Craig works on a wide range of public law issues. These are typically situations where people seek to challenge the exercise of power by public bodies.

He also has experience in other areas. These areas include protection from unlawful discrimination and other human rights issues, the enforcement of charitable trust obligations, applications to the High Court to vary charitable trusts and Māori land law.

Craig’s work involves both advice to clients and conducting litigation for those clients. Given his long experience of public law litigation, and strategic legal and policy issues for government, Craig can be instructed to help other litigators with litigation strategy. He can also help in-house legal teams with strategic legal and policy issues.

Recent litigation Craig has been involved in includes disputes about:

  • Treaty of Waitangi settlements between the Crown and iwi groups;
  • Governance of a charitable trust, the appointment of trustees and upholding trust obligations;
  • Customary marine title and protected customary rights under the Marine and Coastal Area Takutai Moana Act 2011. Craig was senior counsel for the Crown in the first customary marine title case decided by the High Court;
  • The ongoing implementation of the 1992 settlement of commercial fishing claims by Māori;
  • Remedies recommendations by the Waitangi Tribunal about well-founded claims it has reported on;
  • The responsiveness of New Zealand’s public health system to Māori.

Recent advisory work includes strategic legal advice on negotiations, regulatory and law reform projects and the legality of proposed exercises of public power by government.

Craig is also co-editor of the Māori Law Review, a journal reporting on legal developments affecting Māori as the indigenous peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand.

In 2017, Craig was appointed as a member of the board of advisors for Otago University’s Legal Issues Centre – Te Pokapū Take Ture. The Centre is focused on the civil justice system in Aotearoa and conducts research examining issues of accessibility, affordability, efficiency, fairness and accuracy.

Prior to joining the independent bar in 2017, Craig worked at the New Zealand Government’s Crown Law Office for more than 20 years on public law litigation and advice. Most of his work at Crown Law related to Crown-Maori legal issues. His two most recent roles at Crown Law were as a Manager, responsible for a team of lawyers in the Attorney-General Group, and previously as a Senior Crown Counsel. In those roles, he advised Ministers of the Crown and senior public servants. He gained considerable experience at conducting litigation at all levels in New Zealand courts and before specialist bodies, such as the Waitangi Tribunal and the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

From his time at Crown Law, Craig has extensive experience of working closely with in-house counsel on legal and strategic issues. He also has experience of being an in-house counsel. In 2013, he was seconded for a period to the Office of Treaty Settlements where he helped to establish that organisation’s in-house counsel role.

Craig has delivered seminars on a wide range of public law issues including constitutional reform. He has given guest lectures to undergraduate law students at Victoria University of Wellington. As well as articles published in the Māori Law Review, Craig’s recent publications include a co-authored chapter on Māori and citizenship in Aotearoa in the edited collection Citizenship in transnational perspective: Australia, Canada and New Zealand, Jatinda Mann (Ed), Palgrave MacMillan 2017.

Contact Craig Linkhorn

Level 1 Solnet House
70 The Terrace
Wellington 6011
Phone: +64 4 472 2667
Mobile: + 64 27 444 9966
craig.linkhorn@cliftonchambers.co.nz