With the introduction of an emissions trading scheme in
New Zealand, climate change has become a key influence on the business landscape.

Our firm has significant involvement with climate change issues and has advised clients on matters ranging from carbon trading to renewable energy and major infrastructure projects. We combine leading climate change legal expertise with advice on all areas of law impacted by the regulation and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Clients benefit from our significant domestic and international carbon trading expertise. Our clients include pioneers in the emissions trading market and we advised on the world's first avoided deforestation project, authored the first International Swaps and Derivative Association, Inc. (ISDA) agreement tailored to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme and performed the first trade in New Zealand's Emission Unit Register.

Despite changes to the regulatory environment, we have a deep understanding of New Zealand's emissions trading legislation – having advised the Ministry for the Environment on commercial legal issues associated with the development of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, which built on the firm's previous advice to the Ministry of Economic Development on the design of the legal framework for an emissions trading market. We were also involved in drafting parts of the Climate Change Response Act, New Zealand's core climate change legislation.

We advise a range of international clients, including global investment banks, and advised the Government of Aceh province in Indonesia and the Parliamentary Working Group on climate change in Bangladesh. We also advise clients in a range of industries on the implications for their business of New Zealand's Emissions Trading Scheme, rights to receive carbon credits and compliance liabilities.

Our practice recognises our clients' need to remain at the leading edge of legal developments as they develop both competitive and regulatory responses to the challenge of climate change.

Bell Gully’s expertise in the area of climate change is acknowledged by leading international legal directory Chambers Global 2015, which ranks practice leader Simon Watt among global legal experts in the area. He is the only New Zealand lawyer to feature in these international climate change rankings. The publication notes that Simon “garners market recognition for his long-standing expertise in climate change-related laws and regulations” while previous editions have described him as “one of the most well-versed lawyers in this area in Australasia”. The firm has a top tier ranking in the Environment section of the Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2015, which states Bell Gully’s internationally recognised climate change group provides ‘strong business acumen and advice that is second to none’.

Our climate change team includes:

Simon Watt - practice group leader and adviser on all aspects of climate change
David Craig - emissions trading, hedging, impact on financing documents
Ian Gault - dispute resolution of contractual provisions
Willy Sussman - taxation aspects
Garry Downs - electricity/energy sectors
Clive Taylor - forestry sector
Marija Batistich - resource management aspects
Claire Harmsworth - climate change issues