate and expert not to be readily tangled with.


The record-setting Craig verdict of $1.27 million follows numerous other courtroom wins in an area of law notorious for its complexity and uncertain courtroom results.

Nonetheless, Peter McKnight’s background as a leading media lawyer representing Fairfax’s interests while a partner at Izard Weston and his work since becoming a barrister sole has seen a hectic workload punctuated by equally resounding results in his specialist area.

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Colin Carruthers QC


One of New Zealand’s most experienced barristers, Colin Carruthers QC has a raft of high profile defence and prosecutions in his CV.  

The junior to late Chief Justice Sir Thomas Eichelbaum when the two were at Chapman Tripp, Colin Carruther’s list of cases is as extensive as his Martinborough vinyard.

Handling the prosecution of the South Canterbury Finance directors, to representing Sir Ngatata Love in his fraud trial, Colin Carruther’s legal repetoire is extensive and impressive, albeit slowing somewhat.

Return to the Power List Here

Geoff Clews

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Geoff Clews has been a long-established leader in the tax law arena, in both a civil and criminal context and is one of the few New Zealand barristers who has developed a strong reputation in the area.

His expertise extends from every part of tax issues and at all appellate levels, achieving significant recognition for his expertise in the area, including for his advocacy.

Robert Lithgow QC


Adopting something of an enfant terrible persona, the Wellington-based QC is frequently used as a media source for some of the more vexed and difficult results that emerge from the justice system.  He famously described the Court of Appeal as a ‘complete waste of time’  when interviewed over miscarriages of justice in 2006.

His ability to interpret the law and comment often controversially on decisions that may appear vexed to many has made him something of a refreshing change from the usually more predictable ‘steady-as-she-goes’ legal commentators.

In 2015 he also criticised the lack of transparency and other factors surrounding the appointment of QCs, saying in a Law Society article that the Crown Law Office, NZLS and NZBA should “apologise to the very many unsuccessful candidates”. He says their application fees should be returned.

“The disappointed candidates cannot say these things publicly.  “I can, so I do.”

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