Nikki Pender Barrister

Contact Nikki


+64 21 515 395



Suite A, Level 3
88 The Terrace
Wellington 6011

Postal Address

PO Box 10-632
Wellington 6140

Nikki Pender


The discipline of the law requires you to think from an equations perspective and then to find the human in it. Law isn’t law without both of those elements, and certainly judging isn’t judging without both of those elements”  ~  Sir Joe Williams, Justice of the Supreme Court of New Zealand | Te Kōti Mana Nui

Nikki is a fair but fearless advocate who treats clients and colleagues with candour, sensitivity and respect. Her key strengths are her analytical, interpersonal and advocacy skills; a sound judgement; open-mindedness; and keen problem-solving abilities.

For Nikki, law is a vocation and work has rarely been just a job.

Like other Kate Sheppard barristers, Nikki began her career at the Crown Law Office, where she appeared regularly for the Crown in judicial review and commercial-regulatory matters. She now practises primarily in public, regulatory and coronial law, acting for both public and private parties. She also contributes to policy development and law reform, particularly in the justice sector.

Nikki is the founding director of Legal Empowerment, which provides witness familiarisation and expert witness skills training in Australia and New Zealand. She also teaches and coaches advocacy skills.

Qualifications and certificates

LLB, Victoria University of Wellington, 1988
Master of Administrative Law and Policy, University of Sydney, 1999
200/300 level Commerce (finance) papers, Victoria University of Wellington, 2013-2014
Admitted as Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, 1989
Admitted as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, 1995
Certified NLP practitioner, 2005
Spiral Dynamics Integral – certificates, lvl 1 & 2, 2005-2006
Poupou Huia Te Reo – certificates, lvl 4 & 5 in Māori tikanga and language, Te Wānanga o Raukawa, 2020
ABA Appellate Advocacy Intensive Workshop – certificate, 2022

Professional activities and community involvement

Member, New Zealand Bar Association | Ngā Ahorangi Motuhake o te Ture
Member, NZLS Civil Litigation & Tribunals Committee, since 2019
Committee Member, The Wellington Club, since 2021

  • Judicial review and public law
  • Coronial inquests
  • Professional disciplinary
  • Competition, economic regulation and consumer law
  • Relationship property; and other general civil and equity disputes
  • Legal skills training:
    –  Advocacy coach
    –  Faculty, NZLS Litigation Skills – since 2007
    –  Facilitator, NZLS Introduction to Civil Litigation – 2007-2022
    –  Legal Empowerment expert witness training – founder and trainer since 2015
    –  Legal Empowerment witness familiarisation – founder and trainer since 2015
    –  Bond Solon witness familiarisation – trainer since 2015


  • Capital Liquor Ltd v NZ Police [2019] NZHC 1846; [2019] NZHC 2817 – appeal against licensing decision
  • Wellington International Airport Ltd v Commerce Commission [2013] NZHC 3289 – appeal against input methodology determinations under Part 4 of the Commerce Act
  • Wellington International Airport Ltd v Commerce Commission NZHC 22 December 2011; (2011) 20 PRNZ 823- judicial review of input methodology decisions; rule-making nature of determinations
  • Air New Zealand v Commerce Commission (2004) 11 TCLR 347 (HC) – appeal against decision to decline authorisation for strategic alliance between Air New Zealand and Qantas
  • Commerce Commission v Grenadier Real Estate Ltd [2004] 2 NZLR 186 (CA) – appeal against decision under Fair Trading Act as to the misleading nature of “vendor bids” at auctions
  • Brambles NZ Ltd v Commerce Commission (2003) 10 TCLR 868 (HC) – appeal against decision declining clearance of proposed acquisition of business assets

Constitutional & Public Law

  • Obiaga v Visiting Justice at Waikeria Prison [2022] NZHC 1197 – judicial review of prison disciplinary decision
  • Sharifi v University of Auckland [2021] NZHC 1955 – judicial review of University decision to fail PhD student; application for production of documents
  • Cosci v District Court at Tauranga [2017] NZHC 1907 – judicial review by survivor of sexual assault to have name suppression lifted
  • Forsyth v District Court at Lower Hutt [2016] 2 NZLR 248 – judicial review by survivors in historic sexual assault case to have name suppression lifted
  • Northern Action Group Inc v Local Government Commission [2015] 3 NZLR 538 – appeal against decision declining to assess Council reorganisation application for North Rodney
  • McVicar v District Court at Wellington [2011] NZHC 20 – judicial review of decision declining extension of time to bring private prosecution under workplace safety legislation
  • Boscawen v Attorney General [2009] 2 NZLR 229 (CA), [2008] NZAR 468 (HC); [2008] NZAR 44 (HC) – reviewability of Attorney-General’s duty to report apparent inconsistencies with New Zealand Bill of Rights Act
  • A v NZ Parole Board & McNamara [2008] NZAR 703 (HC) – judicial review by sexual assault survivor of decision to release offender on parole

Inquests & Coronial

  • Milner v R [2019] NZCA 619; [2019] NZHC 1471 – jurisdictional issue about release of deceased’s body samples post-murder conviction
  • Christie Marceau Inquest (2018)
  • Stephen Dudley Inquest (2017)
  • Kesho Sharma Inquest (2016)
  • Debbie Ashton Inquest (2012)
  • Karl Kuchenbecker Inquest (2008)

Professional Disciplinary

  • Wellington Standards Committee 2 v Collins [2022] NZLCDT 22
  • Wellington Standards Committee 2 v McDonnell [2022] NZLCDT 18
  • Otago Standards Committee v Copland [2019] NZLCDT 29
  • CAC 403 v Licensee B [2017] NZREADT 21
  • Tucker v Real Estate Agents Authority [2017] NZHC 54, [2017] NZAR 264; [2017] NZHC 1894
  • CAC v Gollins [2015] NZREADT 26; [2015] NZREADT 2;

Relationship Property & Trust Law

  • Jacomb v Jacomb [2020] NZHC 1764 – application for trust disclosure by disenfranchised beneficiary
  • M v S [2015] NZFC 2200; [2013] NZHC 615; [2012] NZCA 574; [2012] NZHC 1709 – effect / implementation of contracting-out agreement involving complex property and trust issues