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Areas of Practice:

Richard appears regularly in all levels of New Zealand’s Courts and Tribunals (where permitted) as counsel. He also acts in arbitrations and mediations.

Human Rights Law

Maxwelton Chambers is a leading chambers at the refugee bar. Richard views the mentoring and development of junior counsel as an important task.  As a member of the chambers until late October 2021, Lucy Tothill built a strong reputation in Refugee Status Unit and Immigration & Protection Tribunal matters, where she has successfully obtained refugee status for claimants in complex subsequent and multi-party claims. She has also had success in challenging warrants of commitment. Richard leads the Chambers appellate practice for refugee cases under the Immigration Act 2009 ss 245, 249, in the High Court and Court of Appeal. 

Human rights matters where Maxwelton Chambers regularly act in include advancing the civil rights of detained prisoners and asylum seekers detained under Part 9 of the Immigration Act 2009; Parole Board hearings; humanitarian claims under the Immigration Act 2009; advice and representation regarding the Human Rights Act 1993 and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

Richard Pidgeon specialises in resolving religious disputes, having undertaken extensive postgraduate study in the area (focusing on the use of contract law to resolve church property disputes). Richard is the author of the Laws of New Zealand volume on "Religion and Religious Institutions" and has written extensively in the New Zealand Law Journal since 2003 on relevant topics. Instructions are welcome from all religions and denominations, as the underlying legal principles are universally applicable. Such disputes include membership and usage disputes as well as the consequences of doctrinal divergence and schism.

Administrative Law

Administrative law matters include representation and advice in disputes to do with government or superior court decision-making and links closely with judicial review (primarily under the Judicial Review Procedures Act 2016. Counsel at Maxwelton Chambers act in matters as diverse as applications to do with urgent relief in deportation issues; licensing under the Land Transport Act 1998, club and society disputes (membership issues , defective meetings and elections), the review of decisions of the Family Court and Disputes Tribunal and review applications arising from ss 247 and 249 of the Immigration Act 2009.

Religious Litigation

Maxwelton Chambers specialises in giving advice to clients seeking to draft rules for religious associations, including those that hold real property. Richard Pidgeon acted in the Matamu v Si'tia litigation in the Auckland High Court, where the rules of the Church were deemed through a contractual lens, which is an innovation. Richard also acts in disciplinary proceedings for a range of Christian denominations and giving advice under the provisions of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 elements relevant to religion.

General Civil Litigation

Richard Pidgeon has undertaken a generalist civil practice in a small firm environment since his admission as a barrister and solicitor in 1998. To exemplify the range of civil litigation Maxwelton Chambers acts in, Richard is an experienced trial advocate and mentor in matters as diverse as lessee/lessor and property disputes, prejudiced shareholder and related Companies Act 1993 matters, the breakdown of joint venture agreements, disputes about loan/gift issues with Property (Relationships) Act 1976 undertones, NZBoRA litigation. Other matters include reviewing disinterment licences, Property Law Act 2007 matters, PPPR and estate litigation, the civil aspects of criminal law .