Hon Paul Heath QC was called to the New Zealand Bar in 1978, practised as a barrister and solicitor until 1998, when he was appointed Queen’s Counsel. In March 2002, after serving for five years as a consultant (two years) and member (three years) of the New Zealand Law Commission, Paul was appointed as a Judge of the High Court of New Zealand. Between 2003 and 2017, he sat as an ad hoc member of the Court of Appeal on numerous occasions, on both the Civil Appeal Division and Criminal Appeal Division. Paul was also a Commercial List Judge and a member of the Commercial Panel of the High Court when he retired from the Bench in April 2018, and joined Bankside Chambers. He is also an Associate at South Square in London, the leading set of insolvency and restructuring chambers.

Education

  • LLB - University of Auckland, 1978
  • Fellow, Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand Inc, 1996
  • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators UK, 1996
  • Chartered Arbitrator, 2000

Bio

Hon Paul Heath QC was called to the New Zealand Bar in 1978, practised as a barrister and solicitor until 1998, when he was appointed Queen’s Counsel. In March 2002, after serving for five years as a consultant (two years) and member (three years) of the New Zealand Law Commission, Paul was appointed as a Judge of the High Court of New Zealand.

Between 2003 and 2017, he sat as an ad hoc member of the Court of Appeal on numerous occasions, on both the Civil Appeal Division and Criminal Appeal Division. Paul was also a Commercial List Judge and a member of the Commercial Panel of the High Court when he retired from the Bench in April 2018, and joined Bankside Chambers. He is also an Associate at South Square in London, the leading set of insolvency and restructuring chambers.

 

Paul practises primarily as an arbitrator, both in domestic and international arbitrations. He also provides commercial mediation services and strategic advice in complex disputes, particularly in his specialist field of insolvency and restructuring. He is one of a number of members of Bankside Chambers who also have rooms at Maxwell Chambers in Singapore.

 

Paul is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) and a Fellow of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand. He is on the panel of arbitrators available for appointment through the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and on the list maintained by the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre. In New Zealand, he is a member of panels for the appointment of arbitrators that have been established by the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand and the New Zealand Dispute Resolution Centre. 

In June 2019, he was appointed as a member of P.R.I.M.E Finance’s Panel of Experts for Dispute Resolution. Paul is also available as an arbitrator and mediator through the Arbitration and Mediation Unit recently established by South Square in London.  He is currently undertaking a number of both international and domestic arbitrations, and has also been involved in a cross border mediation held virtually.

 

Paul’s specialist area of insolvency practice is cross border insolvency. He was New Zealand’s delegate to Working Group V of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law and chaired two of its meetings when holding the position of Vice Chair. He has been involved in much judicial education in this area; most recently on assignments from the World Bank and INSOL International in both Mauritius and India. Paul has also been engaged by the Asian Development Bank as a consultant on court related projects in Myanmar and Sri Lanka. He is one of the co-consulting editors of the leading New Zealand text on insolvency law, Heath & Whale on Insolvency.

 

In recognition of his acknowledged skills in both insolvency and dispute resolution, Paul is currently Co Chair of INSOL International’s ADR Colloquium, which is considering how private dispute resolution can complement the role of courts in dealing with cross border insolvency disputes under legislation based (primarily) on the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross Border Insolvency.

 

Paul is currently Chief Justice of the Pitcairn Islands and a Judge of the Court of Appeal of Kiribati.

Case Highlights

High Court Judge

Hon Justice Heath Judge of the High Court of New Zealand for 16 years, from 2002 until 2018.


Member of the Law Commission Commissioner

Engaged primarily in commercial law reform from 1997-2002 (particularly insolvency law reform, arbitration reform and electronic commerce) but also involved in other projects such as evidence law, recommending civil unions for same sex couples, and Maori and Treaty of Waitangi issues.


Privy Council

Appeared on three occasions as sole or lead counsel in the Privy Council between 1990 and 2001.


International work

Judicial education work for World Bank and Asian Development Bank in Myanmar, Mauritius, India and Sri Lanka.


Arbitration

Appointment as sole arbitrator in 20 domestic/international arbitrations since re-entering practice in 2018.


International recognition

Elected as a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy in 2000; at that stage only the 19th non-American to be elected and I remain the only New Zealander.

What Others Say

Publications

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Memberships

  • NZLS
  • NZBA
  • AMINZ (Council member, 2018-2020), AMINZ (Fellow)
  • CIArb (Fellow)
  • RITANZ (Life Member)