Brandon Street Chambers

The barristers at Brandon Street Chambers, past and present, have been responsible for some of the most important human rights cases in New Zealand. Our guiding ethos is that respect for human rights improves the lot of everyone in New Zealand.
All branches of government must be encouraged to uphold the values and principles of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, our obligations in international law, including under the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights, our obligations under the Treaty / Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and respect for basic human dignity.
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Douglas Ewen


Douglas practices in the field of human rights law, which can range from civil cases against the state for false imprisonment, mistreatment of detainees, unlawful searches and breaches of the Bill of Rights to public and professional negligence cases where avoidable errors led to people suffering loss of liberty. He has an acknowledged reputation for judicial review cases, especially as they relate to decisions arising from District Court criminal procedure and the unlawful and inhumane treatment of prisoners and detainees.

Additionally, Douglas practices in most areas of serious crime, but with a particular focus on appeals to the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. He has been briefed to appear for the defence in cases all over New Zealand, although his practice is based primarily in Wellington.

He lectured at Victoria University, Wellington in advanced criminal procedure. He also published practice guides for Thomson Reuters, setting out practical ways to conduct both civil and criminal cases and is the co-author of Criminal Appeals and Reviews in New Zealand.

Douglas was ranked in the  29 most influential lawyers in New Zealand in 2022 by New Zealand Lawyer Magazine and the most influential human rights lawyer in the country.


Brandon Street Chambers

Brandon Street Chambers is founded on the belief that access to justice is a right for all and that legal outcomes should be guided by notions of distributive justice and equity rather than equality. Equality as a principle omits full consideration of past inequalities. The current advantage enjoyed by some  resulted from the manifest disadvantage visited on others in the past. The Justice System must recognise justice is a concept that is not limited to the here and now, but is inter-generational, injustices in the past must inform just outcomes today.

Practice Areas

Upholding the rule of law and the respect for individual dignity by holding the state accountable in the New Zealand courts and before United Nations Human Rights Committee for breaches of the Bill of Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


Human Rights Law

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Ensuring judicial and governmental decision-making is fair and in accordance with the law and the evidence presented. Challenging existing case law that is out of step with modern standards and human rights values.


Appeals & Judicial Review

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Ensuring individuals and businesses get comprehensive and accurate advice in relation to legal obligations in the current era of complex regulation of commerce and professional (and personal) conduct. Providing representation before the courts,  professional disciplinary tribunals and other public inquiries.


Regulatory & Disciplinary

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At some of the most tragic and difficult times of life, providing skilled and sensitive advice and representation in Coronial inquests and inquiries into cause of death.


Inquests & Inquiries

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Ensuring the right to a fair trial for all who face criminal allegations, by close scrutiny of and challenge to the prosecution case and the conduct of investigating officers. Presenting the best defence in accordance with clients' instructions. Ensuring proportionality and objectivity in sentencing, as well as sensitivity to human weaknesses and failings.



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