Employment Law and Professional Misconduct
Maria has more than 25 years’ experience as a litigator. She graduated in law from the University of Otago and later gained a Masters of Law from Victoria University.
In 2000, Maria commenced practice as a barrister in Auckland after working in law firms and in-house roles both in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Maria’s employment law practice involves acting for both employers and senior employees. She is regularly involved in advice on disciplinary and grievance actions, urgent injunctions on restraints of trade and confidential information and restructuring issues.
Since 2013, Maria has been the Deputy Chair of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal. She also serves as an Expert on the Domain Names Commission Panel of Experts.
Independent Investigator and Mediator
Maria is regularly appointed as an independent investigator to conduct both public and private sector investigations into allegations of serious misconduct. This role typically arises where there are complex and sensitive allegations made, involving senior employees.
In 2014, Maria was awarded the New Zealand Law Awards “Mediator of the Year” for her work as a mediator. In 2016, Maria was also named as one of the top 10 Mediators in New Zealand by LawFuel. Maria conducts private commercial mediations and has been appointed to several mediation panels including the MIBE Weathertight Homes Panel, the NZLS Complaints Mediation Panel, the EQC Mediation Panel and the former Auckland High Court Mediation Pilot Panel.
Maria has acted as counsel in a variety of proceedings; examples include:
- X v Attorney General & YFT  NZCA475, acting for the second respondent entity in an historical sexual abuse claim. The second respondent has successfully maintained interim name suppression until trial.
- TEX Onsite Ltd v Hill  NZERA, Auckland, acting for TEX Onsite Ltd in successful claim against former employee. The judgment obtained was for three years loss of profits and substantial penalties and costs against employee. https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2706382/ERAHill.pdf
- Obtaining an urgent interim injunction Search Order against a departing employee. MIMICO v McAllister, Employment Court, Auckland, August 2012.
- Acting for Intervener, LEADR NZ Inc., in a Supreme Court proceeding relating to mediation confidentiality, Specialized Bicycles v Sheppard Industries, February 2012.
- Acting for House of Travel in a High Court proceeding issued against a departing Owner Operator regarding alleged breaches of loyal and fidelity and confidentiality, House of Travel Holdings Ltd v Kendall, High Court, Auckland, 2011.
Qualifications and Career
Qualifications and Career
Maria is a law graduate of the University of Otago (LLB 1986) and the University of Victoria (LLM 1999).
Prior to becoming a barrister, Maria worked in law firms in New Zealand and overseas and has experience as an in-house lawyer. Maria’s previous roles have included:
- Litigation Firms – Young Hunter, Solicitors, Christchurch, Morrison Kent, Solicitors, Wellington and Richard Butler, Solicitors, London.
- In House Counsel Roles – Bank of New Zealand, Employment Team, Wellington and United Kingdom Financial Services Regulator (FIMBRA), London.