Disputes panel members and agencies

The Retirement Commissioner administers the disputes process and approves the appointment of members to the disputes panel. The Commissioner also approves and lists alternative dispute resolution agencies with mediators who may be used in resolving formal complaints under the Code of Practice.

Disputes panel members

The Retirement Commissioner has approved the following people for appointment by retirement village operators as members of disputes panels through to 12 February 2019. 

Members are listed in alphabetical order by surname. If the member is eligible to chair a disputes panel in a disposal dispute, this is noted. 

  • David Carden: LLM, Fellow AMINZ (Arbitration/Mediation), Arbitrators' and Mediators' Panellist AMINZ, Member NZ Law Society

    A barrister since 1967, David Carden practises exclusively in dispute resolution. David is currently the Chair of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.  He has chaired many Tribunal Hearings and written decisions for the Tribunal on disciplinary matters in health professions. He was a Weathertight Homes Resolution Services adjudicator for three and a half years, adjudicating 86 claims.  Since appointment to the Retirement Villages Disputes Panel, David has conducted several hearings and written decisions on disputes raised.

    David has conducted adjudications under the Construction Contracts Act 2002, and many cases as arbitrator and mediator.

    David's approach to dispute resolution is to seek a speedy and cost-effective outcome consistent with the respective objectives of the parties. His experience enables effective and focused attention on the issues, facts and processes to achieve outcomes.

    Eligible as chair

    Contact details:

    David Carden

    PO Box 133136, Eastridge, Auckland, 1146

    Mobile: 021 307 346

  • Nigel Dunlop: BA, LLB, Member NZ Law Society

    Nigel has been a lawyer since 1978 and a barrister since 1995. He is a past president of the Canterbury District Law Society and Council member of the New Zealand Law Society.

    He is currently:

    • The Deputy President of the Film and Literature Board of Review, appointed by the Governor-General

    • A deputy member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal, appointed by the Minister of Health ( and for many years its Convenor)

    • The Chair of a Complaints Assessment Committee under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008.

    Nigel is a highly experienced mediator. He has mediated a wide range of family, civil and commercial disputes, including retirement village disputes. He mediates for the Health and Disability Commissioner, the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service and the  Domain Name Commissioner.

    Nigel is accredited as a mediator by AMINZ , the Resolution Institute (formerly LEADR), and the NZ Law Society.

    Nigel also undertakes arbitrations and investigations.

    Eligible as chair

    Contact details:

    Nigel Dunlop

    Tel: 021 685 910

    Web: www.nigeldunlop.co.nz

  • Claudia Elliott: LLB, Diploma in Business Studies with endorsement in dispute resolution, Master of Business Studies in Dispute Resolution, Member NZ Law Society

    Claudia has been practising as a barrister and solicitor since 1986. She is appointed by the Court to act for the elderly under the Personal and Property Rights Act and as a senior solicitor to lead mediations on behalf of the Family Court. Private individuals and families also employ Claudia to mediate and make decisions on personal and property issues. She is experienced in the practical and legal issues involved in the purchase and sale of retirement village units.

    Claudia is contracted to the United Nations Development Programme, working in Afghanistan.  Claudia has experience in international negotiation and decision making during her work in Afghanistan for the last 5 years.

    Eligible as chair

    Contact details:

    Claudia Elliott

    PO Box 7038, Wellesley St, Auckland City

    Tel: 09 379 6572, Mob: 021 836545

    Email: claudia.elliott@celaw.co.nz

  • John Green: F.CIArb, F.AMINZ(Arb/Med). A.IAMA

    John is a professional arbitrator, adjudicator and mediator. He is a past President of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand Inc., a Past President of the Master Builders Association (Auckland) Inc. and a founding Council Member of the Society of Construction Law New Zealand Inc.

    He acted as a Weathertight Homes Adjudicator for nine years and has been appointed in more than 1,200 building, construction and infrastructure disputes over the past 27 years relating to a wide variety of  residential, commercial and industrial construction projects involving domestic and internationally based parties, complex technical and legal matters, and sums in dispute exceeding $100M.

    John is the founder and a Director of: New Zealand Dispute Resolution Centre (NZDRC); New Zealand International Arbitration Centre (NZIAC); Building Disputes Tribunal (BDT); and New Zealand Family Dispute Resolution Centre (FDR Centre). He is the Editor of BuildLaw® and ReSolution®.

    Contact details:

    John Green

    PO Box 33297, Takapuna 0740

    Tel: 09 486 7153, Mobile: 021 921 752, Fax: 09 486 7144

    Email: john@nzdrc.co.nz

  • Jenny Leith: LLB, Fellow AMINZ (Arbitration/Mediation), Arbitrators' and Mediators' Panellist AMINZ, Advanced Mediation Panellist LEADR, Member NZ Law Society

    Jenny has been a Tenancy Tribunal adjudicator since 1986 and in general legal practice since 1990, working primarily in the areas of property transactions, trusts, estates and relationship property, including the purchase and sale of retirement village units.

    Since 2008 Jenny has been self-employed as a dispute resolution practitioner working as a mediator and as an arbitrator in a wide range of disputes involving property or commercial issues and relationships.

    Jenny also works as a mediator and as an arbitrator in a wide range of disputes involving property or commercial issues and relationships. She has been employed as a commissioner (acting alone and as chair of a panel) to hear resource management applications for local authorities.

    In managing any dispute process it is important to Jenny that all those involved feel they have had an opportunity to take part, they have been fairly heard, their view has been considered, and a decision reached without undue delay.

    Eligible as chair

    Contact details:

    Jenny Leith

    RD 2 Upper Moutere 7175

    Tel: 03 970 0715, Mobile: 021 231 3947

    Email: jennyleith@gmail.com

  • Susan Robson: BA, LLB, Member NZ Law Society

    Susan is a barrister specialising in employment and public law investigations, inquiries and disputes, and has been a lawyer since 1978. She is a specialist assessor (civil litigation) of the Legal Services Agency and has held the following relevant positions: chief legal adviser with the Commerce Commission, chair of the Social Security Appeal Authority, chair of the Complaints Review Tribunal and member of the Employment Relations Authority.

    Susan is skilled in case management, running dispute hearings, making decisions and writing short, clear, accessible judgements, working within short timeframes, managing very committed disputants and communicating with a wide range of parties to disputes in a manner and language clearly understood by all.

    Susan is also skilled in adapting the legal process to the needs of particular disputants, obtaining agreement to a suggested dispute process and ensuring fair outcomes.

    Eligible as chair

    Contact details:

    Susan Robson

    70 Sunrise Valley Rd, Upper Moutere, Nelson

    Mobile: 027 637 8726

    Email: susan.robson@xtra.co.nz

  • Robyn Wilson: LLM (Hons), Diploma in Business Studies (Dispute Resolution), Admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor

    Robyn has extensive dispute resolution experience and of professional/occupational complaint process.

    Robyn acts as a convenor and lay member on professional conduct committees for l six health authorities under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act and has done so for some years. The committees deal with complaints about health practitioners and concerns about conduct, health and competence. She is also a layperson member of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA) at deal with complaints about members of the NZICA. s professional conduct committee. for many years. She spent two years as convenor on the Real Estate Agents Authority complaints assessment committees that deal with complaints about real estate agents.

    Robyn was a Disputes Tribunal referee until 2015. The role involved adjudication and mediation of a wide range of civil disputes as a division of the District Court. Claims range from simple motor vehicle accidents to more complex commercial, consumer, trade and neighbourhood disputes.

    She has worked as a community law centre lawyer and as a lawyer for government dealing with commercial leases and the sale and purchase of public land.

    Robyn sees her strengths as being skilled in managing people and processes in hearings that ensure a fair process and appropriate outcome consistent with parties' legal rights. She has a broad range of legal knowledge coupled with excellent analytical and research skills. She has resolved more than 10,000 disputes in her role as a referee.

    Contact details:

    Robyn Wilson

    13F, 131 Abel Smith Street, Aro Valley, Wellington 6011

    Tel: 04 934 0693,

    Mobile: 027 293 5274

    Email: robynpwilsonnz@gmail.com