Miriam Dean CNZM QC

Present Position

Barrister / Mediator and Arbitrator / Director / Reviewer

Career Summary

General

Miriam has over 35 years of experience in commercial dispute resolution, and 25 years in both alternative dispute resolution and governance. This experience shapes the advice she provides, the investigative work she carries out as well as her approach to resolution of disputes.

ADR

As to the latter, Miriam has long had a particular interest in resolving disputes outside the courtroom. She was instrumental in forming the group LEADR New Zealand (Lawyers Engaged in Alternative Dispute Resolution) in the early 1990s. Now part of the Resolution Institute, this group was influential in encouraging the use of mediation to resolve disputes.

Having trained with LEADR, Harvard and CDR Associates (Boulder, Colorado), Miriam is able to bring to her mediation (and facilitation) work the benefit of many years’ experience in commercial litigation as well as governance roles. This, in turn, gives a full understanding of the pressures clients are under to resolve disputes, the options open to them, and the likely outcomes if a dispute is not resolved.

Miriam has mediated disputes across a diverse range of industries including banking, energy, farming, insurance, professional partnerships, airlines and health to name but some. More recent inquiry and investigative work, as well as many years of commercial litigation, means that she is particularly well placed to mediate commercial disputes that are complex factually and legally.

Inquiry Work

Miriam has been involved in several Government inquiries. These include her chairmanship of the Government Inquiry into the WPC incident (the Fonterra botulinum scare) and her chairmanship of the earlier Dean/Cochrane review of the role of the Solicitor-General in Crown Law. Other Government related review, or facilitation work, includes her appointment by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment in late 2015 to review accident compensation dispute resolution processes; and in the same year her appointment by Government (through Ministers) to facilitate post-earthquake discussions with Christchurch engineers over options for the repair, restoration or replacement of Christchurch Cathedral, reporting on the outcome to the Government. A large measure of consensus was reached.

Appointments

Miriam has extensive governance experience. Present directorships are:

  • Chair, the Banking Ombudsman Scheme (an approved body to resolve complaints between banks and customers).
  • Chair, New Zealand on Air (New Zealand’s funding agency for production of local screen and sound content).
  • Director, Crown Fibre Holdings (the company which manages the Government’s investment in ultra-fast broadband).
  • Director, Otakaro Limited (responsible with the delivering the Government’s key anchor projects in Christchurch).
    • Director/Trustee, New Zealand Royal Ballet (the company’s premiere ballet company formed in 1953).

Miriam has also served on many other governing or advisory boards or committees, including those of LEADR New Zealand, LEADR (Australasia), the New Zealand Law Society, Auckland District Law Society, the Legal Research Foundation and the Competition Law and Policy Institute. She is currently Chair of the Ministry of Justice’s Legal Aid Advisory Board.

Qualifications

Bachelor Social Science (Waikato) LLB (Hons) (Auckland)

LLM (Harvard)

Miriam was admitted in 2017 as a Fellow of the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand by waiver in recognition of her many years of her support for, and experience in, mediation/facilitation.

Miriam is also a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to law and business.