Rhonda Powell Barrister

Contact Rhonda


+64 3 741 1719



Dr Rhonda Powell


Dr Rhonda Powell TEP is a barrister specialising in trusts, wills, estates, equity and family property.

Rhonda gives legal advice and prepares and defends Court applications related to trusts, wills, estates, division of relationship property, and applications under the Protection of Personal & Property Rights Act 1988 about adults who lack capacity to manage their own affairs.

In addition to client advocacy, Rhonda is regularly engaged by law firms for expert legal advice.

Rhonda has worked for top tier law firms in London, Melbourne and New Zealand specialising in high-net-worth private client law.  Prior to commencing practise as a barrister, she was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Canterbury School of Law.

Rhonda is an experienced legal researcher and writer. She has an impressive list of publications and has spoken at numerous local, national and international conferences.

Rhonda is an instructor for the College of Law’s postgraduate LLM (Applied Law) and currently teaches on the specialist wills, estates and trusts courses. She has previously instructed on the College of Law’s Professional Legal Studies Course.

As well as being a committed member of Kate Sheppard Chambers, Rhonda is a member of Walker Street Chambers in Christchurch.

Rhonda is able to act on direct instructions from clients in appropriate circumstances but also takes instructions from solicitors throughout New Zealand.


LLB (Hons, 1st) University of Otago, 2003
BA (Political Science), University of Otago, 2003
Advanced Course in International Human Rights, Åbo Akademi University, Finland, 2004
LLM (Distinction), Human Rights Law, Nottingham University, United Kingdom, 2004
DPhil, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, 2008
Admitted as Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, 2008
Admitted as Solicitor in England and Wales, 2010
Admitted as an Australian Legal Practitioner, 2012


Full Member, Society of Trusts & Estates Practitioners
Member, NZLS Family Law Section
Member, New Zealand Bar Association | Ngā Ahorangi Motuhake o te Ture
Member, Canterbury Women’s Legal Association


Legal Research Foundation special commendation for E McDonald, R Powell, M Stephens and R Hunter, Feminist Judgments of Aotearoa New Zealand: Te Rino – A Two-Stranded Rope (Hart Publishing, 2017)
Thompson Reuters New & Emerging Scholar (University of Canterbury, 2014)
University of Oxford, Clarendon Scholarship, 2004-2007
St Hilda’s College, Oxford, New Zealand Scholarship, 2004-2007
New Zealand Law Foundation Ethyl Benjamin Prize, 2005
Fellowship of the New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women, 2005
Jessie Madison Award (New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women), 2005
Brian Wilkinson Award for Human Rights Law at University of Nottingham, 2003-2004
New Zealand Freemason’s Scholarship, 2002


  • Equitable claims such as resulting trust, constructive trust, undue influence, and unconscionable bargain.
  • Acting in disputes about the recovery of funds advanced by way of loan or gift.


  • Representing clients in disputes over the granting and misuse of Enduring Powers of Attorney.
  • Applications to the Family Court for appointment of Property Manager and Welfare Guardian.
  • Representing persons who have had Court applications made about them in respect of their property and welfare as Lawyer for Subject Person.


  • Acting in claims under the Family Protection Act 1955, the Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act 1949, and in equity.
  • Advice to law firms on complex question about wills and estate administration.
  • High Court applications related to wills, probate, and estate administration.


  • Advice to trustees about their duties, including disclosure of information to beneficiaries.
  • Advice to beneficiaries about their rights, including to proper administration, impartiality and provision of trust information.
  • Negotiation of trust-related disputes.

Relationship Property

  • Negotiating division of relationship property.
  • Drafting and advising on contracting out agreements and separation agreements, including online advice through Agreeable (agreeable.nz)
  • Appearances in Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the High Court and Family Court in relationship property disputes, including disputes about contracting out agreements, assets held in companies and trusts, and spousal maintenance.
  • Legal opinions about complex issues in the relationship property context.