Jock Anderson 's Opinion

A look behind the scenes of the legal profession

Jock Anderson's Caseload: Is famous Sally Ridge broke?

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Jaime and Sally Ridge. Photo / Norrie Montgomery
Jaime and Sally Ridge. Photo / Norrie Montgomery

Sally Ridge (44), a person described by chums as a celebrity socialite and keen shopper, has been snubbed yet again in the higher courts.

Why there is not more sympathy for the lass beggars belief.

In what was earlier described by an Auckland High Court judge as a case which failed at the first hurdle, Mrs Ridge (former teen bride of professional sportsman Matthew Ridge) wanted half of her later partner and professional sportsman turned mortgage broker Adam Parore's company plus unpaid dividends.

Mrs Ridge's claim against Mr Parore was variously described in court as hopeless and always doomed to failure.

When her claim was thrown out, Mrs Ridge was ordered to pay Mr Parore $100,000 costs.

Unhappy with that, Mrs Ridge filed an appeal, but failed to pay security for costs of $5,880 into court.

She then asked the Court of Appeal to review the decision requiring costs security - or an extension of time to pay - claiming she had no means to pay.

Binning Mrs Ridge's costs plea, the Court of Appeal's Justice John Wild took the tentative view her appeal also lacked merit, noting that Mrs Ridge had not provided any evidence to show she was broke.

Mrs Ridge refused a $500,000 settlement offer before her claim went to court last September.

An observer of the saga said it appeared Mrs Ridge's initial claim was based on little more than wanting more money from Mr Parore.

"But wanting his money and proving she was entitled to it were two different beasts," said the observer.

"Not another damned whip-round?" said The Scunner.


Top Judge's Flag-Burning Past
Recent judicial juggling has brought about the first grand-slam Girls On Top "Quaddie" with women now running the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court and district court.

Newly anointed president of the Court of Appeal - regarded as a bustling engine-room of judicial activity - Justice Ellen France (56) has produced her share of interesting judgments.

But one which continues to irk was her 2004 High Court decision to overturn what many Kiwis felt was the justified conviction of leftie protestor Paul Barry Hopkinson for burning the New Zealand flag.

Justice France ruled Mr Hopkinson had a legal right to burn the flag as a form of freedom of expression. Other New Zealanders regarded it as disgusting treason.

According to then ACT MP Stephen Franks, Justice France's view that Mr Hopkinson's flag burning did not breach the Flags, Emblems and Names Protection Act 1981 would not have been shared by a single member of the Parliament that passed the measure.

Mr Franks said MPs would have thought they were prohibiting precisely the kind of action Mr Hopkinson indulged in.

In a letter to then Labour attorney general Margaret Wilson, Mr Franks said the judgment was an example of human rights induced judicial activism.

"...to ordinary citizens subject to the law it will remain sophistry to conclude that deliberately burning a flag to show detestation of actions of New Zealand by its Government, is not 'to destroy or damage the New Zealand flag in any manner with the intention of dishonouring it.'"

In a plea which was ignored, Mr Franks called on the new Supreme Court to lay down guidelines for judges to re-establish a self-restraint respectful of clear parliamentary intention.

Seven years on, in 2011, a Supreme Court headed by Dame Sian Elias quashed Anzac service flag-burner Valerie Morse's offensive behaviour conviction, which Auckland law professor Bill Hodge said effectively meant the New Zealand flag could be burnt "any time, anywhere" without fear of arrest.

Check out Stephen Franks' current thoughts on elevating judges and strengthening the courts on his website.


Some Lawyer Pay Will Be Cut
Three percent of hiring managers reckon lawyer wages will fall over the next six months, 42 per cent say they will stay the same and 55 per cent say they will increase.

In its half yearly market update, international professional recruitment firm Robert Walters says more job-hunting lawyers want to leave private practice for the right in-house opportunity, a trend expected to continue for the rest of the year.

At lower levels of experience in-house jobs pay better than private practice.

And because more lawyers have been restricted to a two-year OE, as a result of changes to UK visa eligibility, many of them will come home over the next year and competition for top-tier job candidates here will remain tight.

Meanwhile, as law firm closures outnumber openings, thousands of law graduates can't get legal work in England.


Seen And Heard
* In a final presided over by Justices Dame Susan Glazebrook and Sir William Young, Andrew Pullar and Andy Luck, as respondents, beat appellants Jennifer Howes and Anna Whaley to win the 2014 Law Foundation mooting competition in Wellington's old High Court.

* Justice Rodney Hansen QC and Bruce Gray QC are new honorary fellows of the Legal Research Foundation. Justice Hansen was foundation president for five years and Mr Gray a director for ten years.

* Former Russell McVeagh lawyer Matt Whineray (44) is new chief investment officer of the NZ Super Fund, which he joined in 2008 as general manager of private markets. Mr Whineray will manage 35 investment professionals and in New Zealand will be responsible for investment and the appointment of external investment managers.


Lawyer Reunion Roaring Success
Glowing reports confirm the recent 1980s Auckland university law school reunion was a roaring success with a "fantastic turnout."

Alumni came from around New Zealand, as well as Australia, the United States, Philippines and Cayman Islands.

Organised by a committee headed by Lady Deborah Chambers QC, the two-day reunion was described by lawyer Peter Spring, of Keegan Alexander, as "spectacularly successful."
Both nights exceeded expectations, Mr Spring told CaseLoad. "It was great to catch up with people one hadn't seen in decades and I know from the feedback I have received others enjoyed it as much as I did."

"I thought both events (drinks at the law school on the Friday, followed by a slap-up party on the Saturday night) were better than we could have hoped for," Bell Gully chairman Roger Partridge said.

"People seemed to really enjoy it, and I think it exceeded everyone's expectations," Bell Gully partner Alan Ringwood told CaseLoad. "It was fascinating to meet up again with so many people from so long ago and find out what had happened in their lives."

"You haven't changed a bit, Deb," Mr Ringwood teased.

As hard-core groovers took over the dance floor at Saturday's "Big I" party, Brookfields lawyer David Neutze took out the fancy-dress prize with his spooky likeness of Guns n' Roses singer Axl Rose.


A Gentleman Of High Degree
Associate Professor Bernard Brown, at 80 still teaching law at Auckland University, is well-known for his wit, wisdom and literacy.

Here's a delightful sample from his book "Unspeakable Practices," which cracked them up at the Auckland law school's recent 1980s reunion. It's called "Treats."

"The one with the permanent cold
And gingerbread fingers from smoking
Turned out to be a crown court judge
Who, shorn of wig and syntax,
Might have made a fit subject
For Heironymous Bosch or Lombroso
As can happen,
The insight of atavists was true:
He handed out sweeties
To children in the streets,
And to anyone else who did that,
The maximum."

Prof Brown assured CaseLoad [How did you get there? - Ed] this judge (of course) was not of a New Zealand jurisdiction.


Judicial Shuttle Limos
CaseLoad is advised by official statement that courts will now open later and close earlier each day in order to accommodate a fleet of judicial limos shuttling Their Honours between golf courses, Smith & Caugheys, Kirkcaldies and the odd court appearance.


Next Time
Kiwi jurists unhealthier than Poms.


Sometime Soon
Inside Judicial Boot Camp - How Their Honours Keep With It

- NZ Herald

Jock Anderson

A look behind the scenes of the legal profession

With a life-time of court reporting under his belt - and from the sanctuary of the Ladies & Escorts Lounge - journalist Jock Anderson produces law-flavoured news and views with a touch of humour - occasionally aided and abetted by disparate cronies including Our Man At The Bar and The Scunner.

Read more by Jock Anderson

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