Home Survive/avoid Family Court / Probate serviceGrateful client

‘Kiwilaw’ is the trading name of Kiwlaw Mediation and Advocacy Ltd. Now based in Oxford (Canterbury), Cheryl Simes LLB (Hons) MA (Hons) is Kiwilaw’s sole director, shareholder and lawyer. 

Contact details

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

Contact form

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In December 2015, Cheryl 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.  (Along the way she learnt that collegiality was largely a myth and the New Zealand Law Society was…remarkable. The road to hell can indeed be paved with good intentions, whenever dogmatism, self-interest and inertia coincide.)

Thanks to that saga, she now knows the effect of confirmatory bias (decision-makers see what they expect to see and inadvertently 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.   She also knows the fallibility of the legal system and lawyers, and the need for caution – especially by anyone who challenges conventions – when engaging with either.

Before becoming immersed in family law and professional issues as above, Cheryl did aspects of estate administration (including probate/letters of administration/Maori land succession), civil litigation, public law, consumer law, privacy law, and company law.

Since moving to Oxford, she has been finishing off a few family-law files for North Island clients, helping new clients nationwide with urgent cases, pondering better ways to help keep families out of the Family Court, 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, especially in North Canterbury, but also in urgent cases elsewhere that can be transferred to a local lawyer once the immediate problem has been addressed.

And – on a trial basis – she is also offering an affordable probate-application service – available nationwide.  She hopes it will balance the demands of family-law practice, as well as meeting a need.

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Services available in family law

  • (nationwide) emergency interim representation until a local lawyer can deal with the matter
  • advice on, and certification of, relationship-property contracting-out agreements
  • enduring powers of attorney
  • legal advice (with or without ongoing legal representation)
  • advice about different options to resolve disputes or solve legal problems
  • preparation of court documents (with or without court appearances)
  • negotiation, letter writing
  • parenting plans, guardianship advice, custody, access, care and contact
  • child protection (Oranga Tamariki)
  • reference material – parenting arrangements, parental communication, children’s well-being, Family Court processes and priorities, dispute resolution
  • preparation for mediation (with an independent mediator)
  • collaborative legal practice (specialised approach to resolve disputes without court intervention)
  • unbundled legal services (specific, limited assistance for a self-represented litigant) – legal research, legal advice, document preparation, case assessment, procedural advice, court appearances, depending on client’s instructions
  • representation in current court proceeding
  • second opinion on current court proceeding
  • advice on section 133 reports (specialist psychological reports)
  • appeal against Family Court decision
  • advice on lawyers’ professional obligations
  • assistance in making complaints against professionals if, after reviewing available documentation including full files, there are legitimate grounds for doing so

Legal aid or other government funding may be available.

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(Temporary page. Website is under construction and under review. This page updated 7 July 2018.)