Latest News


  • Notice of Special General Meeting. Notice is hereby given of the Criminal Bar Associations Special General Meeting (SGM) to be held at the University of Auckland Business School and via Zoom on Saturday 3 August 2024 at 4.15pm.

  • The Criminal Bar Association provided feedback to Corrections and the Ministry of Justice on the proposal to move defendants remanded in custody closer to their trial location three weeks before trial. See here for the Ministry of Justice's response to our letter and the proposed changes that will be implemented.

  • Legal Eagles Soaring From Their Eyries – click here to read an opinion piece penned by CBA committee member Steven Zindel.

  • Sentencing:  Discounts for youth: click here to read (High Court Judge’s clerk) Kelci Alderton-Armstrong’s recent New Zealand Law Review article on “The Judicial Approach to the Youth Discount in Aotearoa New Zealand”

  •  The CBA sent a letter to Legal Aid in response to the implications of other funded reports due to the defunding of section 27 reports. You can read this here. My thanks are due to James Gurnick from our executive committee who helped with this.
  • The CBA sent submissions to the Chief District Court Judge on the proposed draft bail protocol. You can read the submissions here. A huge thank you to executive committee members Annabel Ives, Emma Priest and Sarah Saunderson-Warner who worked on these.

  • The Chief District Court Judge has released a Limited Licence Practice Note. His Honour issued the Practice Note in order to get greater consistency in how applications for a limited licence under the Land Transport Act 1998 are dealt with in the District Court. You can read this here

  • SC 75/2022 Justin Richard Burke v The King - 

    The Supreme Court’s decision in Burke was released today - the decision can be found here. The decision relates to section 66(2) party liability in the context of homicide (manslaughter). Many thanks are due to Chris Wilkinson-Smith who appeared as lead counsel for the Criminal Bar Association as intervener, together with Adam Simperingham.  Chris and Adam received help from Associate Professor James Mehigan from Canterbury University Law Faculty, and Rory Bevins (University of Otago/Woodward Chrisp).

  • In August 2023 the Office of the Inspectorate of the Department of Corrections issued a report on the prison management of pregnant women and mothers of infant children.  The report “Mothers and Babies” examines the management of pregnant women, those in prison with a child in the community and opportunities for mothers with children in the community to maintain support of parental relationships.  The conclusion is that all three of the women’s prisons have well-resourced and inviting spaces for mothers to care for their children under 24 months old but that the facilities are under used and their potential only partially fulfilled.  The report will be of interest to practitioners acting for women prisoners/defendants. FINAL Inspectorate thematic report - Mothers and Babies.pdf


  • The 2023 budget did not provide increases in legal aid funding, particularly the duty lawyer rate remained frozen at its 2006 rate. A Special General Meeting of CBA will be called to discuss action and to consider legal advise regarding professional obligations while pursuing this campaign.


  • In November 2022 a CBA group met with the Minister of Justice to discuss topics including; legal aid, name suppression, judicial resources, name suppression and prisoner issues.
  • Following the 2022 CBA meet with the Legal Services Commissioners to raise concerns that the announced budget increases to legal aid were not resulting in substantial increases to legal aid and particularly noted the low rates for duty solicitors and fixed fees. 
  • Successful CBA Conference in Auckland 5 - 7 August, this included the new Minister of Justice the Honourable Kiri Allan, the Chief Justice Justice Winkelmann , Justice Kos, President Cooper, Chief High Court Judge Thomas and Chief District Court Judge Taumaunu.  Conference Dinner at the Auckland Museum.
  • CBA has appeared in Court of Appeal and Supreme Court as intervenor on issues including murder sentencing and access to mental health services and hopes to appear in further cases in 2023.
  • CBA making submissions to parliamentary select committees and participating in the CPIP workstream consultation process and contributing to  High Court Disclosure working group.

CBA Update - April 2024

18 Apr 2024

Gisborne Weekend

On the weekend of 22 March 2024, I organized a weekend of events in Gisborne for CBA members. The event wasn’t attended by a large group of people but I was told that it was more about quality than quantity!  We had drinks and dinner with members of the local bar, but for me the highlight of the weekend was our Captain Cook tour. Two of our local lawyers and historians, Barney Tupara and Joe Martin gave an account of Cook’s arrival in Aotearoa from the perspective of māori and pakeha. This included a guided walk to Cook’s Cove, at Tologa Bay.


Request for increase to Legal Aid remuneration

Of greater significance, (Vice President) Annabel Cresswell and I met with the Minister of Justice, Hon Paul Goldsmith, at the Beehive last Wednesday (10 April 2024). Also in attendance was Tracey Baguley, of the Ministry of Justice/Legal Aid Services.  The meeting was a follow up to what Mr. Goldsmith described as our CBA “letter of woe”, in which we had advised of the difficulties facing our criminal bar, and the need for an increase in legal aid remuneration. (A copy of that letter dated 18 March 2024 can be found here.)  Mr. Goldsmith expressed a degree of sympathy with our contention that over the past 25 years legal aid rates had not kept pace with inflation. However, he expressed concerns that our timing isn’t great, given that the Government is looking to decrease costs. 

We advised Mr. Goldsmith that our survey results indicated that 84% of respondents were in favour of “withdrawing services” if our request for an increase to remuneration (and the other demands in our letter) are not met. 

Annabel and I highlighted the need for a sustainable criminal bar. We confirmed the important role that you all play in relation to the rule of law within our democracy. We highlighted concerns that the number of senior practitioners is withering; and that we need more lawyers to see criminal defence work as an acceptable career path to ensure that there will be enough defence lawyers in the future.  Although we couldn’t reach agreement on some topics (e.g. Three Strikes), the meeting was convivial and constructive. We agreed to keep the Government updated in relation to our intentions, so that we avoid surprises and keep open the channels of communication.

Mr. Goldsmith asked Annabel and I to ask you if you can suggest any ways in which the Ministry of Justice might be able to trim costs in other areas, to free up funds for legal aid.  Please email any of your suggestions to us at or phone me on 0212220238.

We await opinions from Ben Hamblin and Dr Rodney Harrison KC in relation to legal issues arising from our proposal to engage in industrial action. Following on from and subject to their advice, and of course any substantive reply from the Minister in response to our “letter of woe”, we envisage holding an online Special General Meeting to obtain a formal mandate from our members in relation to industrial action.  We are approaching the above issues with caution and are listening to our members, including those who do not favour industrial action.

We hope to give you an update within the next few weeks in relation to our next step forward.


Legal Aid issues – payment delays and registrars adjournments

Annabel Cresswell and (fellow vice president) Sumudu Thode met with Tracey Baguley on 20 March 2024. Tracey spoke about awaiting a review and report from KPMG regarding the duty lawyer review (which should be with the advisory group by mid-April) and acknowledged the challenges faced by the criminal bar. The Ministry is looking at ways to encourage junior lawyers to be involved in Trials and also looking at a review of Sexual Violence approval levels.

The CBA will work closely with the MOJ on these initiatives and update you further in the coming months.


Proposed Law Changes

The Criminal Bar Association filed submissions with Parliament on recent proposed law changes. These included :

Gangs Legislation Amendment Bill 

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Firearms Prohibition Orders Legislation Amendment Bill

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Corrections Amendment Bill

Courts (Remote Participation) Amendment Bill.

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A big thank you to committee members Annabel Ives, Emma Priest, Sumudu Thode and Steven Zindel for taking the lead on these.


Gowns for remote hearings in the High Court

It was recently brought to our attention that gowns are required for all High Court hearings, including those where counsel appear via VMR/remotely. Protocol for Participation in Remote Hearings — Courts of New Zealand (



The CBA held the first of the CBA Short Series seminars that will be held throughout the year. Emma Priest and James Bridgman spoke about R v Mo’unga [2023] NZHC 1967: Have we all been sentencing the wrong way? 

James also spoke on the sentencing calculator app he created that is available for download for both Android and iPhone.

Android: Bridgman Sentencing Calculator – Apps on Google Play

iPhone: Bridgman Sentencing Calculator on the App Store (

We are grateful to Emma and James for their work, time and effort.

We envisage holding further webinars in the near future and will keep you updated. If there are particular topics that you’d like to hear on, please contact


District Court Annual Report 2023

The District Court Annual Report for 2023 for anyone who wishes to read it can be found here:

Of note are the statistics and comments on pages 24 – 26 which speak of a 15% increase in new cases, a 23% increase in jury trials, and the following quote:

“In 2022-23, the active criminal caseload became more complex, with a higher proportion of Category 3 cases. This is driven by increases in new Category 3 cases surpassing increases in resolutions of category 3 cases and the fact the time taken to dispose of Category 3 cases is increasing at a greater rate than for other case categories.”


Latest on s38 reports for sentence from Te Whatu Ora

After waiting six months for a Court ordered s38 report for sentence following a jury trial in August 2023, Kelly-Ann Stoikoff (of our CBA committee and a senior lawyer at the Manukau PDS) received notification from Te Whatu Ora on 14 February 2024 that they would not be providing the Court with a report.

Te Whatu Ora stated that the ruling in Maake-Wanahi v Attorney General [2023] NZCA 271  clarified the roles and responsibilities of the Regional Forensic Mental Health Services in the provision of Court ordered mental health assessments.

Te Whatu Ora had engaged with the Ministries of Justice and Health and laid out a proposal where reports under s38(1)(c) and (d) and s38(2)(a) in the community would have the lowest priority and Te Whatu Ora would not provide reports.

Kelly-Ann filed a memo to the trial Judge attaching the letter from Te Whatu Ora asking the Judge to re-order the s38 report from a named psychologist.

The Judge ordered a new s38 report directed to the nominated psychologist.

The upshot seems to be that when requesting s38 reports, counsel should insist that the Judge’s direction should specify a named psychiatrist who is to carry out the work and prepare the report.


New Committee

Last, but not least, the CBA’s AGM was held on 27 March 2024. Our elected committee members for 2024 are: Adam Simperingham (President), Annabel Cresswell (Vice President), Sumudu Thode (Vice President), Jacob Barry, Tony Bouchier, James Gurnick, Katrina Hamblin, Jonathan Hudson, Annabel Ives, Emma Priest, Sarah Saunderson-Warner and Kelly-Ann Stoikoff.

We have also co-opted the following members onto our committee, to assist us with our work: Chris Wilkinson Smith (Immediate Past President), Kathy Basire, Douglas Ewen, Kris Gledhill, Duncan McWilliam and Steven Zindel.

Annabel, Sumudu and I are grateful to our committee members for their assistance, and to for your ongoing support and membership.


Adam Simperingham

CBA President


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