A tight team with big capability

Who we are

Ford Sumner’s focus on building strong relationships is what makes us special. Our clients trust us to get it right; because we do, many of them have worked with us since we began.

Our team collaborates to provide expert, personal and individualised service. We’re responsive, with a can-do attitude, and we always bring our ‘A’ game.

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Expertise

How can we help you?

OUR PEOPLE

Meet our team

Our team’s big enough to be experts across many fields, and small enough to know and care about each other, and our clients.

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Automated Documents

What does our legal document suite and automation software mean for our clients? Agreements to You is able to produce high-quality legal documentation in a shorter time – and with greater accuracy and less cost.  

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Latest legal news

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Fair Pay Agreements Bill to Take Effect Very Soon

The widely disputed Fair Pay Agreements Bill (“FPA Bill”) has been passed and will take effect on 1 December 2022. When it takes effect, the Act will provide a framework for collective bargaining for fair pay agreements (“FPA’s”) across all New Zealand industries or occupations, rather than just between unions and particular employers.

 

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Lease Renewals – Not as simple as you might think… A right of renewal provides a commercial tenant with the option to enter into a new lease with a landlord when the current lease expires. If a tenant fails to give notice of intention to renew the lease, the risks can be significant. This was the situation in the recent High Court case of Storageone Kapiti (2012) Ltd v Sharja Ltd. Link
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Practical Ways of Recovering a Debt: Letters of Demand From time to time you may need to take formal steps to recover a debt owed to you in the course of providing your services. Link
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Recent US Court case Zuru v Glassdoor serves as wake up call for New Zealand Employers The California-based website Glassdoor Incorporated (“Glassdoor”) recently lost a case brought against it by New Zealand-based company ZURU Toys New Zealand Limited (“Zuru”). Personal information surrounding anonymous reviews must now be released from Glassdoor to Zuru to allow them to pursue a defamation claim against suspected present and past employees who expressed their resentment of the company online. Link
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Consultation, a ‘must’ for Employers when directing employees to take annual leave The Employment Court’s recent decision in E Tū Incorporated v Carter Holt Harvey LVL Limited (“Carter Holt Harvey”) has confirmed it is essential that employers consult with employees before giving annual leave directions. Link
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Should I Establish a Trust?

Trusts play an important role in New Zealand society and its economy. There are an estimated half million trusts existing in New Zealand – and with good reason as trusts,  when established and managed properly, provide a valuable long-term asset management structure.

 

There are a range of reasons to establish a Trust, including flexibility for your family and business.  A Trust can be an excellent way to protect and preserve assets while benefitting your business and family members during and beyond your lifetime.

 

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New Protected Disclosures Act a reminder for employers to ensure they have solid whistleblowing policies in place The Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act (“the Act”) comes into effect from 1 July 2022, replacing the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 (“the 2000 Act”). Link
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Is it workplace ‘banter’ or simply harassment? A recent decision from the Employment Relations Authority (Authority), AKD v Clarence Street Warehouse Limited [2022] NZERA 255, has addressed the risks employers may face when ‘boys club’ work environments cross the threshold from workplace banter into sexual harassment. Link
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Are your workplace policies actually enforceable? Employers should ensure that workplace policies are readily accessible, explicit and within the scope of employee's contractual obligations. That is the key message from a recent decision of the Employment Relations Authority. Link
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Succession Law changes considered by Parliament The Government has recently provided its initial response to the New Zealand Law Commission (“the Commission”)’s recommendations to reform succession laws in New Zealand. Link
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Why do I need a will? Death is the most uncomfortable fact of life. Perhaps this is why less than half of adult New Zealanders have a will. However, there are a number of good reasons to buck this trend by ‘getting your affairs in order’ sooner rather than later. Link
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Employers can still be stung during trial periods A recent decision from the Employment Relations Authority (Authority), Williams v Team One Limited [2022] NZERA 180, is an example of the Authority upholding the important objects of the Employment Relations Act 2000 (the Act) by acknowledging and addressing the inherent imbalance of power between those in employment relationships as well as promoting the enforcement of employment standards. Link
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New immigration settings a green light for New Zealand businesses The government has announced the full re-opening of the border two months earlier than initially anticipated. From 31 July 2022, New Zealand’s international border will open to all tourists and visa holders. Link
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What should I do if I think my employee has committed serious misconduct? Employers were recently issued with a timely reminder to ensure serious allegations against employees are properly investigated prior to taking any disciplinary action. Link
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Fair Pay Agreements (FPAs): A Brief Overview

The highly anticipated Fair Pay Agreements Bill (“the Bill”) was introduced to Parliament this week and is expected to shake up the employment law scene.

The Bill provides a framework  within which fair pay agreements (“FPAs”) can be bargained The Bill’s objective is to “improve labour market outcomes in New Zealand by enabling employers and employees to collectively bargain industry-wide or occupation-wide minimum employment terms.

 
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What do the changes to the COVID-19 traffic light system mean for my business?

With modelling showing an expected decline in the current Omicron outbreak in early April, the Government has confirmed that long-awaited changes to New Zealand’s COVID-19 Protection Framework will shortly come into effect. 

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Solvency – A Plague On Directors’ Minds Solvency issues are top of mind for many Kiwi businesses in the face of the prolonged disruption caused by COVID-19, together with rising interest rates, inflation and supply chain issues. Link
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COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates continue to fall away Fonterra has discarded its strict vaccine policy and is instead allowing unvaccinated staff to take daily rapid antigen tests. Link
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Restraint of Trade Clauses in Employment Agreements – Enforcement remains available to employers.

The Employment Relations Authority (“the Authority”) decision O’Brien v Discovery New Zealand Ltd issued a firm reminder that properly drafted restraint of trade provisions can and will be enforced against employees seeking to jump ship. 

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Vaccine mandate order overturned for Police and Defence Force As it turns out, vaccine mandates may not be enforced as easily as originally anticipated. A recent COVID-19 High Court case has determined the vaccine mandate for police and defence force staff to be ‘unlawful’. The order requiring New Zealand police and defence force to be vaccinated has now been quashed. Link

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Our Community

Connecting with each other is vital to all of us, and at Ford Sumner our community’s central to who we are.

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If you would like to discuss more, share feedback or ask any questions, please get in touch. We’re here to help.

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