While we are in state of emergency lock-down, the main concerns are for public health and maintenance of law & order, and how to brace for the recession bearing down.
But any slice of positive news in crazy times is always welcome. Gary has been recommended by newly-released overseas lawyer guides:
- Best Lawyers in New Zealand guide, 12th ed, for Public Law;
- Global Investigations Review annual rankings research with Who’s Who Legal, for Regulatory Investigations.
This reflects Gary’s work as a leading lawyer in his core fields of government regulatory and business crime, including anti-trust (competition), anti-money laundering and anti-corruption work. Gary comments:
“An award for Public Law expertise is very nice, but rather raised the question for some business clients (outside the lawyer community) as to what public law really means? I posted a short article here with some reflections on that. In my view public law principles and tools will become even more vitally important as we adjust to a post-Covid world that has even bigger government interventions in daily life.”
“A big part of my legal practice revolves around a subset of “public law”, handling regulatory investigations and enforcement cases. This is where it is pleasing that the WWL/Global Investigations Review team recognises progress in those core areas, and I am grateful to clients and solicitors for their support.”
Investigations work can embrace many legal issues and many types of regulatory authorities. It might sometimes mean advocacy in court proceedings, if there is a prosecution, or taking a judicial review or appeal challenge to some administrative decision that was made.
At other times, if the client or the solicitor firm instructs a specialist early enough in the process, it can involve more up-front corporate compliance advice and risk management strategy. The objective is often to try to address the regulatory problem in some less costly and stressful forum for clients than having to go to public court proceedings.
That means working from Gary’s many years of experience to predict and react to how regulators tend to supervise, monitor, gather information, conduct investigations, assemble evidence, deal with legal privilege, and prosecute for breaches.
Each regulator will usually have its own specific statutory framework, and sector knowledge, but overarching themes and parallels in how they operate and co-ordinate can often be seen.
This subset of public law isssues can include external investigations where a regulator is already involved, or internal investigations where a corporate has uncovered a problem or misconduct itself (before the regulator steps in). Often, a crisis for a firm means that both those avenues may need to be addressed in parallel, and under conditions of urgency.
The client firm may be interrogating its own internal databases and people to find out what has happened, while simultaneously figuring out how much of that material has to go to the regulator. Often, a curly question is whether to disclose it to them proactively or await a knock on the door. Adding to the complexity, if the client is a multi-national business, then they are usually engaging with multiple regulators in many countries, and it is critical that expert lawyers in each jurisdiction can communicate and manage the international dimensions and information flows.
Examples of Gary’s work in these areas in the last year or so include:
- for a leading fintech business to resolve a financial regulatory investigation quietly and smoothly
- representing a Pacific Islands central government agency dealing with judicial review and other challenges
- successfully defending allegations made to investigative agencies like the Serious Fraud Office, or in specialist tribunals like the Private Security Personnel & Investigators Licensing Authority
- helping overseas parties grapple with the complicated grey areas in law reform of NZ’s Financial Service Providers registration scheme
- appeal against a NZ Transport Agency commercial licensing revocation decision
- acting for a client in insurance law proceedings against a large Crown Entity
- advising an energy sector firm in compiling a detailed complaint to the Commerce Commission about rivals’ misconduct
- helping clients have persuasive input to Parliamentary select committee process, or Ombudsmen review processes
- engaging with Ministry of Justice or Department of Internal Affairs officials, and AUSTRAC visitors, in industry advisory group settings or seminars, where Gary is an acknowledged AML/CFT subject matter expert.