General Background

Robert is an experienced litigator who specialises in civil litigation, with a particular emphasis on defamation and media law including copyright, privacy, and contempt. Robert advises a number of New Zealand’s major online, print and broadcast media, and has led and appeared in a number of significant media law cases. He also regularly provides advice to New Zealand film production companies.

In addition to his media law expertise, Robert is experienced in the areas of insolvency and liquidation, judicial review, and trust and estate litigation. 

Prior to moving to the independent bar at Shortland Chambers, Robert was a litigation partner for 20 years at the highly respected Wellington firm Izard Weston. 

Robert is a faculty member of the New Zealand Law Society’s Litigation Skills Programme and has contributed to legal education as a presenter to the CLE Media Law seminars. 

Selected Recent Cases

Selected Case History

Arnold v Stuff Ltd & Shadbolt - Successfully defended The Southland Times against a defamation claim brought by Cr Karen Arnold against the newspaper and Mayor Shadbolt.  

Wall v Fairfax New Zealand Ltd [2018] NZHC 104 – successfully defended a claim that cartoons caused racial disharmony in breach of section 61 of the Human Rights Act 1993 with reference to the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and freedom of expression issues.

Driver v Radio New Zealand & Ors [2017] NZHC 3188 – successfully opposed plaintiff’s application to extend primary limitation period and obtained security for costs for nine media defendants.

Noble v Aharoni [2016] NZHC 1995 – successfully overturned an interim injunction restraining publication of a defamatory notice on pleading a truth defence.

R v Warren [2016] NZHC 1728 – successfully overturned an interim suppression order suppressing the names of police officers injured during an armed siege.  

Arnold v Fairfax New Zealand Ltd [2016] NZHC 207 – successfully opposed an application to strike out an honest opinion defence.

CPA Australia Ltd v NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants [2015] NZHC 1854 – successfully defended a defamation claim by one professional body against another (as junior counsel).

Lyttelton v R [2015] NZCA 279; [2016] 1 NZLR 21 – successfully opposed an appeal against a refusal to order take down of historic online articles prior to a criminal trial.

Fairfax New Zealand Ltd v Ismail [2014] 1525; [2014] NZAR 819 – successfully overturned an interim name suppression order (Malaysian diplomat case).

Beacon Media Group Ltd v Waititi [2014] NZHC 281 – partially successful appeal by media entity overturning name suppression orders.

Professional Activities

Admitted to the Bar: 1991

Partner – Izard Weston: 1998 - 2018

Barrister Sole: 2018

Robert Stewart

Contacts

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Qualifications

BCom/LLB (Cant)

Year Admitted:  1991

Barrister Sole:  2018

Areas of Practice

Qualifications

BCom/LLB (Cant)

Year Admitted:  1991

Barrister Sole:  2018

General Background

Robert is an experienced litigator who specialises in civil litigation, with a particular emphasis on defamation and media law including copyright, privacy, and contempt. Robert advises a number of New Zealand’s major online, print and broadcast media, and has led and appeared in a number of significant media law cases. He also regularly provides advice to New Zealand film production companies.

In addition to his media law expertise, Robert is experienced in the areas of insolvency and liquidation, judicial review, and trust and estate litigation. 

Prior to moving to the independent bar at Shortland Chambers, Robert was a litigation partner for 20 years at the highly respected Wellington firm Izard Weston. 

Robert is a faculty member of the New Zealand Law Society’s Litigation Skills Programme and has contributed to legal education as a presenter to the CLE Media Law seminars. 

Selected Recent Cases

Selected Case History

Arnold v Stuff Ltd & Shadbolt - Successfully defended The Southland Times against a defamation claim brought by Cr Karen Arnold against the newspaper and Mayor Shadbolt.  

Wall v Fairfax New Zealand Ltd [2018] NZHC 104 – successfully defended a claim that cartoons caused racial disharmony in breach of section 61 of the Human Rights Act 1993 with reference to the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and freedom of expression issues.

Driver v Radio New Zealand & Ors [2017] NZHC 3188 – successfully opposed plaintiff’s application to extend primary limitation period and obtained security for costs for nine media defendants.

Noble v Aharoni [2016] NZHC 1995 – successfully overturned an interim injunction restraining publication of a defamatory notice on pleading a truth defence.

R v Warren [2016] NZHC 1728 – successfully overturned an interim suppression order suppressing the names of police officers injured during an armed siege.  

Arnold v Fairfax New Zealand Ltd [2016] NZHC 207 – successfully opposed an application to strike out an honest opinion defence.

CPA Australia Ltd v NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants [2015] NZHC 1854 – successfully defended a defamation claim by one professional body against another (as junior counsel).

Lyttelton v R [2015] NZCA 279; [2016] 1 NZLR 21 – successfully opposed an appeal against a refusal to order take down of historic online articles prior to a criminal trial.

Fairfax New Zealand Ltd v Ismail [2014] 1525; [2014] NZAR 819 – successfully overturned an interim name suppression order (Malaysian diplomat case).

Beacon Media Group Ltd v Waititi [2014] NZHC 281 – partially successful appeal by media entity overturning name suppression orders.

Professional Activities

Admitted to the Bar: 1991

Partner – Izard Weston: 1998 - 2018

Barrister Sole: 2018