For the third year running Wynn Williams will be supporting the Environmental Compliance Conference and in 2023 they will be our Jade Sponsor. We appreciate their continued support for this important annual event. We took the opportunity to ask what makes Wynn Williams tick and why ECC is so important to the work they do.
Wynn Williams is a full-service law firm, with offices in Auckland, Queenstown and Christchurch. Records suggest that they the oldest legal firm in are Ōtautahi, founded in Christchurch in 1859. They have 27 partners who are all leaders in their specialised fields, alongside 150 lawyers and support staff. Describing themselves as a “little big firm”, they have developed a collaborative ethos over their 164 years in practice.
Wynn Williams works with regional councils and other local authorities up and down the country.
The firm’s interest in the annual Environmental Compliance Conference draws particularly from the enthusiasm of its leaders in the Regulatory and Prosecutions Team. Joshua Shaw (Partner in Regulatory & Prosecutions) and Senior Associate Tim McGuigan are firm believers in shared knowledge across the regulatory and compliance sector, particularly when it comes to enforcement strategies and practical issues associated with compliance, monitoring and enforcement. They know that local authorities will often be grappling with similar enforcement issues and encourage the sharing of knowledge within the sector to allow them to form a common understanding and consistency in enforcement responses.
Wynn Williams also believes in helping Council’s to get “their ducks in a row”. They continue to ask whether there are any weaknesses or gaps in the case, especially if you are contemplating a prosecution. They have a strong focus on training, particularly around teaching others how to conduct a thorough investigation.
There needs to be a place to discuss and debate current issues and trends within the compliance, monitoring and enforcement sphere, and Wynn Williams believes that ECC provides the perfect platform to do that. Having intimate knowledge of this area itself, they tell us that ECC promotes collegiality between local authorities, which comes at a time when all of us will be adapting to a new enforcement landscape with the introduction of the Natural and Built Environment Act later this year.
Described as pragmatic, technically brilliant, solutions focused and client centric, the firm provides wrap around services, never hesitating to bring other experts to the table. They may have one expert in a particular field but are always willing to draw on others within the firm to provide complementary expertise. This is important because the prosecution process can be nuanced, particularly when a case involves rules or other statutory instruments that are open to multiple interpretations. The Regulatory and Prosecutions Team often utilises specialised local government, planning and RMA lawyers within the firm to provide their layer of expertise on complex cases.
They don’t just have an exemplary understanding of environmental law. They have specialists in local government law in all three of their offices and work at a strategic level with local government and elected representatives to support their decision-making processes.
“We seek optimum outcomes for all stakeholders involved including the environment”
Their lawyers are trial advocates; they’re working with regulators day in and day out on a broad spectrum of enforcement issues, including judicial review. They’re not just litigators, although matters of non-compliance often end up in court. They want to share what they’re doing and widen the optics.
We’re facing a transitional period around reform and Wynn Williams is aware that with a new suite of rules ahead, the industry will need to work together to adopt a strategic approach. The firm will look to what we’ve had before, what will remain, and what’s in the pipeline for the future.