Catherine Deans

Senior Solicitor LLB (first class honours), BA (Psychology), LLM

Catherine joined Claro in February 2015.  Having developed a strong interest in the crossroads between law and medicine during her undergraduate studies, she obtained top marks in a number of health law papers.  In addition to completing a LLB (Hons), Catherine also gained a BA in Psychology from Otago University.  Her dual-discipline studies helped to nurture a particular passion for the legal issues that arise within the mental health system.

At the University of Toronto, Catherine continued to pursue her interest in health law as a postgraduate student.  Her LLM thesis focused on the extent to which different stakeholders in the healthcare system are involved in medical decision-making at end-of-life.

Catherine began her legal career in the litigation team at Chapman Tripp, where she worked on a number of high-profile commercial disputes.  She has also spent time working in New Delhi, India, for a human rights law firm, where her role involved exploring legal avenues to ensure greater access to medicines in developing countries.

Catherine advises on a wide range of legal issues relevant to the health sector, including patient rights, health information privacy issues, ACC and treatment injuries, treatment issues (consent, withdrawal of treatment, sterilisation, and obtaining urgent treatment orders), and complaints against health sector agencies.  Catherine has acted as junior counsel in the High Court and before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal; and as sole counsel in the District Court.  She has also presented seminars on health law issues and contributed to international legal blogs on health ethics and human rights.

Catherine was awarded a 2016 Pegasus Scholarship to spend six weeks working with barristers from leading chambers in London.

 Catherine’s experience includes
  • Advising DHBs on the management of information requests under the Privacy Act and the Official Information Act.
  • Advising and acting for health practitioners on disciplinary matters, including in relation to charges laid before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal and on appeals to the High Court.
  • Advising a DHB on the proposed sterilisation of a young intellectually disabled woman.
  • Assisting in making applications before the High Court for orders for the administration of blood products to a Jehovah’s Witness child in the absence of consent from the parents.
  • Advising on the making of personal care and welfare decisions on behalf of mentally incapable adults, including on informed consent, the use of advance directives, EPOAs, Right 7(4) Consumers’ Rights.
  • Advising health practitioners on Coroner’s inquests, including complex cases involving prisoner deaths and deaths in mental health services.
  • Advising and acting for ACC in treatment injury and personal injury appeals.
  • Advising and appearing on behalf of DHBs and private healthcare providers on proceedings commenced under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act.


Mobile: 027 358 8005

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DDI Christchurch: 03 550 0453