Blackstone Chambers

Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand

Doctor of Juridical Science [dyn]Fellow Chartered Institute of Secretaries and Administrators [dyn]Barrister High Court of New Zealand [dyn]Barrister and Solicitor Australia [dyn]Defence Counsel Pitcairn Island [dyn]
Only NZ lawyer ever to have won any cases before the UN Human Rights Committee and UN Committee Against Torture

Contact for Consultation


Tony is a leading New Zealand Human Rights lawyer. Tony is based in Wellington but can also see clients in Central Auckland.

Tony’s approach to the law is international and comparative he holds four law degrees from Australia, England and New Zealand.

He is the first New Zealand lawyer ever to have won any cases before the United Nations Human Rights Treaty Bodies, four before the United Nations Human Rights Committee and one before United Nations Committee against Torture Vogel v New Zealand. He has also won a case before United Nations Working Party against Arbitrary Detention A v New Zealand. He regularly attends United Nations Human Rights meetings about New Zealand issues in Geneva and New York. His first UN case Rameka v New Zealand is listed in 50 “Leading cases of the Human Rights Committee” by Raija Hanski and Martin Scheinin.

On 31 October 2017 Tony travelled to Geneva for “the first case in which such an invitation has been extended” to orally provide additional information in a complex case before the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Miller and Carroll v New Zealand. This decision delivered in April 2018 is an important case for all New Zealand prisoners on either preventive detention or other indeterminate sentences such as life for murder, or lengthy periods of detention for the mentally ill or intellectually disabled.

Tony’s work is widely reported in the law reports, there are at least 100 cases reported with 55 cases being in the Court of Appeal and Taunoa v Attorney-General in the Law Reports of the Commonwealth.

Tony takes private work and civil and criminal legal aid in the High Court, or above. He will consider cases in specialist tribunals, but would rarely take a Family Law Case.

Tony’s interests include human rights generally, Civil and Criminal trials and appeals, Judicial reviews, Habeas Corpus, Extradition, Constitutional Law, Intellectual Disability, Mental Health and Preventive Detention cases as well as cases involving recusal (disqualification) of Judges.

He has predominately a public law and criminal practice. He is well known for taking judicial reviews, and compensation covering prisoners rights including deaths or other abuses in custody, and other breaches of human rights. His Privy Council case Taito v R resulted in a possible 1500 cases being wrongly decided.

Tony was President or Chairperson of the New Zealand Council of Civil Liberties for over 8 years until the end of 2008. He has been a frequent media spokesman on civil liberties and human rights issues and has made numerous of submissions to Select Committees on aspects of proposed legislation.

Prof Mads Andenæs, Faulty of Law University of Oslo, and Ex Chairperson of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in 2018 described Dr Ellis as the most important legal practitioner bringing cases to the UN human rights treaty bodies, and also an outstanding legal scholar.



About Dr Tony Ellis from all the media in New Zealand.


Tony will accept cases in the following areas in the High Court or above: