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NZ climate change legal team ranked among best

New Zealand climate change legal team ranked among best in world
Bell Gully has been named as one of just 12 law firms globally who are leaders in providing advice on climate change.

Wellington-based partner Simon Watt has also been named one of the top 10 climate change lawyers in the world by UK-based researchers Chambers Global.

Chambers interviewed thousands of clients and lawyers in over 160 countries, before naming Bell Gully as one of two non-European or North American firms as international leaders in advising clients on climate change issues. The other firm was Mallesons in Australia.

“These firms have built up a huge depth of expertise and resources, which is increasingly important to corporate clients seeking assistance on climate change matters,” Chambers says in its research findings.

Bell Gully has “garnered a global reputation for environment work, and is rapidly distinguishing itself in the field of climate change”.

Simon Watt, who with fellow partner Andrew Abernethy travelled to Jakarta in October as guests of the Indonesian Government to discuss climate change issues, is one of just 10 leading climate change lawyers worldwide. Chambers says clients consider him “an intelligent and considered adviser who has credibility in both the private and public sectors”.

Bell Gully Chief Executive Stephen Macliver says the firm has been advising both local and international clients on climate change issues since 2000, when the Ministry for Economic Development commissioned Bell Gully to design the legal framework for an emissions trading market. The firm has gone on to advise international pioneers in the emissions trading market, including with transactions on the Chicago Climate Exchange and the sale of local emission reduction units to the European Union trading scheme.

He says the firm has not only made a commitment to work with New Zealand and overseas-based business on climate change issues but “as a firm we are playing our own part by taking steps to reduce our footprint and move to a carbon neutral position”.

Simon Watt says the Chambers research backs up wider views of New Zealand’s leading role in climate change.

“Receiving independent recognition is great for many who have been working over the last decade grappling with some complex and leading edge issues. It has been rewarding work though and our younger lawyers in particular have enjoyed the challenge of working on issues that have significant local and global ramifications,” he says.


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