Nicholas (Nick) began practice with Duncan Cotterill and Co in Christchurch before moving to R A Young Hunter where he was a partner until going to the separate Bar in 1988, taking Silk in 1996. He established Clarendon Chambers with WGGA Young and later Canterbury Chambers with D M Lester and R A Osborne. He was appointed to the High Court and retired in December 2018.
He is an Associate Member of Bankside Chambers in Auckland, and at Plymouth Chambers in Christchurch.
He has wide experience including criminal defence and later prosecution for the Serious Fraud Office and the Crown in many fraud cases. He was a solicitor for lead underwriters at Lloyds, specialising in professional liability, with a practice in relationship property, estate and trust litigation, advising local authorities and private clients.
He was lead counsel for the families of the men who died at Pike River mine at the Royal Commission of Inquiry in 2011/12 and for the Serious Fraud Office in the Wine Box Commission of Inquiry.
He acted for a pilot in the investigation into the accident involving the Dash 8 aircraft at Palmerston North before the Transport Accident Investigation Commission and represented a private pilot at trial for manslaughter. He was counsel for business owners in claims arising out of the wreck of the MV Rena on Astrolabe Reef.
He has extensive experience in infrastructure and resource management, and was counsel for the Rangitata Diversion Race Management Ltd – through the Conservation Order process, resource consent renewal, and appeal processes. He represented Mighty River Power before the Board of Inquiry at Palmerston North on the application to establish the windfarm Turitea.
He has wide experience in valuation related matters, commercial and rural, including representation of dairy leaseholders in rent setting before Hon Sir Ian Barker QC. He was counsel for Minaret Station in the test case for pastoral lease rent setting before the Land Valuation Tribunal and earlier for Forest Range. He represented the lessees in proceedings to determine the right of public access to leasehold land, for many other lessees and pastoral licence holders. He was counsel for lessors and lessees in commercial rent setting arbitrations.
He is a Fellow of the Arbitrators’ Institute of New Zealand and before appointment to the High Court Bench was sole arbitrator in domestic arbitrations, and mediator in others.
He was a Council member of the Canterbury District Law Society from 1986–1992 and held many positions including Chair of the Canterbury-Westland District Disciplinary Tribunal and was a member of the Management Committee of Solicitors Fidelity Fund.
He lectured part-time and tutored at the University of Canterbury, in law and commerce and was 17 years a Fellow of College House, University Tertiary College.
He held disciplinary related positions including Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Sports Tribunal, SANZAR to which he was reappointed in August 2019, New Zealand Rugby Union and IRB judicial officer, and Rugby World Cup Appeal Committee. He was appointed to the International Cricket Council Code of Conduct Commission in Dubai and was President of New Zealand Football from 2005–2015 and he was a member of FIFA’s Investigatory Panel. He was National Commissioner for New Zealand Cricket for many years and a member of the Committee of Inquiry into allegations of corruption in Cricket.
In August 2019, appointed Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Sports Tribunal and is a determiner on the Panel for the Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service (earthquakes claims)