Understanding Your Business

The Corporate Team at AWS Legal comprises two locally born and raised Southlanders - Norman Elder, Cameron Murphy.

The Corporate Team specialises in large and small corporate projects and provide experienced advice on all aspects of Property Development, Finance, Company Structures, Business Acquisitions, Commercial Leases, Subdivisions, Forestry, Corporate Governance and Business Law.

The Corporate Team is just as comfortable briefing the company directors as they are putting the small print together.

Corporate Governance Overview is a general guide.  For specific advice and assistance please feel free to contact any of our team.


To learn more about the corporate team members and how they can help you click on their profile links below.

Norman Elder Cameron Murphy  


Dedicated Personalised Service

AWS Legal is proud to introduce a dedicated Private Client Team to meet the personal needs of our clients.

Our Private Client service brings expert advice, exceptional individual attention and peace of mind to personal legal affairs.

AWS Legal offers clients access to advice at more locations than any other southern South Island firm and an expanded range of services, covering property, business, agribusiness and dispute resolution.

AWS Legal Private Client service includes:

  • Establishing and administering Trusts
  • Wills and estate planning
  • Property work including acting in the sale and purchase of residential property and retirement village units and apartments
  • Enduring Powers of Attorney and general Powers of Attorney
  • Generally advising those clients moving towards retirement and those clients who have retired

The Dispute Resolution Team at AWS Legal has a focus on client-centred outcomes.


Our aim is to give clear and straightforward advice as to the best possible options to resolve any dispute that our clients may face.

We will advise you on the various options available to resolve your dispute, including direct negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and then if necessary, the various Court processes available.

We understand that being involved in a dispute and a Court case can be stressful and our aim is to make the entire process as easily understandable as possible with a view to obtaining the best possible outcome in the shortest possible time.

Our team are able to give advice on commercial and company disputes, debt collection, bankruptcy and liquidation.

We have considerable experience in construction law and can assist in all aspects of that.

Our team has a wealth of experience and expertise in family law.  Our Family Law specialists are well known for providing comprehensive advice and solutions.  

We take pride in being the best at what we do and are passionate about delivering good solutions about the things that matter most in life – your children, your safety, your financial wellbeing. 

Our Family Law specialists offer a full range of family law services and advocacy, including:

Relationship Property

Relationship Property         

If you are married, in a civil union partnership or in a de facto relationship, and your relationship ends you will be affected by the Property (Relationships) Act 1976. We can advise you on your rights under the Act.  Following the end of a relationship we can help you to achieve a good property settlement, by agreement or by litigation.                                           

Contracting Out Agreements            

You and your partner can reach your own agreement about how your property will be divided if you should separate in the future.  A Contracting Out Agreement will identify your property rights clearly and preserve the ownership of assets you or your partner wish to keep separate.  We will help you to reach an agreement that is right for you.

Family Trusts and Asset Planning     

Providing long-term protection and security for yourselves and your loved ones is a concern for most individuals and families.  We can help you structure and plan ownership to ensure your family's assets are protected and provide individually tailored solutions for property ownership.

Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney           

Having an up to date Will is one of the most important documents that you can have for your loved ones.  It makes sure your wishes are carried out and that arrangements are in place for your family when you pass away.We can help you with:

  • Preparing a new Will, or help you to review your existing Will.

  • Preparing Enduring Powers of Attorney which provide safeguards in the event of you becoming physically or mentally incapable.


Come meet our team.  Click the links to find out more about us and how we can help you: 
Kasey Templer, Partner, leads our family team 
Emma Gray, Law Clerk

Mary Flannery, Partner, offers family services to our Central Otago based clients 


Here at AWS Legal we are becoming increasingly concerned with the number of our clients who are inadvertantly finding themselves in breach of current Employment Law. The law is changing so fast that it’s hard for everyone to keep abreast of all the latest developments.

Our Team

To learn more about our Employment Team and how they can help you click the links to their profiles below

Damien Pine

ARTICLES of interest

Our employment team are eager to keep you up to date with the latest trends and changes occuring in the employment world. 

Click here to go to a variety of interesting articles our team have prepared.




Top business legal advice

Our commercial practice is recognised as one of the top in the South Island, testimony to our team and the decades of collective knowledge and experience within it.

AWS Legal’s Business Team is committed to providing our clients quick turnaround and accurate legal solutions.

Our client base is as extensive as it is diverse – we’re advisors to both emerging and long-established organisations. We cover all areas of commercial law, and our clients include many of the best in southern business, particularly in the electricity, property, construction and forestry sectors.

Our Business Team’s core specialties include:

  • Property and project developments
  • Conveyancing – commercial and residential
  • All facets of company law and corporate structuring
  • Banking law
  • Finance and securities
  • Taxation and revenue law
  • Overseas Investment Commission

Industry advisers to the following sectors:

  • electricity, forestry, fishing, tourism
  • state-owned enterprises, local government
  • construction, finance

Strategic alliances

On occasions where added expertise is called for, we draw on our strategic alliances. The external specialists we use are leaders in their field who share our commitment to provide the very best for clients. We’ll get your approval before engaging any outside help, and at all times we’ll keep a watching brief to ensure effective co-ordination.

Outstanding in your field and ours

At AWS Legal, we know it’s not easy running a business, and it’s even harder when you’re miles off the beaten track and that is where top legal advice comes into play.

We have hundreds of rural clients based from one end of New Zealand to the other. Our specialist knowledge and commitment to service also see clients from around the world choose AWS Legal’s Rural Team to advise on their business interests.

Our rural client base covers the full spectrum – from individuals to multi-nationals, investors to career farmers. We’ve been at the legal forefront of the farm boom, sought out to advise on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of transactions, including many of the largest New Zealand has ever seen.

Our approach, underscored by state of the art technology, means whether you’re in Holland or the Hokonui Hills, out in the paddock or in one of our six offices, you’ll enjoy the same comprehensive, up to the minute legal support.

No matter the location, no matter the challenge, our focus is firmly on getting the job done – and done well. Wherever we’re working, we have instant access to ground-breaking legal decisions and draw on the full support and experience of Southland’s largest law firm.

Our size, expertise and resources are unusual for a provincially-based firm. These strengths mean our rural clients enjoy access to comprehensive legal support – including dedicated Business, Disputes Resolution, Employment and Private Client teams – plus the efficiency of dealing with one firm, without compromising on quality.

Buying and selling property, whether it’s residential or commercial, is a big deal for most of our clients.  Our aim is to ensure the process goes as smoothly and is as stress-free as possible.

Our lawyers [excluding our Court lawyers] can all help you with this type of work so have a read of the information below and head over to Our People page to find someone who can assist you.

Selling – Let’s start at the start

The best time to seek legal advice is before you even list your property.

You’ll need to decide whether you want to market and sell the property yourself, or use the services of real estate agent.

Both options bring with them important considerations.

How can we help?

If you’re planning a private sale, you won’t have some of the protections and tools you would had you used a real estate agent. That by no means precludes a successful sale, but it’s vital you make an informed decision, and are fully aware of the pitfalls.

Most vendors opt to sell through a real estate agency. You’ll need to sign an agency agreement – and it’s imperative you know exactly what you’re signing up for.

Just some of the problems we see from vendors:

  • Paying way more commission than they intended
  • Confusion around exclusive and multi-agency agreements
  • Contracted in for longer than intended
  • Not understanding their obligations around extra costs – e.g. marketing

Did you know?

Under recent changes, there is a post-signing “cooling off period” around agency agreements. Once an agent delivers a completed agency agreement, you have until 5pm the following working day to withdraw.

Before you confirm the agreement, you should seek independent legal advice to ensure you know and understand everything you are signing up for.

Understanding sales methods

While your real estate agent can provide you good information on the sales methods open to you, and the relative merits of each, there are specific, and differing, legal considerations for vendors depending on which option you choose.

  • Private treaty
  • Auction
  • Deadline treaty
  • Tender
  • What you need to know – before buyers

Many vendors think of due diligence – especially around a property’s potential problems – as solely the domain of buyers.

Unfortunately, vendors often find out too late, via the buyer, that there’s something wrong with their property. They’re either left chasing their tail trying to fix it … confronting a reduced selling price … or watching a promising deal sink unnecessarily.

Vendors can easily find themselves on the back foot during negotiations. Let’s face it, most buyers want to pay less for a property – and there’s nothing like a problem or two they unearth during due diligence to lessen your bargaining power.

By giving your property the once over first, you’ll buy yourself time and options to rectify problems without compromising your position. What’s more, you can set your property apart from the rest, by proactively providing potential buyers certain critical information.

We can help you decide what you need to explore sourcing, including:

  • Land Information Memorandums

  • A Builder’s Report

  • An Independent Valuation

  • Code of Compliance Certificates

  • Confirmation of District Plan compliance