The Barristers

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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:

cstevenson@xtra.co.nz

P: (04) 499 2600 

M: 027 2333363

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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: 

elizabeth@elizabethhall.co.nz

P: (04) 9399039

M: 021 891199

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Jo Hughson

Jo Hughson is a senior barrister with over 20 years’ experience. Admitted in September 1997, Jo is an experienced civil litigator with expertise in professional regulation, complaints and discipline, administrative law, and independent investigations and inquiries. She has extensive experience in inquisitorial practice. She regularly conducts independent investigations including workplace investigations for private and state sector entities covering a range of misconduct issues including alleged breaches of codes of conduct, fraudulent conduct, bullying, harassment and workplace culture issues, sexually inappropriate behaviour and breaches of privacy. She has many years’ experience, primarily as a prosecutor, before the New Zealand Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal and predecessor tribunals, gained since 1998.


Jo is the current Chairperson of the Social Workers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal (an appointment by the Minister of Social Development), a Chairperson of the Judicial Committee of the Veterinary Council of New Zealand and a Deputy Chairperson of the New Zealand Teachers’ Disciplinary Tribunal. Through her work in these roles she has up to date knowledge and understanding of tribunals law and processes and of associated access to justice issues.


A graduate of Victoria University of Wellington, prior to joining the independent bar in October 2003 Jo was an Associate at Kensington Swan (now Dentons Kensington Swan) and she had worked as a Litigation solicitor in Ireland’s leading commercial law firm, McCann FitzGerald. Jo is a member of the New Zealand Bar Association, the Australia and New Zealand Education Law Association and through her role as a Tribunal Chairperson she participates in training and professional development through the Council of Australasian Tribunals (COAT). 

Contact details are:

jo.hughson@xtra.co.nz

T: (04) 494 2935

M: 027 4893380

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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:

peter@pjross.co.nz

P: (04) 527 3083 

M: 027 579 6903

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Julia Spelman

Ngāti Hikairo ki Kawhia

Admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of NZ (2012)

BA/LLB(Hons) | Victoria University of Wellington


Julia is a strong court advocate who provides clear, easy to understand advice to her clients. Julia has acted for clients facing a wide range of criminal charges including traffic matters, drugs, violence, sexual assault, and homicide. Julia also has experience with parole hearings, inquests, and has appeared in appeals to the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Julia is able to take direct instructions privately and is an approved PAL 3 legal aid provider. 


In 2019, Julia was appointed as one of the independent Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historic Abuse in State and Faith-based care.


Julia has a strong commitment to social justice and reform of the criminal justice system. She is a former founder and Board chair of JustSpeak, a member of the criminal law committee of Te Hunga Roia Māori o Aotearoa (the Māori Law Society) and a member of the Executive Committee of Te Matakahi – Defence Lawyers Association of New Zealand. Julia has recently completed a year of immersion te reo study at Te Wānanga o Raukawa.


Contact details are: 

julia@spelman.co.nz

M: 021 08906353

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Stephen Parry


Admitted as a lawyer in 2012, Stephen joined the independent bar in 2021 and practices law with a strong commitment to social justice.  He has wide experience advocating for people in difficult situations, having worked as a criminal and family litigator for a mid-sized firm in the Hutt Valley, as an employment lawyer and industrial leader for a major national trade union, and most recently as supervising lawyer for the Wellington and Hutt Valley community law centres.  

Stephen has extensive experience in employment law, and specialises in raising and litigating personal grievances and employment disputes, and in legal matters relating to collective bargaining.  He is a legal aid provider for employment law matters, and is committed to providing affordable advocacy for workers.


On criminal matters, Stephen is a PAL1 legal aid provider and is available to take instructions on a private basis. 

Contact details for Stephen are:

stephen@sjparry.co.nz

022 123 6760

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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:

chambers@elizabethhall.co.nz

P: (04) 939 9039

M: 021 204 0810