Significant Cases

Jeremy Sutton is one of the most senior divorce and family lawyers in New Zealand, highly-respected in the profession, his opinions often sought by news media. Over his more than two decades working in this area Jeremy has worked on a number of significant cases.

Smith v Brown [2016] NZHC 2326

Background

Jeremy acted for Mr Smith and successfully defended a Hague Convention application lodged by the central authority having returned from Spain to live in New Zealand with his two children.

The case involved three defended hearings over a period of over two years. Two of those cases were heard in the Family Court and the third one in the High Court. It is rare to be successful in defending an application for children to be returned under The Hague Convention.

Comment

Jeremy left no stone unturned and his strong advocacy and direction contributed to a successful result for his client.

Constructive Trust Cases

Background

Constructive Trust cases are difficult because the law is uncertain as to the amount a Court will award a claimant where the family home is in a family Trust and that Trust was set up before the relationship started. To establish a successful Constructive Trust claim, normally considerable skills in forensic ability including discovery are required to obtain a good result for your client. These types of cases often end up going through the Courts or a lengthy negotiated settlement.

Comment

Jeremy continues to act for a number of claimants and respondents in such a situation. Jeremy has successfully obtained significant compensation for clients where the family home is owned by a family Trust before the relationship has commenced. Jeremy has also achieved practical outcomes for clients in some cases to avoid lengthy Court battles.

Some of these cases are completed and others are still going through the various Courts.

MLA v AVW [2012] NZFC 8640

Background

This was a Family Court hearing on whether to set aside a Relationship Property Agreement between the parties. The issues involved whether there was serious injustice in the Agreement but more particularly since that Agreement was made. This is a challenging area of the law.

Comment

Jeremy fought tenaciously to uphold the Agreement and the circumstances around it for his client.

Vaihu v The Attorney General [2008] NZSC 19

Background

This is a civil case under the Bill of Rights Act. It was one of the first cases under Section 9 of the Bill of Rights Act where Mr Vaihu who was alleging excess force by the police in respect of a police dog.

The case spanned  five years over five Courts ending up in the Supreme Court.

Care of Protection Case (non-publication)

Background

This was a three-week hearing under the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act. The particular issue was dealing with the relationship between the criminal and family law in relation to disclosure and also how evidence was to be presented. The psychologist had sought to introduce evidence from the criminal trial that she had obtained.

Comment

Jeremy was successful in challenging the way the senior specialist report writer presented their evidence including the cross-examination of that evidence.

This resulted in significant evidence being excluded to help change the focus of the case. Jeremy has developed a specialty in the interaction between family and other areas of the law, including the criminal, family and the cross-over with the other areas of the law.