The Barristers

Christopher Stevenson

Christopher Stevenson is a senior defence barrister with over 20 years experience.

Christopher has acted in many significant cases, including the "Urewera Four” trial, multiple major homicide trials (achieving a number of unlikely acquittals), and is currently acting in cases involving "Mr Big" stings and the historic 1987 Red Fox Tavern robbery and murder.

Christopher has also led many successful appeals involving matters of significant public importance in both the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, covering topics from the right to trial by jury (SC), unreasonable verdicts (Full Bench CA), the limits of party liability (SC), the constitutionality of life without parole, trial procedure and mens rea for youth, and the propriety of the crown calling jailhouse informants (SC). He has also engaged in litigation against the crown, and was most recently counsel for intervenors in the Full Bench Court of Appeal review of sentencing for methamphetamine in New Zealand.

Christopher has also appeared in the Privy Council, Coroners Court, professional disciplinary tribunals, and conducted complex and trans-national civil litigation. 

Christopher graduated Otago University Bachelor Laws and Bachelor Arts 1996. He is a founder of the New Zealand Defence Lawyers Association, a former refugee support worker, a long time international member of the American Defence Lawyers Association, and has presented on behalf of the New Zealand Law Society on topics from conducting appeals to propensity and youth facing trial.

Contact details are:

P: (04) 499 2600 

M: 027 2333363

Elizabeth Hall

Elizabeth specialises in criminal law. A graduate of Otago University she was admitted to the bar in 1998 and has appeared in all courts within NZ jurisdiction including the Privy Council and the Supreme Court. Elizabeth has acted as intervenor in the Court of Appeal in Zhang  (methamphetamine sentencing) and on guilty plea discounts in sentencing (April 2020).

Elizabeth has successfully defended at trial clients charged with every manner of criminal charge - from murder, terrorism, sexual violence, aggravated robbery, fraud. Elizabeth has achieved success in the appeal courts - overturning murder, sexual violation, serious assault convictions. Elizabeth is known for her tenacity and unfailing commitment to her clients.

Elizabeth is the co-founder of Defence Lawyers Association and is a contributing author to a leading criminal law text. She is a faculty member of the Litigation Skills programme and an active committee member for the NZ Law Society and the Wellington District Law Society. Elizabeth was the sole prosecutor for Wellington for the SPCA from 2010 until 2018.  In 2012 Elizabeth was the recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medallion to recognise her volunteer work. 

Contact details are:

P: (04) 9399039

M: 021 891199

Jo Hughson

Jo has 20 years’ experience as a civil litigator. She specialises in professional regulation, complaints and discipline, associated administrative law and appeal proceedings, health law and civil litigation. She has many years' experience conducting investigations, and prosecuting disciplinary charges. ​

A graduate of Victoria University of Wellington she was admitted to the Bar in 1997. Prior to commencing practise as a barrister in 2003 she was an Associate at national law firm Kensington Swan and had worked as a litigation solicitor in Ireland’s leading commercial law firm, McCann FitzGerald.

Since 2015 Jo has been the Chair of the Social Workers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal and previously she chaired Complaints Assessment Committees established under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008. 

Contact details are:

T: (04) 494 2935

M: 027 4893380

Peter Ross

A graduate of Victoria University, Peter was admitted to the bar in 2011, and has practised law in the Wellington region since then.

Peter frequently appears in all of the Wellington Courts, appearing as counsel in jury and judge-alone trials. He has successfully defended criminal matters involving violence, dishonesty, sexual crimes, drugs, firearms, and driving matters.  Peter also has a successful appeal practice - appealing bail decisions, sentences, and convictions

Peter has enthusiasm, passion, and unwavering commitment to getting the best possible outcome for his clients.

Contact details for Peter are:

P: (04) 527 3083 

M: 027 579 6903

Julia Spelman.jpg

Julia Spelman

Julia Spelman (Ngāti Hikairo me Ngāti Pākehā) was admitted to the bar in 2012 and is now a barrister sole specialising in criminal law. Julia has acted for clients facing a wide range of criminal charges including traffic matters, drugs, violence, sexual assault, and murder. Julia also has experience with parole hearings, inquests, and has appeared in appeals to the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

Julia has a strong commitment to social justice and is a co-founder and Board member of JustSpeak, a youth-based movement advocating for transformative change in the criminal justice system.

Julia is able to take direct instructions privately and is an approved PAL 3 legal aid provider. 

Her contact details are:

M: 021 08906353

Carla Dawson

Carla Dawson was admitted to the bar in 2019 after graduating with Honours in Law from Auckland University. She joined Pipitea Chambers as a Junior Barrister the same year.

In addition to her law degree, Carla also has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Otago and previously worked as a Laboratory Technician. She brings a solid working knowledge of the scientific process to her legal career, which is of special relevance to cases where the prosecution relies on DNA or other forensic evidence.


Passionate about social justice issues, Carla was heavily involved in the Equal Justice Project while at Auckland University, a student organisation active in the community and providing pro bono legal research services to human rights projects nationally.

Carla is a Supervised Provider employed by Christopher Stevenson.

Her contact details are:

M: 021 1956866

Ruby O'Hagan

Ruby O’Hagan graduated from Victoria University of Wellington in 2019 with a conjoint degree in Law and Arts (Development Studies and International Relations) and was admitted to the bar in 2020.

During her studies Ruby undertook volunteer work supporting former refugees in the community and advocating for asylum seekers’ rights. In 2018, Ruby was awarded the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Latin America and completed her studies in Medellin, Colombia. She then moved to India and interned for an international NGO combatting human trafficking and bonded labour in South Asia.

Ruby is a supervised provider employed by Elizabeth Hall.

Contact details are:

P: (04) 939 9039

M: 021 204 0810


Pipitea Chambers
202 Thorndon Quay, Wellington 6011

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