© 2018 Jack Hodder QC.




Dear Reader


Should you have arrived on this page I assume that you have at least some curiosity in knowing a little more about this legal practitioner than is outlined (in the conventional third person style) in the “Short Form CV” on this website.


The paragraphs following constitute my attempt to respond to any such curiosity – and, as will already be evident, discard the third party author fiction.


Perhaps it is useful to begin this response by mentioning that I commenced studying law in 1970.  I have been interested, and occasionally active, in developments in the substantive law and the legal system during the subsequent four and a half decades.  And I have been fortunate to have lived and practised law in a political and legal system where the rule of law is valued and meaningful.  It is in that context that I believe the legal profession can provide valuable and meaningful services to others.


I have also been fortunate to obtain a substantial amount of experience in advising on, and litigating over, what my Short Form CV describes as “commercial, regulatory and public law matters”.  Among other things, this means that I have been something of a generalist (although, in a small jurisdiction, that is almost inevitable).  It also means that I make no claim to current experience in criminal or most family law matters.

At this point, I contemplated some clarification of what is meant by the phrase “commercial, regulatory and public law matters”.  However, if you recall my disclaimer of matters criminal or family, and spend less than a minute reviewing the “Recent Cases” page of this site, the wide scope of that description will emerge.


By way of illustration, my engagements in recent years have ranged from aspects of Treaty of Waitangi and related jurisprudence to the finer points of mining contracts, from the cryptic language of our anti-trust legislation to the more extensive prose of, say, the Companies or Biosecurity or Resource Management Acts, and so on – across dozens of interesting topics and situations.  In each engagement, I learn something – one of the most satisfying features of my work.  And it has been a privilege to be invited to work alongside executives and employees, including fellow lawyers, to resolve potential or ongoing difficulties.


Indeed, providing legal services is frequently a highly collaborative process.  One of the rewards of my extended tenure as a partner in a large law firm has been the stimulation of working with legal colleagues – in particular, new generations of younger lawyers. Happily, that largely continues in my current (two) chambers environment.


You might well ask at this point, what is the utility of a senior barrister sole?  That is a very fair question.  While you may discount it for self-interest, my short answer is that on important or difficult matters with a legal dimension there can be considerable value in the strategic and legal guidance available from a focussed and experienced lawyer.  To paraphrase a once famous US judge, the law is driven by experience rather than logic – and so are most solutions to difficult matters.


If I were to offer a longer, but still partial answer, it would incorporate at least the following points:


  • the legal environment is complex and evolving, especially at the margins;


  • getting legal risk analysis wrong is often very costly (financially and/or reputationally);


  • a senior counsel’s combination of experience and intelligence is useful in getting legal risks under control;


  • some lawyers are better than others;


  • while it appears to move in a rather mysterious way, there is a competitive market for legal services, including those of senior counsel.


Finally, if your attention has sustained itself to this point, I thank you for your interest (or curiosity) and conclude with a little personal information:


  • I am married with two adult daughters, and one grandson;


  • I read widely:  history; politics; social change; biographies; poetry; The Economist, New York Review of Books, Weekend FT:


  • I nurture my rural roots – we have farming, family and personal interests and connections in the Wairarapa and Tararua districts;


  • In addition to my tertiary studies in Wellington (VUW) and London (LSE/UCL), my education includes growing up on a dairy farm, employment as a mutton slaughterman over a number of university long vacations, and parenthood.


Kind regards

Jack Hodder QC


July 2018





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