Cheryl Simes is Kiwilaw’s owner, director, and lawyer. In December 2015 she moved (with her husband and two dogs) from Cambridge (Waikato) to Oxford (North Canterbury). Her husband was originally from Canterbury, she had come to love the region during Christmas visits, and it was time for a change.

While in practice in Hamilton, she and her staff helped hundreds (maybe thousands) of clients obtain protection orders, parenting orders, and deal with other issues in family and civil law. She was also eventually vindicated after resisting false but relentless allegations of breaching rules, statutes and policies. Thanks to that saga, she now knows the effect of confirmatory bias (ill-trained decision-makers see what they expect to see and ignore evidence or argument to the contrary), the crucial importance of the rule of law (ensuring government stays within its limits and complies with the law) and natural justice (being told the case against you), and what it feels like to be a lawyer’s client.

Since moving to Oxford, she has been finishing off a few family-law files for Waikato clients, pondering better ways to help keep parents out of the Family Court (especially for under-4-year-olds), continuing to improve her knowledge of psychological issues underpinning Family Court decisions, and using the High Court to tidy up procedural issues.

Now she is offering her experience and expertise to new clients in North Canterbury.

Services available:

  • legal advice (with or without ongoing legal representation)
  • preparation of court documents (with or without court appearances)
  • negotiation, letter writing
  • parenting plans, guardianship advice, custody, access, care and contact, child protection
  • reference material – parenting arrangements, parental communication, children’s well-being, Family Court processes and priorities, dispute resolution
  • preparation for mediation (with an independent mediator)
  • mediation (as the mediator)
  • collaborative legal practice (specialised approach to resolve disputes without court intervention)
  • unbundled legal services (specific, limited assistance for a self-represented litigant)
  • representation in current court proceeding
  • second opinion on current court proceeding
  • advice on section 133 reports (specialist psychological reports)
  • appeal against Family Court decision

Legal aid or other government funding may be available.

Contact details:

  • Phone/text 021 701 838 or 03 312 1508
  • Email  c.simes@kiwilaw.co.nz
  • P O Box 85, Oxford, Canterbury 7443.
  • Physical location available on request. Appointments required.