Francis Cooke QC

Francis is one of New Zealand’s leading public law counsel. He has argued a number of significant cases before the higher courts involving questions of public importance. Recent examples include the leading Supreme Court decisions concerning the proposed extension to Wellington Airport, the challenge to the Ruataniwha Dam Project and the Quake Outcasts case. A list of his major cases and publications is attached.

In addition to the public law aspect of his practice, Francis is involved in significant commercial litigation, including litigation involving public bodies, and has again appeared in a number of leading commercial cases at all levels of the New Zealand Courts, including the Privy Council. He has considerable experience as a barrister having commenced practice as a junior barrister in 1993 after periods with major law firms in the UK and New Zealand. He was appointed a QC in 2004 at the age of 38, becoming the third generation of his family to have taken silk.

He provides advice to a range of Crown agencies and has been involved in a number of important public inquiries, including in recent years leading the Auditor General’s inquiry into a citizenship decision made by the Hon Shane Jones, acting for the Hon Judith Collins in the inquiry into her conduct in 2014, and acting for a Chief Executive of a public body in a confidential inquiry conducted by the State Services Commissioner into allegations of personal misconduct in 2016. He has acted as external counsel to the Transport Accident Investigation Commission since 1999, and was junior counsel assisting the Commission in the “winebox” inquiry between 1994 and 1997.

Francis also has a commitment to continuing legal education, and is a frequent presenter to seminars and other presentations, including the New Zealand Law Society’s national Judicial Review Seminar which he conducted in 2007, 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2017. He is a trustee of the Douglas Wilson Advocacy Scholarship Trust and a member of the New Zealand Pegasus Scholarship Committee. He is also the Chair of the Orchestra Wellington Board.

Thorndon Chambers
Maritime Tower,
10 Customhouse Quay,
PO Box 1530,
Wellington 6140
Phone: +64 4 499 6040
Fax: +64 4 499 6118
Email: