Civil and Commercial Litigation, Criminal Law, Intellectual Property, Public and Administrative Law, Tax Law


+64 4 917 1082

+64 4 472 9029

+64 27 438 1604


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"Seen as "the right person for the job" in the tax avoidance and tax evasion cases he typically handles" - Chambers' Asia-Pacific Law Directory, 2013

"[Has] carved out a formidable niche for himself in those aspects of tax law involving the Inland Revenue's powers of search and seizure" - Chambers' Asia-Pacific Law Directory, 2015

"Mike Lennard of Stout Street Chambers is acclaimed for his strength acting in proceedings arising from allegations of tax evasion as well as tax avoidance cases.  Peers say: 'He is a good operator.  He knows the law, he knows his way around the courtroom very well, and has the background and understanding of how Inland Revenue works after being inside it for a number of years.'" - Chambers' Asia-Pacific Law Directory, 2016

I am a New Zealand litigation lawyer, specialising in tax disputes and litigation. My career to date has involved eight years' practice as a Crown prosecutor and civil litigation lawyer, eight years as head of litigation for Inland Revenue, and practice at the independent bar since June 2004.

I have been recognised as a leading tax disputes lawyer in both of the leading international reviews that cover this area of practice: in the 2011 onwards edition of the International Tax Review's publication "Tax Controversy Leaders" and from 2012 onwards in Chambers and Partners' Asia-Pacific review (moved up from band 3 to band 2 in 2015).

As a barrister, my practice covers tax disputes at all stages, from initial Revenue investigations through the pre-assessment disputes process to litigation in court. I have a substantial amount of experience in defending taxpayers charged with evasion and non-payment of PAYE in the criminal courts. I have participated on one side or the other on many of the most significant tax disputes in the past 10 years.  Non-tax aspects of my practice include competition law and relationship property litigation.

I have been a faculty member of the New Zealand Law Society's Litigation Skills Programme since 2000.  I have been an adjunct teaching fellow at the University of Auckland since 2004, where I have lectured in the Master of Taxation Studies programme on Conduct and Procedures of Tax Disputes (I have also lectured on Timing of Income and Expenses). I have spoken at numerous conferences and seminars over the past 15 years on subjects relating to tax disputes and administrative law issues.  I am a member of the New Zealand Law Society's Taxation Committee.

I am a regular contributor to, and a member of the Advisory Board of, "Taxation Today", a monthly magazine published by Thompson Reuters, and have also published in other journals.

I represented New Zealand at the International Fiscal Association in 2015, reporting with Mark Keating on "practical protection of taxpayer's fundamental rights".

I have contributed (together with EY Law Limited) the New Zealand chapter in the Thompson Reuters Tax Litigation Global Guide, to be published in mid 2016.



  • Bachelor of Science (Mathematics major), University of Canterbury, 1982 to 1984
  • Bachelor of Laws,  University of Canterbury, 1985 to 1987
  • Admitted as Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, 1988
  • Residential Programme for Executive Development, University of British Columbia, 1997


  • 1988 – 1990: Law Clerk/Staff Solicitor, Raymond, Donnelly & Co, Christchurch
  • 1990 – 1996: Associate/Staff Solicitor, Luke Cunningham & Clere, Wellington
  • 1996 – 2004: Director, Litigation, Inland Revenue, Wellington
  • 2004 – 2009: Barrister, Greenock House, Wellington
  • 2009 – present: Barrister, Stout Street Chambers, Wellington