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Some Differences Between U.S. and New Zealand Law

The U.S. Consulate General in Auckland services a district that includes New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Samoa and some other small Pacific Islands.

There are marked differences between the legal systems of New Zealand and the United States, for example, in New Zealand a law practice functions similarly to a medical practice: one must first consult a barrister/solicitor (a lawyer who practices with a firm) before seeking the advice of a specialist or barrister sole, who practices on his/her own.

The New Zealand Law Society, to which all New Zealand lawyers belong, is similar to bar associations in the United States.

The most notable difference in civil law between the two countries is New Zealand’s Accident Rehabilitation and Compensation Insurance Scheme (ACC). This New Zealand government body provides 24 hour, no fault cover to all citizens and visitors in case of injury caused by accident, criminal attack, medical malpractice, etc.

One cannot sue for damages against another person for offences and accidents covered by ACC.  Civil suits are filed mainly for miscellaneous property damage from a car accident, vandalism, etc. Their cases are known legally as torts.

Please note that ACC protection applies only in New Zealand, and does not cover Samoa and the Cook Islands.  In these countries, one must sue or use one's own insurance for coverage.

U.S. diplomatic missions and Consulates are unable to act as representatives in judicial matters or to assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the attorneys named.

This list of lawyers provides a sample of respected legal professionals working in New Zealand.  Some were recommended by the Department of Law at the University of Auckland, others have been recommended by Americans who used their services.

However, please note, the inclusion of a company, individual, or service in this list does not denote a U.S. Government endorsement.  Details are provided for information only 

The New Zealand Law Society can provide further recommendations.

Consulate General Auckland

  • The Consulate General in Auckland provides all U.S. consular services in New Zealand:  The Embassy in Wellington is unable to provide consular services.

List of Lawyers

  • Click here

    for a comprehensive list of lawyers in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands