“Tony Lendrum Named Alongside Top NZ Mediator”
- Academics: LexisNexis Property Relationships Masterclass 2008
- AMINZ Conference 2008
- New Zealand Family Law Conference 2009
Extract From National Business Review November 2010
WHY BUSINESS DOESN'T TRUST JUDGES ANYMORE by Jock Anderson
..Thiry years ago judges were generalist and thought they
could bring broad talents to bear but the changing world
and greater demands by litigants meant the age of the
generalist judge was gone.
Clients were looking at who was good in the field and
the future lay with specialist judges, not generalists.
[A senior civil lawyer] says the appointment process for
judges was also skewed, with the priority being to have
certain ratios of men and women in metropolitan and
provincial areas, rather than appointments on ability.
Courts were not giving decent expression of principle
in commercial cases.
And going to court was expensive, because court costs
awards cover only a fraction of real legal costs.
Court costs were generally set at a 2B basis - which
covered only 5-10% of actual legal costs.
If going to court cost $50,000, and the successful party
got back at best $5,000, would it not be better to go
private for $25,000? A going rate for private resolution
is about $8,000 a day and, anecdotally, most major
disputes are said to be resolved in about three days.
Some take one day.
Auckland barrister Warren Sowerby, of Bankside Chambers,
is regarded as the most successful mediator and arbi-
trator in New Zealand and the "guru" of the private
It was said Mr Sowerby, who was not available to
comment on this story, had about 95% success in
settling cases, and settled more disputes in a year
than the Auckland High Court.
A lot of his work is in Christchurch, where the High
Court hears few commercial claims. Other High Courts
around the country do little, if any, commercial work.
He had reputedly kept the parties at the table till
well after 1am or 2am if settlement was in sight - an
indicator mediation in the right hands was successful.
Parties have to agree to a final and binding
Auckland barrister Tony Lendrum was said to have had
similar success resolving Family Court-related
In many ways the private arbitration/mediation systems
mirror the way industrial disputes used to be resolved.
“Dinner Table to Negotiation
From Metro Magazine November 2007
Tony Lendrum recently trained as a mediator after 30
years as a family lawyer scrapping over divorce cases
in court. “ I was tired of the negativity of the
adversarial court system. I had a real belief that it
was a better way to resolve theses sort of disputes for
most people,” he says. Now he’s an ardent
cheerleader for mediation and is often called on by lawyers
to mediate property relationship cases with the aim of
reaching a swift resolution and keeping them out of court.
This involves getting the disputing couple in a room
and hammering out the issues, with legal guidance from
their lawyers. It usually takes one day and costs are
the mediator’s fee of about $4000 shared between
the two parties, plus the lawyers’ fees.
Recently Lendrum mediated a situation with many parallels
to the X v X case. A couple in their 40s had split after
20 years of marriage. The wife was a professional with
a good professional qualification who had put her career
to one side to travel with her husband while he obtained
further qualifications and to look after their family.
Lendrum says the wife was allowed the opportunity to
speak with some feeling about her situation during the
negotiations. The husband saw fit to offer a payout of
more than $650,000, to compensate for her terminated
career, a much greater sum than she could have expected
to get from a judicial judgement. All the lawyers were
amazed, says Lendrum. Including him.
Lendrum has had a number of other economic disparity
payments ranging between $100,000 and $200,000. He terms
them “fairness payments” because people,
especially wealthy male earners, tend to get their backs
up at the mention
of section 15....
.....Lendrum’s biggest case so far has been over a fortune
of $39 million, which he split close to evenly as both
parties, former business partners, were very pragmatic
and wanted it settled quickly and sensibly.
More than 95 per cent of Lendrum’s mediations settle
on the day. He believes the system works because, unlike
the courts, the people who are in dispute are in control
and have flexibility to nut out the outcomes that suit
them and retain some dignity and self-esteem. It saves
money, time and emotion. People are also more willing
to disclose their private finances in mediation knowing
that they wont be at risk of being exposed through the
courts. One of the things they like about it is that
it’s absolutely private and confidential,” says
“For example, I had a mediation that was going
nowhere through the courts primarily because one of the
parties was in all likelihood a drug dealer, although
he claimed he was a purveyor of party pills. It wasn’t
my job to decide if he was or he wasn’t but he was dealing in something.
He was very unhappy about going to court so you can draw your own conclusions
from that. He was very prepared to come to mediation, where he made a settlement
the was very appropriate”.