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Prominent lawyer to head Complaints Tribunal

The Government has appointed prominent lawyer Grant Pearson to chair the newly established Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal.

A Justice Ministry notification said the Tribunal would deal with appeals made against decisions of the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA), set up two years ago to oversee the activities of licensed immigration advisers and cleanse the immigration sector of unhealthy practices.

The Tribunal will also decide on matters involving immigration advisers referred by the IAA and “whether an immigration adviser’s license should be suspended pending a final decision by the Authority.”

Mr Pearson will hold the office for three years.

Announcing his appointment on October 13, Justice Minister Simon Power and Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman said it was a specialist position that required the right mix of legal and immigration experience.

“Mr Pearson’s knowledge of immigration law and experience as a decision-maker in immigration appeals will be welcome in the new tribunal,” they said.

Mr Pearson is currently a partner at Duncan Cotterill specialising in litigation and dispute work.

The Firm’s website said he has worked extensively for large law firms, in chambers as a tax barrister, and as a Crown Counsel in the Crown Law office, which deals with all Inland Revenue’s litigation on technical disputes.

“He has been counsel in over 100 tax cases at the High Court level and above (including four at the Privy Council) – thought to be more than any other lawyer in New Zealand. His practice has included representation and decision-making in matters of national significance. Major roles have included counsel assisting the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification; presenting submissions to consultative committees for Inland Revenue; and representing the Inland Revenue Department throughout the Winebox Commission of Inquiry,” it said.

Mr Pearson was a member of the Residence Removal Authority and the Refugee Status Appeals Authority. He was the deputy chair of the Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal from 1999-2001.

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