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Release from the 2022 APAC Insider Legal Awards: Based in Hamilton, New Zealand, Martin Dillon is a litigation specialist brimming with passion and power. We find out more about his practice, and what sets it aside from the rest, as he wins an award in the APAC Legal Awards, 2022.
Martin Dillon is a litigation lawyer who deals with a broad range of civil disputes, regulatory proceedings and criminal prosecutions. Martin provides advice and advocacy for corporate clients, private individuals, and government institutions. He enrolled as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in 2007 after obtaining a law degree from the University of Auckland.
“Two important founding values were responsible conflict resolution and promoting access to justice,” he explains. “These have not changed in the years since I established my practice.” The focus on access to justice has seen the practice expand into jurisdictions it would not have entered otherwise and, Martin tells us, this is the result of taking clients on a Civil Legal Aid basis.
“There is relatively high demand for Civil Legal Aid lawyers in New Zealand, but relatively few lawyers who regularly take clients on under that regime,” says Martin. “From time to time I take cases in less familiar areas in order to help clients who will not receive it otherwise. This tends to broaden the practice and promote continuing professional development.”
As with a lot of industries, there has been a significant increase in the use of digital technology in litigation over the last few years, largely driven by the Covid-19 pandemic and associated restrictions. This has had mainly positive benefits, however. Many more court appearances are now being attended remotely by video link and there is less of a preference for hardcopy documents generally, meaning some court registries now handle emails more efficiently than before. As a result, certain administrative elements of litigation have become more efficient.
Martin is very much onboard with the changing times and is passionate about communication, believing it to be paramount in helping clients to understand their position as, very often, people fear the unknown and therefore careful explanations can reduce stress by minimising the amount of unknown factors in litigation.
Martin has written fairly extensively about the civil work that he conducts and made all the information freely accessible on his website. This is just one of the elements which sets him aside from others in the sector. A revised and updated version of Martin’s online content is also now available in his book ‘Civil Litigation for Non-Lawyers: A Plain English Guide to Civil Cases in New Zealand’. As well as this, Martin runs a podcast called ‘Legal Questions’, where he discusses issues raised by listeners.
“The idea with all of those is to help people gain a better understanding of the law and the legal issues that they may face in their lives,” he says. “All of this seems to hold some attraction for clients, as it tends to reduce concern that my business might not put their interests ahead of profit.”
Recently, Martin was recognised in the APAC Legal Awards 2022 for his diligence in the industry and rewarded with the title of Most Innovative Disputes & Prosecutions Lawyer 2022 (New Zealand). He is now looking towards a bright, yet busy, future.
“I am looking forward to having a few guests on the podcast when I can find the time,” he enthuses. “Right now things are at a stage where I will either have to reduce the caseload or take on new staff, which is a nice problem to have!”
This plain English guide to civil cases in New Zealand was published by The Legal Drive in 2021. It is [available here].
The book provides information about how to run a civil court case in New Zealand. It includes guidance on how to commence a claim in the District Court and the High Court, including what information is needed for particular documents. There is a detailed section on court costs with tables and examples. It also includes chapters on alternative dispute resolution, employment issues, residential tenancies and disputes tribunals. The book is suited to beginners to civil disputes and procedures.
Various articles published by CourtKeys.com in 2015 are available on this website. The content of these has now been revised, updated and included in the 2021 publication Civil Litigation for Non-Lawyers. The 2015 articles are still available [here], although please note that they may now be out of date.
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