JGH Barrister: Notable Contributions to Society

Lawyers can often appear serious and standoffish, especially when working in high profile cases. At times, many attorneys working in the field become too preoccupied with working on their legal practice that they give off an unapproachable, cold and unsympathetic vibe. However, the mark of a truly caring legal practitioner is his roles in various aspects of society.

James Gardner Hopkins is a lawyer that not only excels in his legal work but also sees to it that he has contributions to the society. Here’s what you need to know about this one-of-a-kind lawyer:

His Role in the Local Government

Back when he is with Russel McVeagh and even with his independent practice as a barrister, James has always been involved with various work with the local government. In fact, he was involved in more than 20 judicial proceedings. His involvement includes giving legal advice with regards to resource consent, rating policies, development contributions levies and building consent matters.

By working with the local government, he was able to address supermarket wars cases, settled matters regarding tourism operators and residential developments, as well as owners of hospitality businesses. Other cases he worked on as a judicial adviser includes the Christchurch re-zoning and a waahi tapu site.

His Focus on the Environment

Aside from working with the local government, you will notice that James has been working on cases that affect the environment. As an environmental lawyer specialising on resource management, planning and natural resources consent. One of his most remarkable works in this area is the MV Rena case. As a legal adviser, he addressed the issues brought by the wrecked vessel that settled on the Astrolabe Reef.

He helped facilitate discussions on the impending discharge of harmful substances from the vessel, as well as the unloading of equipment and cargo onboard the ship. This way, any debris and chemicals onboard will be removed without damaging the natural formation which is the Astrolabe Reef.

Going Back to His Roots

Given his track record of working as a judicial reviewer in matters such as the waahi tapu sites, you can expect that James is also involved in cultural works related to his roots as a Pacific Islander. After all, he is part Nieuan. One highlight of his legal practice in the field of culture is his services as the head of Russel McVeagh’s Maori Legal Group.

As leader of this group, he worked with the Ngati Hinerangi to get a Deed of Settlement with the Crown so that the Crown will acknowledge and apologise for any historical breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi. This helps all members of the Ngati Hinerangi to benefit, wherever they are living now.

With such a track record of local government, environmental and cultural contributions, James Gardner-Hopkins is indeed an involved and caring member of the society. His involvement in these three areas, combined with his skill truly makes him an excellent lawyer who values his connection to society and his cultural roots.


David Rosenberg: A seasoned political journalist, David's blog posts provide insightful commentary on national politics and policy. His extensive knowledge and unbiased reporting make him a valuable contributor to any news outlet.