Young Private Practice Lawyer of the Year launches "excellent" book

by Sophie Schroder05 Dec 2014
Ben Thompson, who was named the LexisNexis Young Private Practice Lawyer of the Year at the NZ Law Awards, has just released a book.
Keynote speakers at the launch, which was held at Wellesley Boutique Hotel in Wellington, included Sir Geoffrey Palmer, who described the comprehensive guide to ACC policy and practice as “very useful and accessible”.
Palmer says the book, entitled Accident Compensation Act: Key Sections and Commentary and published by LexisNexisis written in a way that is concise, clear and helpful.
“You get cause and fact and you get proximate cause and the difficult question of mental injury is dealt with,” he said. “The book talks about claimant’s rights and claims, entitlements, rehabilitation and the numerous complications that arise there, dispute resolution, treatment and weekly compensation.”
Author Thompson, a senior associate at specialist ACC firm Hazel Armstrong Law, says he set out to help non-experts deal with ACC law in practice.
The book is not only for lawyers or claimants, but also frontline treatment providers, he says.
“We know that if you have a GP that understands basic ACC law principles, you’re better off than someone that doesn’t. [It’s for] Nurses, doctors, surgeons, people who want to learn about the context in which their advice will be dealt with and what consequence their advice will have in terms of the law.”
And in a continuation of his fruitful path, now that the book is published Thompson is preparing to open a second Hazel Armstrong Law office in Tauranga in April next year.

He thinks he’s been so successful thus far because of the small size of his firm, which has exposed him to all aspects of litigation very quickly. It also helps that he works closely with his dedicated and impassioned mentor, Hazel Armstrong.
ACC law is a fascinating specialty to practice in and is a vital part of our society, he says.
“Whilst the ACC scheme is easy to take for granted, it touches every New Zealander and is unique in the world.  ACC litigators are required to deal with complex medico-legal issues, in matters which make a tangible difference in the lives of individuals.”
Sir Geoffrey Palmer also gave a nod to the significance of the ACC scheme during his speech at the book launch.
It was a concept founded upon a social vision - a vision that has yet to be realised, he said, referring to the 1967 Woodhouse Report that recommended a “no-fault” accident compensation scheme.
“The visionary was Sir Owen Woodhouse, who authored every word of the 1967 report. He brought a legal revolution, he died earlier this year at the age of 97, but he will be forever remembered for that vision and this scheme and the way in which he materially assisted in the lives of people,” Palmer said.
“We should, I think, on the occasion of the launching of this excellent book, salute his memory and remember what we have still to do.”