Charlotte Griffin

Charlotte Griffin


District Inspector for Mental Health

Charlotte has practised as a civil litigation and public law specialist for the past 20 years. She is an experienced trial and appellate advocate in all levels of the Courts as lead or sole counsel, including the Supreme Court, in a number of precedent setting proceedings.

Charlotte has particular expertise in human rights, tort and public law damages claims, prison and parole law, immigration and refugee proceedings in the High Court and on appeal. Charlotte also acts in inquisitorial proceedings, including before the Coroner’s Court and Human Rights Review Tribunal. She has broad experience in sensitive claims involving historic abuse of vulnerable persons, such as prisoners, children in state care and those involved in mental health proceedings. She has advised Ministers and Government officials on all aspects of Crown legal risk, including policy implementation through legislation or tailored litigation strategies. In addition to Crown work, Charlotte acts for and advises private individuals and commercial entities in civil and public law disputes and has been appointed amicus curiae in the High Court and Court of Appeal.

Prior to joining the Independent Bar in 2015, Charlotte practised for ten years at the Crown Law Office and earlier in private practice. Charlotte is a mentor for the New Zealand Bar Association for junior women barristers and has been an Instructor of the Advocacy module for the Institute of Professional Legal Studies.

Charlotte was appointed a District Inspector for Mental Health under s94, Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment Act) 1992 in June 2020 and reappointed for a second term in 2023.

Qualifications and appointments

LLB, BA (Political Science and English Literature), Victoria University of Wellington, 2001
LLM (Hons, 1st), Victoria University of Wellington, 2003
Admitted as Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, 2003
District Inspector for Mental Health, 2020; 2023

Awards and memberships

New Zealand Pegasus Scholarship 2006
Minter Ellison Rudd Watts & Stone Prize in Contract Law 2001
Brookers Limited Prize in the Law of Contract 2001
European Union Prize – First Prize 2000
Member and Mentor, New Zealand Bar Association | Ngā Ahorangi Motuhake o te Ture
Member, Wellington Women Lawyers’ Association
Member, Wellington Medico Legal Society

Charlotte has appeared in a wide array of substantive proceedings as lead/sole counsel in the Superior Courts through to judgment. A selection of notable judgments is below. A full list of cases is available on request.

  • Guo v Minister of Immigration [2015] NZSC 132; [2016] 1 NZLR 248 – Principles as to deportation of resident innocent children of serious criminal offender under s 207, Immigration Act 2009.
  • Guo v Minister of Immigration [2015] NZSC 76; [2015] 1 NZLR 732 – Jurisdiction to hear third application for leave to appeal from decision of Immigration and Protection Tribunal.
  • Teitiota v Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment [2015] NZSC 107 – Whether the Refugee Convention can be interpreted to include a refugee claim based on displacement caused by climate change.
  • Attorney-General & New Zealand Parole Board v Grinder [2023] NZCA 596; [2022] NZHC 3188 – Whether the legal threshold of “undue risk” in the Parole Act 2002 applies to applications to vary special conditions of parole.
  • Grounded Kiwis Group Incorporated v Minister of Health [2022] NZHC 832; [2022] 3 NZLR 19 – Whether the MIQ system as part of the Government’s Covid-19 response was a lawful and proportionate limit on the right of citizens to enter under s18(2), NZBORA – junior to A Boadita-Cormican.
  • AL (Thailand) v Refugee and Protection Officer [2021] NZHC 810 – Whether denial of crucial medications if imprisoned in home country founds a claim for protected person status.
  • Genge v Chief Executive, Department of Corrections [2018] NZHC 1447 – Principles relating to rehabilitation and treatment of indeterminate sentence prisoners.
  • Sparks v Immigration Advisors Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal [2017] NZHC 376 – Responsibilities and duties of immigration advisers under the Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct.
  • X v Attorney-General [2016] NZCA 476; (2016) 23 PRNZ 750 – Ability to challenge evidence of criminal conviction in civil proceedings under s47, Evidence Act 2006 – junior to K McDonald QC.
  • Y v Attorney-General [2016] NZCA 474; [2016] NZAR 1512; [2016] NZFLR 911 – Principles as to name suppression of witnesses in civil proceedings – junior to K McDonald QC.
  • Harriman v Attorney-General [2014] NZCA 544 – Principles as to holding attended vs unattended parole hearings and responsibilities of Department of Corrections in preparing parole information.
  • Harriman v Attorney-General [2015] NZHC 3197 – Principles for striking out severed tortious claims following unsuccessful review proceedings by plaintiff.
  • Minister of Immigration v Jooste [2014] NZHC 2882; [2015] 2 NZLR 765; [2014] NZAR 1349 – First Crown appeal on point of law establishing test of exceptionality in s207, Immigration Act 2009.
  • Department of Corrections v All Means All [2014] NZHC 1433; [2014] 3 NZLR 404 – Safe custody of prisoners and the right to refuse medical treatment by prisoner on hunger strike under s11, NZBORA even where death results.
  • Mitchell v Attorney-General [2014] NZHC 1339 – Lawfulness of prisoner self-funded access to prison rental televisions.
  • BV v Immigration and Protection Tribunal [2014] NZCA 594 – Credibility and benefit of doubt in refugee claims.
  • RT v Immigration and Protection Tribunal [2013] NZCA 74; [2013] NZAR 674 – Use of prior credibility findings by subsequent tribunals following failed refugee claims.
  • Wang v Minister of Immigration [2013] NZHC 2059 – First consideration of jurisdiction and statutory scheme to hear review proceedings pending appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.
  • O’Brien v Immigration and Protection Tribunal [2012] NZHC 2599; [2012] NZAR 1033 – Deportation of criminal offender with primary care of resident minor child with special care and protection needs.
  • Miller v New Zealand Parole Board [2010] NZCA 600; Miller v New Zealand Parole Board HC Wellington CIV 2004-485-1460, 16 December 2008; (2008) 24 CRNZ 104 – Independence of Parole Board, NZ’s international obligations, rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders – junior to U Jagose.
  • Attorney-General v Chapman [2009] NZCA 552; [2010] 2 NZLR 317; (2009) 8 HRNZ 857 – Availability of compensation for judicial breach of NZBORA – junior to Solicitor-General.
  • Zanzoul v Removal Review Authority [2009] NZHC 687 – International obligations in removal proceedings and humanitarian appeals; independence of Authority – junior to P McCarthy.
  • Berryman v Solicitor-General [2008] NZHC 2297; [2008] 2 NZLR 772 – Judicial review of Solicitor-General’s decision to decline to order a second inquest into death of Kenneth Richards on collapse of the Berryman Bridge – junior to Deputy Solicitor-General.