William Akel

LLB(Hons), MJur, BCL(Oxon)

William Akel

LLB(Hons), MJur, BCL(Oxon)


As a litigation partner at Simpson Grierson from 1978 to 2016, William has extensive experience in diverse areas of dispute resolution. He has been counsel in numerous high-profile cases in the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court.

He is one of New Zealand's foremost media lawyers having appeared in many of the leading cases in defamation, confidentiality, privacy, open justice, contempt, broadcasting standards, and censorship. He has presented at numerous seminars on media law.

William has also acted in many cases in the Cook Islands and Samoa representing governments and corporates in major constitutional, corporate, civil, and international trust disputes, and private international law.

He has also appeared in leading cases involving the duties of real estate agents.


  • New Zealand Law Society
  • Auckland District Law Society
  • New Zealand Bar Association
  • Cook Islands Law Society
  • International Bar Association
  • Media Law Resource Centre (New York)

Contact Details

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Senior Scholar in Law (1971)

NZLS Cleary Memorial Prize (1972)

Post Graduate Scholarship (1973)

Winter William Scholarship in Law (Oxford University 1973-74)

William has been acknowledged as a Leading Lawyer – Dispute Resolution by both Asia Pacific Legal 500 and Chambers Asia Pacific.

Notable Experience

Durie v Gardner & MTS – established defence of responsible communications in defamation law in New Zealand

Sellman & Ors v Slater & Ors – defamation and social media, the multiple publication rule, and Jameel abuse of process

Bright v Town, and Ware v Johnson -– qualified privilege defence against public attack in defamation

Ivanishvili v Credit Suisse - international trust protest to jurisdiction

Peters v TVNZ – media's reporting of Parliament and qualified privilege

Re Goldcorp Exchange Ltd – leading authority on equitable remedies as relates to secure and unsecured creditors

South Pacific Manufacturing Co Ltd v NZ Security Consultants – leading case on duty of care in the law of negligence

Stevens v Premium Real Estate Ltd – leading authority on agents' fiduciary duties, and Fair Trading Act liability

Hester v CIR – application of New Zealand Bill of Rights Act to tax legislation

Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints v CIR – whether donations are charitable gifts in income tax law

Mafart v TVNZ – open justice and privacy as relates to Rainbow Warrior case

Rogers v TVNZ – leading Supreme Court authority on open justice

European Pacific Banking Corp v TVNZ – public interest defence to breach of confidence, and disclosure of sources

Solicitor-General v TV3 Network Services Ltd and Berryman v Solicitor-General – criminal and civil contempt

A-G for England and Wales v TVNZ – confidentiality as relates to the Security and Intelligence Services

A-G v TVNZ (Ahmed Zaoui) – freedom of expression and security detainees

TVNZ v Haines, TVNZ v Ah Koy, TVNZ v Simunovich Fisheries – leading authorities on defamation procedure

Hosking v Runting and Andrews v TVNZ – leading authorities on tort invasion of privacy

USA v Dotcom & Ors and Dotcom v A-G – extradition and search and seizure

Ah Chong v The Legislative Assembly of Western Samoa & Ors – challenge under the Constitution of Samoa to what was said and done in Parliament