What Others Say

What Others Say

Feature: Bar none by Nick Smith "Lawyer Tony Ellis may well be the government's public enemy number one." New Zealand Listener, November 6-12 2004, Vol 196. No 3365 here

Poor man's saviour "Fighting for the rights of those at the bottom of the social rung is not glamorous enough for many lawyers, but for barrister Tony Ellis it's his lifeblood" Wendy Murdoch, Dominion Post, 21 December 2002

Brief encounters "One of the two privy counsellors selected to sit with Lord Bingham was Mrs Justice Elias, Chief Justice of New Zealand and titular head of the very Court of Appeal whose procedures were being challenged. Tony Ellis, of the New Zealand Bar, suggested yesterday that she might just possibly be seen to have an interest in the outcome of the case (remember Pinochet?)." Daily Telegraph UK, 6 February 2001 here

North & South: Seeking Justice for Jason "Wellington human rights lawyer Tony Ellis says there remains a significant lack of understanding across the criminal justice system about the rights of the intellectually disabled and what the new acts mean." July 2009, p32-40

TVNZ The Investigator What about Emely? "In 2002 Wellington Barrister Tony Ellis took up her case with a number of others to The Privy Council in London who found in a landmark decision (called the Taito decision after the first of the listed cases) that the New Zealand Court of Appeal had been unlawful in the way it was deciding which appellants got legal aid and which did not." link here

Widespread ignorance on matters of human rights 'Bulter praised Ellis's ability to look at cases through a human rights lens. "Tony has a very active imagination in terms of seeing problems," he said" Page 4 - New Zealand Law Society Wellington Branch Council Brief December 2010

NZLawyer "Human Rights lawyer Tony Ellis has been nominated for Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand’s (AIANZ) annual Human Rights Defender Award." NZ Lawyer extra, 3 December 2010, Edition 16 here

"I would like to take the opportunity to again say that you did a brilliant job of your submission. It is easier to review one's position (especially if one is fundamentally a reasonable person, which I believe I am) when one hears a cogently argued case that appeals to the head as well as the heart as opposed to utterances being filled with hot air and laced with threats and venom. So thank you for that." comment from Capital and Coast DHB, opponent in employment grievance, October 2009

Letter from Rodney Martin 11 Feb 2011 "I have been long impressed with your rare style and sure footedness" pdf here

Mental Health Commission No Force Advocacy here

Fulun Dafa Tony chairs public forum with international speakers here

New Zealand Hansard extracts:

"We can see an example of that in Tony Ellis, a barrister in Wellington, who has developed the law of human rights in the courts of this country like no other lawyer before him. He is outspoken and he is not ashamed to take judges head-on, but that is not a prescription for becoming a Queen’s Counsel." RUSSELL FAIRBROTHER (Labour) Reported in Hansard here

"Rt Hon Winston Peters: When the Prime Minister says she has spent a long time studying this subject and has read widely on it, is that what led her to say that the last time Māori went successfully to the Privy Council was in 1927; if so, is she not aware of the fact that last year there was a decision, in the case of Taito, James McLeod Bennett, and 10 others, that affected hundreds of New Zealanders, on the question of legal aid—a case brought, successfully, by a former clerk-assistant of this House, Ellis—and that three-quarters of those people were Māori; is she not aware of that, and, if she is aware of it, then she clearly must be quoted on radio today as telling lies, and, if not, could she explain why she is so ignorant on the matter?" Reported in Hansard here

"Ron Mark: Can the Prime Minister not understand the scepticism of people like the Bain family when it comes to her Government’s reluctance to move on some inquiries but seeming haste to move on others, so aptly summed up by Tony Ellis, who said: “You complain to the ombudsman, he complains to Parliament that he cannot get a prompt and impartial investigation, you go to the chief district court judge, he says he is not resourced, you then go to the High Court that takes months. If it’s soldiers at Waiouru you instantly get an inquiry, but if it’s prisoners you can’t get anyone to do anything.”; does that not sum up this Government’s approach to independent inquiries?" Reported in Hansard here

"Well, it is a shame that the bill has come back and has to be dealt with now, right when the case is before the Court of Appeal. Because I think the Government will not get away with this. It might be rescued by the Court of Appeal, but Tony Ellis is a very diligent lawyer for his clients. He believes in what he is doing. I honour him for what he puts into the cases. I disagree with the outcomes and I disagree with his convictions, but he is doing his job properly—unlike this Government." STEPHEN FRANKS (ACT) Reported in Hansard here

'I will quote from an editorial in the Sunday Star-Times of 5 September 2004, but first I will say that the words are from a lawyer who has done a lot to promote the issue of prisoners’ compensation, Tony Ellis. He said: “What one forgets is that these prisoners have been victims too, and two wrongs don’t make a right. The crimes that the men committed are contemptible and grave, and the men deserve to lose their liberty for them. But the abuses committed by the prison system are also serious. Those who say the men deserve nothing overlook this. What they are saying, in effect, is that in this case, wrongdoing should be winked at.” The editorial then went on to state, and this is important: “If nobody guards the guards, we are headed down the path that leads to Abu Ghraib. Prisons are too often closed worlds where the power of the jailers goes unchecked. Abuses must be punished. If they are not, the state is reduced”' TIM BARNETT (Labour—Christchurch Central) Reported in Hansard here

"This appears to be a minor provision but it has quite serious implications. It was raised before the select committee by Tony Ellis and other civil liberties lawyers, who were concerned at some of the trouble we have had in the last 10 years with anonymous decisions from the Court of Appeal, which led to the fiasco of the Taito case, which eventually had to go to the Privy Council. On the way there were several review hearings of judges being asked to stand aside because of conflict of interests because of notes they had been a party to signing but had not needed to declare their involvement. The select committee was assured that the Rules Committee would look at a process whereby the judges would be identified every time they made a decision—whether it be by way of minutes, by way of notes, or by way of more formal judgments." RUSSELL FAIRBROTHER (Labour) Reported in Hansard here

"Tony Ellis has taken appeals to the UN Human Rights Committee. I think he won three of them on such similar substantive legal grounds where the New Zealand jurisdiction seems to be at odds with international law." KEITH LOCKE (Green) Reported in Hansard here

Cartoon of Tony Ellis by Murray Webb (search for reference: DX-001-916) here

Recent Newspaper/TV Articles

"Low Pay but human rights interesting: Smith's lawyer", Sunday Star Times, 16 November 2014 here

"Phillip Smith's stepdad: Just bloody well give yourself up", NZ Herald, 12 November 2014 here

"Child molester's case might go to UN" Dominion Post, 3 November 2014 here

"Case of Kiwi jailed for 45 years taken to UN" Dominion Post, 26 August 2014 here

"UN complaint over NZ prisoner compo" NZN, 24 June 2013 here

"'Light at end of tunnel' for Swann" Otago Daily Times, 14 June 2013 here

"Judge told he should surrender knighthood" Dominon Post, 11 June 2013 here

"Police spy sues for mental pain" Dominion Post, 11 February 2013 here

"Korean-born Kiwi in Limbo over extradition" Dominion Post, 9 October 2012 here

"Inmates paid out for being in jail too long" Dominion Post, 8 May 2012 here

"Old Man Groper still 'High Risk'" Stuff, 23 March 2012 here

"Tech issues disrupt Pitcairn Island mayor's child porn hearing" APNZ, 12 December 2011 here

"Crim's Payout for Lost Designer Luggage Dominion Post, 10 December 2011 here

"Vicent Siemer Legal Rights Activist Jailed" Dominion Post, 3 September 2011 here

"Clampdown on running businesses from prison", NZPA, 27 August 2011 here

"Phillip John Smith Crackdown on Business Behind Bars" Dominion Post, 27 August 2011 here

"Pitcairn mayor on child porn charges", NZ Herald, 4 December 2010 here

"Pitcairn mayor charged over child porn" Dominion Post, 4 December 2010 here

"New legal aid bill flawed, say lawyers" Dominion Post, 15 October 2010 here

"Credibility of United Nations Human Rights Committee is not so easily hijacked" Dominion Post, 12 April 2010 here