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The team

We are a team of diversified specialists, who understand people and their immediate and long term needs.

Our partners at Thomas Dewar come with a wealth of experience, each having practiced for over 20 years in the legal industry.

Specialising in litigation, all four partners bring different fields of expertise to Thomas Dewar. From representing clients in civil litigation to criminal law, insolvency to family law, and across all levels: various Tribunals, the Family Court and District Court, the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

We focus on building our team by developing young lawyers under the mentorship of our partners - passing on their vast range of knowledge and skill sets. This results in a strong, tight-knit firm, ready to provide you with great legal advice.

Partners

Gerard Dewar

LLB

Gerard heads the civil litigation team at Thomas Dewar.  Gerard has been working in litigation since 1979.  His fields of expertise include insurance law, insolvency, employment law, contractual disputes, banking, debt management and recovery, and education issues.  Gerard appears regularly in the District Court, High Court, Court of Appeal, Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court, and in a number of tribunals.

Gerard is regularly retained in a wide range of commercial litigation, leading a team of lawyers who undertake assignments for both large corporate entities and individuals.

Gerard serves as Chairman of the Wellington Rugby Union Disciplinary Committee and is on the Board of Te Omanga Hospice.  He also advises a significant number of local charities.

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Louise Sziranyi

LLB

Louise heads the criminal law team at Thomas Dewar and has extensive experience in the field, having commenced practice as a litigation lawyer in 1984.  Louise specialises in criminal law and youth advocacy, and also acts for clients in family and civil law matters from time to time.

Louise was appointed a District Inspector for Mental Health under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 in June 2014 and a District Inspector under the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003 in September 2016.

Louise is the managing partner of the firm, and oversees the day-to-day running of Thomas Dewar’s busy litigation practice.

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Gerard Letts

BSc LLB

Gerard heads the family law team at Thomas Dewar and has specialised in civil and family litigation since commencing practice in 1993.  

As well as supervising the firm's family lawyers, Gerard's practice comprises relationship property and trust property division, estate litigation and Court appointments as Counsel for Child in care of children, child protection and estate proceedings and as Counsel for Subject Person in PPPR proceedings. 

Gerard has been involved in various community organisations and is currently the Law Society appointee to the Board of the Personal Advocacy Trust (PAT).

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Daniel Vincent

BA LLB (Hons)

Daniel specialises in ACC and medico-legal work whilst also supervising the Family Law practice of the firm's Wellington Office. He has experience in Care of Children Act cases, Child Youth and Family matters and the resolution of Relationship Property disputes.

Prior to joining Thomas Dewar in 2002, Daniel worked for Bell Gully where he dealt with ACC appeals at both District and High Court levels, in addition to a variety of civil and public law matters in the High Court. Daniel also spent 18 months in the UK, where he handled prosecution and regulatory matters for a County Council, together with civil claims including a large compensation claim under Public Works legislation that was decided in the Court of Appeal (UK).

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Consultants

Greg Thomas

BA LLB

Greg has 30 years' experience in all Courts as a litigator and in general legal practice. He is able to give practical advice on disputes, negotiation, litigation and alternative dispute resolution. His fields of expertise include estate litigation, contractual disputes, and relationship property and trust litigation.

Greg was a partner at Thomas Dewar from 1995 to 2013. Greg retired from the partnership and became a consultant partner on 1 January 2014.

Greg has been involved in various community organisations and is presently Chair of E Tu Awakairangi Hutt Public Art Trust.

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Associate Partner

Clare Stanley

LLB (Hons)

Clare has over 18 years’ experience as a lawyer.  She oversees the firm’s property and local government teams, and is also a criminal and civil litigator.  Clare regularly appears in the District and High Courts, including jury trials and appeals.  Clare’s local government work sees her assisting local authorities on a variety of matters, including rating issues, property and development, infrastructure matters and dog prosecutions.  

Clare heads our property team, undertaking conveyancing and subdivisions, and providing general property advice.  Clare is a member of the Criminal Bar Association and the Property Law Section of the NZ Law Society.  She joined Thomas Dewar in 1998, having graduated from Otago University in 1996, and worked as a Judge’s Clerk at the High Court prior to entering private practice.

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Senior Associates

Craig Foster

BA LLB

Craig specialises in family law, wills and estates, all aspects of elder law (including Powers of Attorney and applications under the PPPR Act), and criminal law.  Craig is also appointed by the Family Court to act as Lawyer for Child in Family Court proceedings.  Craig has regularly appeared in the Family Court and District Court since he joined Thomas Dewar in 2007, and also in the High Court.  Craig is a member of the Family Law Section and the Trusts and Estates Committee of the Law Society.  Craig volunteers at the Community Law Centre and Citizens Advice Bureau in Lower Hutt.

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Matt Freeman

BSc (Hons) LLB

Matt has experience in all areas of litigation and specialises in civil litigation, relationship property and trust litigation. He also advises clients in those areas in order to assist them to avoid litigation.  Matt is the first point of contact for all construction law matters and advises and represents a large number of clients in leaky building and construction contract litigation. Matt has been with Thomas Dewar since 2006.

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Associates

Matthew Anderson

LLB

Matt specialises in civil, criminal defence and family law litigation, and also has experience in employment and property law.  Matt appears regularly in the District Court, Family Court and High Court on a wide range of matters including contract enforcement, relationship property, guardianship disputes and criminal matters.  Matt is a registered legal aid provider for civil, criminal and family disputes.  He also provides volunteer advice through the Hutt Valley Community Law Centre and Citizens Advice Bureau.  Matt graduated from Victoria University in 2005, commenced practice in 2006 and joined Thomas Dewar in 2010.

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Katie Paterson

LLB BA

Katie practices in the areas of criminal, family and civil litigation as well as estate matters including preparing wills and EPAs. Katie also undertakes regulatory prosecutions for local authorities.  Katie is experienced in dealing with relocation disputes and other guardianship and parenting matters including relationship property, domestic violence and CYFS work, as well as more specialised issues such as allegations of parental alienation and child abuse.  Katie is a registered legal aid provider for civil, criminal and family disputes, and also provides volunteer advice through the Hutt Valley Community Law Centre and Citizens Advice Bureau.

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Staff Solicitors

Peter McKenzie-Bridle

BA LLB DipSW

Peter has been working in family and civil litigation since 2014, focusing mostly on care of children and relationship property disputes, employment matters, and debt liability and recovery actions in the District and High Courts in Wellington.  He also appears periodically as duty solicitor in the Wellington District Court.  Peter provides volunteer advice through the Wellington and Hutt Valley Community Law Centre (Kilbirnie Outreach, and the Employment Clinic).  Peter graduated from Victoria University in 2014, which followed on from earlier careers in IT and child protection social work.  Peter started work at Thomas Dewar in June 2014.

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Samantha Brennan

LLB BA

Samantha specialises in family law having worked in the field since 2012. Samantha appears regularly in the Family Court, is a registered legal aid provider for family matters, and is a member of the Family Law Section, the Wellington Family Courts Association and the Wellington Family Law Committee. Samantha provides volunteer advice through the Hutt Valley Community Law Centre and the Lower Hutt Citizens Advice Bureau. Samantha graduated from Victoria University where she studied law, classical studies and English literature. She began working at Thomas Dewar in 2016. 

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Matthew Fairweather

LLB BA

Matt currently specialises in family law having worked in the field since 2009.  Matt also has experience in employment, immigration and conveyancing.  Matt has also worked in London for both private firms and for Local Authorities.  Matt has appeared in Family, District and High Courts, is a registered legal aid provider for civil and family matters and is a member of Family Law Section and Wellington Family Courts Association.  Matt provides volunteer advice through the Hutt Valley Community Law Centre and the Lower Hutt Citizens Advice Bureau.  Matt graduated from Canterbury where he studied Law, Sociology and Mass Communication.  Matt began working at Thomas Dewar in 2015.

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Rosie Purchas

LLB

Rosie works in the areas of family law, trust law, estate law and health law.  She joined Thomas Dewar in 2015 and has a wealth of experience having worked Miriam Menzies & Co in Upper Hutt, Bell Gully in Wellington, Freshfields in London, and as an in-house solicitor with the AMP Society.  Prior experience includes work involving the Misuse of Drugs Act, ACC Reviews, Fair Trading Act compliance, employment law, commercial trusts, superannuation, employee benefits schemes, and insurance law in New Zealand and the EEC (prior to Brexit). 

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Rebecca Stoop

LLB (Hons)

Rebecca provides legal advice and representation in the areas of civil, criminal and family law. Rebecca has appeared in the District, Family and High Courts on a variety of different matters, and is a registered legal aid provider for criminal law. Rebecca also provides volunteer advice through the Hutt Valley Community Law Centre, the Lower Hutt Citizens Advice Bureau and the Newtown Citizens Advice Bureau. Rebecca graduated from Otago University where she obtained an LLB(Hons). She was admitted to the bar in 2015, and began working at Thomas Dewar in 2016.

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Matthew Crooymans

LLB BA (Hons)

Matthew works in the fields of family, criminal and civil law litigation and has appeared in the District Court and Family Court on numerous occasions. Matthew is a registered legal aid supervised provider for family, criminal and civil matters and is a member of the Wellington Family Courts’ Association. Matthew also provides volunteer advice through the Hutt Valley Community Law Centre and the Lower Hutt Citizens Advice Bureau. Matthew graduated from Victoria University of Wellington where he studied law, English literature and media studies. Matthew began working at Thomas Dewar in 2016.

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Charlotte Shade

LLB BA (HONS)

Charlotte works in the fields of family, civil and criminal law litigation. She appears regularly in the District Court on a range of matters and also provides volunteer advice through the Hutt Valley Community Law Centre and the Lower Hutt Citizens Advice Bureau. Charlotte graduated from Victoria University in 2015 where she studied law, political science and religion, and started legal practice in the same year.  She joined Thomas Dewar in 2017.

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Family Administrator

Tracey Royer

Tracey is the firm's Family Team Administrator and has been working with Thomas Dewar since 2008.  Tracey assists with the management of family work within the firm and is the first point of contact and support for new clients.  She also provides direct support to Gerard Letts and a number of family team members and is a member of the Wellington Family Courts Association.  Tracey has worked in the legal profession, both in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, for over 25 years as a legal secretary and administrator.  

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Civil & Criminal Administrator

Janne Fulcher

Janne is the firm’s Civil/Criminal Team Administrator and has been with Thomas Dewar since 2005.  Janne works directly with Gerard Dewar and Louise Sziranyi, providing PA support for them in their busy practices and assists new and existing clients with their initial enquiries relating to civil and criminal matters.  Janne has spent most of her life living and working in the Hutt Valley.

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Firm Management & Accounts

Veronika Duthie-Jung

AT Dip Bus

Veronika is the firm’s accounts manager, having started with Thomas Dewar in 2010. Veronika is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and has a background in banking.  Veronika's role at Thomas Dewar involves overseeing the firm’s trust account, operating the firm’s office accounts and liaising with our various external providers regarding financial matters. 

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Lower Hutt Office

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+64 (04) 570 0442

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+64 (04) 570 0442

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