James Farmer

Legal Commentary

Conducting Civil Appeals

Recently I took part with Jane Standage of Minter Ellison in an Auckland District Law Society Seminar chaired by Raynor Asher, retired Court of Appeal Judge, on the conduct of Civil Appeals.   Jane prepared a superb and comprehensive paper on all aspects of the subject which I urge any lawyer practising in litigation to obtain a copy of.  Raynor, as one would expect, provided invaluable insights into what is important to an appellate Judge.  My contribution was rather more prosaic but, for what it is worth, I will summarise the principal aspects of it below. More...

David Barnes (27 April 1958 - 23 October 2020) - A Personal Note

Last Friday (30 October 2020) was a sad day for those attending the funeral at St Joseph’s Church Takapuna of David Barnes but also a massive tribute to him from the yacht racing community.  The occasion, which was attended by everyone who was anyone in New Zealand yacht racing, provided a reminder of the prominent part that Dave played among New Zealand sailors of the past who led the way to New Zealand becoming a powerful participant in International yacht racing.   More...

Cannabis Bill Not the Right Reform

I have previously written about the Cannabis Bill referendum on my Blog on two occasions.  This is the third.   My justification is that the referendum is close and recent public debate has clarified the issues.  The report by the “panel of experts” chaired by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser and the further report by the New Zealand Drug Foundation also raise concerns as to whether the public is receiving full, accurate and sufficient disclosure of the potential harm that cannabis causes to health, particularly the young.  The distinction between legalization and decriminalization is also not fully appreciated.  Hence this further (and final) posting, which was the subject of a presentation to the Auckland Rotary Club on 5 October. More...

Whatever the result, is this the last time the America's Cup event is held in New Zealand?

New Zealanders have had a love-hate relationship with the America’s Cup and in particular with Team New Zealand since at least the time when the Cup was lost to Alinghi in 2003.  Always regarded – and in fact – “a rich man’s sport” and as such not easily fitting the New Zealand psyche where Jack is as good as his master, the efforts of Peter Blake, Russell Coutts, Brad Butterworth and Tom Schnakenberg in wresting the Cup from the United States and Dennis Connor in 1995 gave us a pride of achievement, a sort of David and Goliath feeling. More...

Cannabis Legal Reform - Arguments For and Against

I have consistently believed that cannabis is a harmful substance and that people who use it for “recreational purposes” would be more sensible to choose a healthy form of recreation that doesn’t put them and those dependent on them, i.e. their children and future children, at risk of harm. More...

Will the Proposed Cannabis Legislation Achieve its "Overarching Objective" of Reducing the Harms Associated with Cannabis Use?

What does the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill (to be voted for or against in the Referendum) provide?  More...

The Debate Continues - Virtual Hearings or Real Hearings


With his permission, I have provided a link above to the website that Dr David Harvey, former District Court Judge, operates. This is mandatory reading, though I remain convinced that we should not compromise the essential elements of the in-court, oral, adversarial hearing. David’s contrary position, put in delightful language, is:

“Although the panoply of justice and the ‘majesty of the law’ aspect of public performance may serve some ceremonial or symbolic purpose they are not necessary to the proper and efficient delivery of justice services.”

That forces me to confess that I personally opposed the abolition of the wearing of wigs and bans in court. Why? To me, they did indeed symbolise the majesty of the law or, to put it more prosaically, they served as a reminder to everyone present - litigants, witnesses and counsel – that this was a serious forum and occasion where truth, honesty and fairness were on trial.

Jim Farmer

1 May 2020 More...

These Issues were all Predicted Pre-Covid-19 and 6 Years Ago


This is a paper written and presented 6 years ago by Gillian Coumbe QC at the World Bar Conference in 2014 on the advent, and dangers, of technology being used to create virtual hearings in our courts, in the cause of efficiency. I would urge everyone to read and consider every word of it when thinking of how the courts should be dealing with the problems of Covid-19 today and to weigh those problems against the damage that the proposed solution of remote hearings of substantive matters will cause.

Jim Farmer

2 May 2020 More...

More Correspondence on Covid-19 and the Courts

Thanks, Jim.  Good to have the contrasting views.  I am, however, with you on the need for and importance of in person hearings.  Sure, we can all "manage" otherwise to some degree if needed.  But, it's far from ideal (and I’m sceptical about some of the efficiency claims too).  My friends in the UK who have done Skype hearings in the Commercial Courts are all bemoaning those.  Consistent view seems to be that they take far longer/are much more tiring for all and advocacy gets lost.  I don't think arbitration is the silver bullet either.    More...

Recent Posts

  1. Conducting Civil Appeals Chris Goode 08-Mar-2021
  2. David Barnes (27 April 1958 - 23 October 2020) - A Personal Note Chris Goode 03-Nov-2020
  3. Cannabis Bill Not the Right Reform Chris Goode 07-Oct-2020
  4. Whatever the result, is this the last time the America's Cup event is held in New Zealand? Chris Goode 14-Sep-2020
  5. Cannabis Legal Reform - Arguments For and Against Chris Goode 13-Aug-2020
  6. Will the Proposed Cannabis Legislation Achieve its "Overarching Objective" of Reducing the Harms Associated with Cannabis Use? Chris Goode 18-May-2020
  7. The Debate Continues - Virtual Hearings or Real Hearings Chris Goode 02-May-2020
  8. These Issues were all Predicted Pre-Covid-19 and 6 Years Ago Chris Goode 02-May-2020
  9. More Correspondence on Covid-19 and the Courts Chris Goode 30-Apr-2020
  10. And here is a Report from Stuff of a Virtual Hearing this Week Chris Goode 30-Apr-2020
  11. In Defence of Remote Technology - from Steve Keall Chris Goode 29-Apr-2020
  12. Court Hearings and Covid-19 - Part Two Chris Goode 29-Apr-2020
  13. Court Hearings and Covid-19 Chris Goode 28-Apr-2020
  14. Covid-19 and Executory Contracts: Will the Doctrine of Frustration Apply? Chris Goode 06-Apr-2020
  15. Race, Poverty and Education - Lessons from the UK learned while spending Christmas in London December 2019 Chris Goode 13-Jan-2020
  16. Witnesses in Civil Cases - the Consequences of Not Calling and of Not Cross-Examining - A Paper Presented to the Pacific Islands Lawyers Association, Auckland, 22 November 2019 Chris Goode 22-Nov-2019
  17. The Forthcoming Referendum on the Growing and Supply of Cannabis for Personal Recreational Use Chris Goode 19-Nov-2018
  18. Armistice Day and Its Sequel Chris Goode 14-Nov-2018
  19. An Easy Read of the Rule of Law in the World of Fiction Chris Goode 08-Aug-2018
  20. Bullying, Harassment and Gender Bias Chris Goode 22-May-2018
  21. Criticising Judges Chris Goode 07-May-2018
  22. America's Cup Part 3A Chris Goode 11-Dec-2017
  23. America's Cup Part 3 Chris Goode 04-Dec-2017
  24. Pro Bono Publico as an Aid to Living a Balanced Lifestyle Chris Goode 08-Nov-2017
  25. Terence Arnold Retires From the Supreme Court Bench Chris Goode 10-Apr-2017
  26. From Violence to Redemption Chris Goode 15-Mar-2017
  27. Drugs, Sports and Society Chris Goode 18-Oct-2016
  28. Are Our Law Schools Churning Out Too Many Lawyers? Chris Goode 25-Aug-2016
  29. Equiticorp 20 Years On Chris Goode 07-Jun-2016
  30. The Year in Retrospect Chris Goode 19-Jan-2016
  31. A Good Year for the Farmer Legal Family Chris Goode 30-Oct-2015
  32. Having a Balanced Life Style - Part 4 Chris Goode 21-Sep-2015
  33. A Balanced Life Style (Part 3), Prisoners' Voting Rights, Top Gun, 7000kms in a Corvette, John Maynard Keynes and Atticus Finch Chris Goode 05-Aug-2015
  34. Biographies Chris Goode 13-Apr-2015
  35. The Cost of Justice Chris Goode 13-Mar-2015
  36. The Increase in Unrepresented Litigants and Their Effect on the Judicial Process Chris Goode 11-Feb-2015
  37. Evidence - Notes of Presentation to Continuing Legal Education Seminar November 2014 Chris Goode 01-Dec-2014
  38. Corporate Governance and Directors' Liability Chris Goode 19-Aug-2014
  39. Paper Presented on 2 August 2014 at the Competition Law & Policy Institute of New Zealand 25th Annual Conference Chris Goode 05-Aug-2014
  40. Life in the Fast Lane Chris Goode 06-Jun-2014
  41. 2014 - Roaring Past Chris Goode 04-Jun-2014
  42. Commentary on Paper Delivered by Professor Andrew I Gavil at Commerce Commission Conference Chris Goode 19-Nov-2013
  43. America's Cup Wrap Up Chris Goode 04-Oct-2013
  44. Happiness, Living a Balanced Life and Legal Practice - Part II Chris Goode 15-Aug-2013
  45. America's Cup 2013 Chris Goode 01-Jul-2013
  46. Why the Rules of Evidence Matter in Civil Cases Chris Goode 12-Mar-2013
  47. The High Court in Review Chris Goode 08-Oct-2012
  48. "Criticism of Supreme Court needs to be put in context" as published in the New Zealand Herald 11 May 2012 Chris Goode 23-May-2012
  49. Recent Reform Reports Chris Goode 03-Apr-2012
  50. Happiness, Living a Balanced Life and Legal Practice Chris Goode 09-Jan-2012
  51. In Defence of the Supreme Court Chris Goode 12-Dec-2011
  52. Cross Examination Notes Chris Goode 11-Nov-2011
  53. The passing of three leaders of the Bar Chris Goode 14-Sep-2011
  54. Commentary on my commentary on Morse Chris Goode 14-Sep-2011
  55. How good is our Supreme Court? Chris Goode 08-Aug-2011

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