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Simon Jefferson QC


Background & Experience

Simon Jefferson has had more than 33 years' legal experience specialising almost exclusively in family law since 1983. After 20 years as a partner with Shieff Angland (where he led a family law team renowned for its ability and from which has emerged many leading family law practitioners), he left to practice at the independent bar in June 2006. He was elevated to the status of Queen's Counsel in 2013.

Simon has appeared in the Family Court, the High Court and the Court of Appeal. A number of his cases feature in the Law Reports and he is particularly noted for his appellate advocacy.

Appointed a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in 2005, he was also an Executive Member of the Family Law Section of the New Zealand Law Society from 2001 to 2008 and has presented many seminars and papers for the New Zealand Law Society (including CYPF Act 1989, CYFPF Act 1955, and Evidence in the Family Court 2005). Simon is a member of the NZ Bar Association, of LawAsia and of the Australian Family Law Section. He has been an enrolled solicitor in the UK since 1989.

Simon chaired the New Zealand Family Law Conferences in 2004 and 2006. Between 2001 and 2005 he led the faculty created by the New Zealand Law Society to train lawyers for appointment as legal representatives of children in the Family Court. He is editor of the Practice and Procedure Manual for Thomson Brookers. He has also contributed to a number of publications including the Ethics in Practice Guide (A Guide for Counsellors), and presented papers at conferences in New Zealand, the United States, Australia and Cambodia. Simon is also much in demand as a speaker at conferences, seminars and training sessions.

Simon was the legal advisor to the New Zealand Association of Counsellors from 1990 to 2010, is currently honorary advisor to the New Zealand Christian Counsellors' Association, and has been a Member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport since 2004. He is chair of the New Zealand Football Appeals Committee for some years. He advises a number of community organisations on a pro bono basis and in 2010 chaired the New Zealand Football Competition Review.

Simon is one of a panel of lawyers engaged by the New Zealand Central Authority to take cases under the Hague Convention in relation to children taken from or brought to New Zealand unlawfully.


Simon's approach to his work is that he recognises that the diversity of human experience calls for innovation and creativity in securing enduring outcomes; he is committed to the principled application of the law in pursuit of a fair and just outcome and his focus is always solution based. He regards negotiation and mediation as valuable options for clients seeking to resolve disputes but also recognises the need to litigate some issues which may not be amenable to a negotiated resolution. Clients can be assured of an energetic commitment to their case and a robust and realistic assessment of the issues and potential outcomes. Simon remains ever conscious of the costs, both financial and otherwise to clients, of being engaged in legal disputes.

Areas of Practice

Simon practices in all areas of family law:

Several cases in which Simon has appeared as Counsel has been reported in the New Zealand Family Law Reports and are regarded as leading cases on various topics.

Simon is available to give formal written opinions on any of the above matters if sought. His opinions are succinct, accurate and can often form the basis for subsequent, informed negotiations between parties.

Simon is also available to be engaged to provide binding rulings on matters in disputes between parties.

Simon regularly attends and participates in Mediations on behalf of his clients and regards this mode of dispute resolution as a genuine alternative to litigation in the right circumstances.

He is available to take instructions throughout New Zealand, (being willing and able to travel as requested) and has been briefed by a number of New Zealand's leading law firms.

Instructing Solicitor

As a Barrister, Simon is not permitted to accept instructions directly; all instructions must be channelled through an instructing solicitor in the first instance. Simon has an excellent relationship with a number of firms of solicitors by whom he is briefed.

Simon’s Terms of Engagement are available on request.