Simon is a commercial barrister, public law and climate change specialist

Formerly a Bell Gully partner for 22 years, Simon led the firm’s public sector and climate change practices.   

He has advised over 50 public sector entities including departments, Crown entities, state-owned enterprises, Schedule 4A Public Finance Act companies and other statutory entities on commercial, public law and regulatory matters.  He has advised on the establishment and during the set-up phase of entities including Pharmac, DHBs, EECA, Crown Fibre Holdings, Southern Response Earthquake Services, Crown Irrigation Investments and the Infrastructure Commission.  Simon also advises local government on public law, procurement and climate change issues. 

In his climate change practice, Simon first advised the New Zealand government on design of the legal framework for the emissions trading scheme and subsequent legislation.  His international work includes advising investment banks on cross-border carbon trading, advising the Bangladesh Parliament on climate change and human rights issues ahead of UN COP conferences, and advising the Governor of Aceh Province in Indonesia on the world’s first transaction creating carbon credits for avoided deforestation. 

Recent work 

Simon’s recent work includes advising EECA on the negotiation of funding agreements with New Zealand Steel to enable electrification of half its steel production – which will reduce New Zealand’s carbon emissions by 1% – and with Fonterra to increase its emissions reduction target to 50% by 2030.   

During the Covid pandemic, Simon advised Crown Infrastructure Partners on establishment of the ‘shovel-ready projects’ initiative and supported MBIE in leading contract negotiations to secure New Zealand’s portfolio of Covid-19 vaccines.  

Simon has advised the Electricity Authority extensively on its regulation of the electricity sector, including on development of the new transmission pricing methodology and Code drafting. 

Simon’s public sector procurement work includes acting as Probity Advisor for the ultra-fast broadband roll-out, for the PPP projects for new schools, prisons and state highways, for social housing and housing infrastructure, as well as for regional hospital redevelopments.  His probity advisory work has enabled over $8 billion of government procurement to occur without judicial review or other legal challenge. 

Professional recognition 

The Chambers Asia Pacific 2023 legal services guide ranks Simon in the top tier of public lawyers in New Zealand. Chambers Global ranks him as the country’s leading climate change lawyer, the only New Zealand lawyer ranked for the last nine years and in the top 15 climate legal specialists ranked as “Market Leaders” globally.  The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2023 has also named Simon in its “Hall of Fame” ranking for projects and environmental law. 

Governance and other roles 

Simon’s governance work includes advising private sector boards on climate change risks and liabilities and Crown entity boards on their duties and public accountabilities.  

Simon has been a Trustee of the Asia New Zealand Foundation and of the primary health organisation Tu Ora Compass Health (for 10 years in each role).  He was also a Director of Tu Ora’s GP practice ownership and business support services subsidiary, Latitude Health Limited. 

From 2017-2020 Simon was Independent Chair of the Fisheries Digital Monitoring Implementation Advisory Group (advising the Ministry for Primary Industries), comprising members representing iwi and other commercial fisheries interests, environmental and scientific NGOs, NIWA and the Department of Conservation. 

Simon was a member of Bell Gully’s Board for five years and served as the firm’s Deputy Chair, and Chair of the Wellington office. 

Simon’s current outside roles are: 

  • Layperson member and Deputy Chair, Medical Council of New Zealand 
  • New Zealand Honorary Adviser, Asia New Zealand Foundation 


  • New Zealand Law Society 
  • New Zealand Bar Association 
  • Institute of Directors 

Contact Simon

Level 2, Solnet House
70 The Terrace
Wellington 6011
Mobile: +64 21 605 384 


LLB (Hons), BA, Victoria University of Wellington
LLM, University of London