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Dr Matthew Palmer has extensive experience in Public Law and public policy.

He specialises in litigation and advice challenging/defending the decisions of government, Crown entities and public bodies. In addition:

  • He is expert in the Treaty of Waitangi and constitutional matters.
  • He is experienced in tax litigation.
  • He has a long-standing interest in the law and economics of regulation.
  • He enjoys negotiations, e.g. he successfully led the Crown’s negotiations with the owners and insurers of the MV Rena (2012), and with Waikato-Tainui in the Crown’s first Treaty of Waitangi settlement of a historical land grievance (1995).

Matthew has led cases in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court in relation to: judicial reviews in a variety of contexts; tax avoidance and other tax issues; negligence in tort; and competition law.

Before going to the Bar, Matthew held positions as Deputy Solicitor-General (Public Law), Deputy Secretary for Justice (Public Law), and Dean of Law and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Public Law at Victoria University of Wellington. He is also qualified in economics and worked as an economic and financial analyst and manager at the Treasury.

Matthew has written several books and many articles and chapters on New Zealand public law and law and economics, winning the Legal Research Foundation prizes for the best book in New Zealand Law (The Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand’s Law and Constitution, 2008) and the best article in New Zealand law (in 2005 & 2006: “What is New Zealand’s Constitution and Who Interprets it?”). He has taught law at Victoria University of Wellington, Hong Kong University, Yale Law School, and the University of Chicago Law School.

Matthew was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in 1987. He has degrees in economics, political science and law from the University of Canterbury and Victoria University of Wellington, and a Masters and Doctorate in Law from Yale Law School.

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