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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Further COVID-19 relief available for SMEs Relief is now available for small and medium sized enterprises (“SMEs”) whose revenue has been affected by the recent COVID-19 Alert Level hikes (from Alert Level 1 to Level 2 for most of the country) during February 2021, with applications for grants and subsidies having recently opened on the Inland Revenue and Work and Income websites. Link
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Residential Tenancy changes – A new landscape for Landlords and Tenants The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 came into force on 12 August 2020.  It changed the landscape for Landlords and Tenants in New Zealand by amending the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (“the Act”).  Whether you’re a Landlord or Tenant, here’s how the changes affect you. Link
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Employment Court Clarifies Criteria for Fixed Term Employment Agreements

A sincere belief that the circumstances warrant a fixed term agreement will not meet the criteria set by the Employment Relations Act

Fixed term employment agreements are strictly regulated by section 66 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 ("the Act"). If the criteria set by section 66 are not met, a fixed term agreement may be held to be invalid, resulting in the employee being a permanent employee instead.

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Employment Law and the 2020 Election - What's on offer?

New Zealand's General Election is being held on 17 October 2020. This article provides a snapshot of some of the parties’ proposed policies on wages and working conditions. 

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Supreme Court decision heightens risk of personal liability for directors

After a long gestation period, the Supreme Court has released its judgment in Debut Homes v Cooper [2020] NZSC 100 which clarifies the circumstances in which a director of a closely-held company will be personally liable for debts incurred by a company following a decision to continue trading when the company is in financial difficulty.

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Workplace Employment Investigators Require a Licence or Practicing Certificate There has been a recent, and significant, clarification of the licensing requirements for employment investigators. Link
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Supreme Court confirms mining legislation no longer gets the “special treatment”

The recent Supreme Court case of Rangitira Developments Limited v Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Incorporated [2020] NZSC 66 has clarified the legal position regarding the relationship between the Reserves Act and other relevant legislation.

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Protecting your Personal Information in the Digital Age

From 1 December 2020, the Privacy Act 2020 (“the Act”) will replace the Privacy Act 1993 (“the 1993 Act”). The Act introduces sweeping reform to promote New Zealander’s confidence that their personal information is secure and treated properly by public and private sector agencies.

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Employment Court widens the definition of gross earnings - Employers beware
Gross earnings provide the basis on which an employer calculates an employee’s annual holiday pay.
If an employer does not get this calculation right based on a misunderstanding of what constitutes ‘gross earnings’, they may find themselves in a situation where an employee’s holiday pay entitlements have been underpaid, resulting in an unexpected liability under the Holidays Act 2003 (“the Act”).
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First Employment Relations Authority Determination on Government Wage Subsidy Pay Reductions and Dismissals With the Government Wage Subsidy Extension continuing to be available until 20 October 2020, the Employment Relations Authority (“ERA”) on 30 June 2020 issued a timely determination on whether or not an employer is released from the obligation to pay wages or salary under an employee’s employment agreement and/or the Wages Protection Act 1983 by accepting the Government Wage Subsidy (“GWS”). Link
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Small Businesses and Rent Disputes Small businesses paying full rent on commercial leases when Covid-19 measures prevented them fully occupying their premises have today been given a pathway to rent reductions in a long-awaited government package released today. Link
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Planning redundancies once your employees’ wage subsidy runs out? Not so fast!

Planning redundancies once your employees’ wage subsidy runs out? Not so fast!

Times are tough for many New Zealand businesses right now. As a result of Covid-19 and its implications, many businesses have had to lay off staff or temporarily or permanently close due to significant decreases in revenue.

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COVID-19 – New Relief For Small Businesses – Government Small Business Cashflow Scheme

On 1 May 2020, the Government announced a new initiative to help small businesses grapple with the devastation inflicted by COVID-19 and the Government’s response to it: the Small Business Cashflow Scheme (SBCS).

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Government Support for Business The Government has this morning introduced a new suite of measures to provide relief for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Finance Minister Grant Robertson stated that the measures apply and impact on small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) in particular, and largely relate to tax payments and deadlines, commercial leasing and mortgages, and business advice. Link
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Covid-19 – Changes to Company & Insolvency Law to help Preserve Businesses Today the Government announced urgent legislative changes to the Companies Act 1993 (“the Act”) to help companies face the unique challenges presented by COVID-19. Link
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Commercial Leases - Covid-19 and no access to premises The spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand and the Government’s response of introducing a nationwide lockdown has meant that all non-essential businesses have closed for the initial 4 week period, preventing many businesses’ access to their premises. The unprecedented circumstances have left tenants and landlords scrambling to assess their obligations under leases, especially in relation to rent and outgoings payments. Link
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Covid-19: Know your obligations as an employer While the number cases of Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) in New Zealand remains relatively low, it is now inevitable that the outbreak will have a significant impact on many aspects of daily life.  Link
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Chasing the Loan Sharks Out of the Water The Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill (“CCLAB”) received Royal Assent on 19 December 2019, and introduces a number of changes that strengthen the requirements of responsible lending for banks and financial institutions. Link
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REINZ/ADLS Agreement for Sale and Purchase – Update 2019 Banking on pulling out of purchasing a property? Not so fast! Link
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Turbulence in the regions 2 In this second article in our three-part series, we look at some of the important changes to aviation law contained in the Civil Aviation Bill. This topic formed part of presentations by Ford Sumner’s Jaesen Sumner and Sarah Churstain at the recent New Zealand Airports’ Conference. 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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