Isabella Clarke

BARRISTER

Thoughtful and effective problem solving and advocacy

Client feedback reflects that Isabella is collaborative, conscientious, calm, and communicative. Her work is thorough and of high quality. Isabella’s key strengths include oral and written advocacy, meticulous analysis, presenting complex concepts simply, attention to detail while maintaining the bigger picture, and developing strong relationships. Isabella accepts instructions for both junior and senior roles.

Isabella has experience in commercial and contractual disputes, Treaty of Waitangi, and public law litigation and advice. In 2008 Isabella started her career at Russell McVeagh, where she acted on the Todd v Shell & OMV “Offtake” litigation. Following some overseas travel, Isabella joined the Crown Law Office in 2011. Over the past decade, she has represented and advised a wide range of Crown agencies, Ministers, and officials. She led the Crown Law immigration practice group for a number of years before joining the Independent Bar in 2020.

Isabella is a highly capable and competent civil litigation and public law lawyer.  She has appeared (as lead and junior counsel) in the High Court and Court of Appeal, and has acted as lead counsel in Supreme Court leave applications. Isabella has undertaken numerous immigration proceedings relating to liability for deportation and declined visa applications. She has also appeared in the Waitangi Tribunal, Māori Land Court, and has been involved in a long running private arbitration since 2013. Particular litigation highlights are set out below (full list available on request).

Isabella is committed to the welfare of her colleagues and is an advocate for workplace safety, well-being, and respect. She has been a committee member of the Wellington Women Lawyers’ Association since 2018 and organised training and activities at Crown Law to raise awareness of issues for women and junior lawyers. Outside the law, Isabella enjoys bush walks, book club, and collecting Beatles memorabilia.

Qualifications

LLB (Hons, 1st), University of Otago, 2007
BA (Hons, 1st) (Political Studies), University of Otago, 2007
Admitted as Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, February 2009

Awards, publications, and memberships

Russell McVeagh School Scholarship 2001
International Environmental Law Prize, University of Otago 2006
On the Origin of ‘Forensic Frippery’: the Evolution of Common Law Legal Attire” (2006) 1 NZLSJ 155
Committee Member, Wellington Women Lawyers’ Association
Member, New Zealand Bar Association

  • Ongoing arbitration: The Crown and Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu have agreed to resolve through private arbitration differences about what should be included in the Relativity Mechanism calculations. Isabella has been involved in this proceeding, acting with Michael Heron QC and Crown Counsel, since 2013, including presenting significant parts of the oral submissions in a number of arbitration hearings.
  • Attorney-General v Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand Inc & Alan Reay [2018] NZHC 3211, [2019] NZLR 731; [2019] NZCA 475: The Attorney-General brought an application to judicially review IPENZ’s decision to discontinue disciplinary proceedings against Dr Reay (whose firm designed the CTV building which collapsed in the Christchurch earthquakes). Isabella argued the error of law aspect (contractual and purposive analysis of the IPENZ rules) in the High Court and took the whole argument in the Court of Appeal.
  • Patel v Minister of Immigration [2018] NZHC 577; [2018] NZHC 2616; [2019] NZHC 1618; [2019] NZCA 607; [2020] NZSC 27: Isabella acted for the Minister of Immigration in the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court (leave application on the papers) in this proceeding which addressed the meaning of “concealed” in s 202 of the Immigration Act 2009 and the scope (when culpability to be considered) of s 207 of that Act.
  • Li v Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment: Isabella acted for the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in the High Court application for leave to appeal and judicially review decision of Immigration and Protection Tribunal to uphold liability for deportation ([2017] NZHC 2977, [2018] NZAR 265, 2017).  This decision confirmed the Immigration and Protection Tribunal cannot review the merits of deportation liability decisions in a humanitarian appeal.  The High Court decision granting the Crown leave to appeal on a matter of procedure ([2018] NZHC 1171, [2018] NZAR 1134) (in which Isabella appeared as junior counsel with Ian Carter) described the test for leave to appeal an interlocutory decision under s 56 of the Senior Courts Act 2016 .
  • Ceramalus v Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment [2018] NZSC 26, (2018) 24 PRNZ 8: Isabella acted for the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in this application for leave to appeal directly to the Supreme Court a decision of the High Court striking out a judicial review of decisions declining visa applications. The Supreme Court left open the question of whether a decision striking out a proceeding was an interlocutory decision, but said that earlier decisions to the effect that it was should not be treated as resolving the issue definitively.
  • Singh (Mandeep) v Immigration and Protection Tribunal [2017] NZHC 1825: Isabella acted for the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in this appeal and judicial review of the Immigration and Protection Tribunal’s decision upholding the decline of residence visas.
  • Mizoguchi v Immigration and Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal [2017] NZHC 3198, [2018] NZAR 451: Isabella acted for the Registrar of Immigration Advisers in this judicial review of the handling of a complaint against Mr Mizoguchi.
  • Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development v Port [2016] NZHC 1314: Isabella acted for the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development in the Crown’s case stated appeal concerning whether payments by instalment for exercise equipment amounted to an expense of an ongoing kind for the purposes of the disability allowance.
  • Singh v Chief Executive, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment [2015] NZCA 592, [2016] NZAR 93; [2016] NZSC 39: This proceeding confirmed the parameters of judicial review under s 177 of the Immigration Act 2009 (cancellation of deportation orders).  Isabella appeared as junior counsel with Ian Carter in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court (leave application on the papers).
  • Mackenzie v Attorney-General [2015] NZHC 1876; [2016] NZCA 24; [2016] NZSC 60; [2016] NZSC 110: This proceeding concerned whether Mr Mackenzie had brought his negligence claim relating to the post-mortem removal of his son’s heart out of time. Isabella acted as lead counsel for the Attorney-General in the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court (leave application on the papers).
  • Ngāti Kahu Remedies Report 2012 (Wai 45): Ngāti Kahu sought binding and non-binding recommendations from the Waitangi Tribunal. Isabella appeared as junior counsel with Kieran Raftery in this week long hearing.
  • Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust v Attorney-General [2012] NZHC 3181: Following an unsuccessful application to the Waitangi Tribunal, Taranaki Whānui sought declarations of inconsistency that the Crown was in breach of that iwi’s Deed of Settlement and Settlement Act by entering into a Deed of Settlement with Ngāti Toa. Isabella appeared as junior counsel with Paul Radich QC in the Waitangi Tribunal and High Court.
  • Todd Pohokura Ltd v Shell & OMV (“offtake” proceeding) HC Wellington CIV-2006-485-1600, 13 July 2010: After numerous interlocutory contests, this ten week High Court hearing involved joint venture contract interpretation and Commerce Act claims. Isabella appeared as junior counsel with Jim Farmer QC for Todd.