Anita Miller

LLB, LLM (Distinction)

Anita is an expert in health law and has advised on all aspects of law relevant to the health sector, including treatment issues, health information and privacy, ACC, and clinical negligence. A particular area of interest for Anita is the regulation of health professionals, and she has advised extensively on the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003, the core legislation regulating health practitioners in New Zealand and she has acted for the majority of responsible authorities established under that Act on issues relating to registration, competence, fitness to practise, professional standards, and discipline. She is also a specialist in administrative law and judicial review, and regularly advises public sector health organisations on good decision-making, governance issues and legal risk.

In addition to health advisory work, Anita has a litigation background with 20 years’ litigation experience, including 10 years in the litigation team at a major national law firm. As a litigator with a focus on the health sector, Anita has acted for health sector organisations in a variety of claims before various courts and tribunals, including appearing in the District Court, High Court, Coroners Court, and making regular appearances before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.

Anita is listed in the 2022 and 2023 edition of Best Lawyers in New Zealand for Health Care Law and was recognised as the 2022 Lawyer of the Year in Health Care Law for the Wellington region. Anita is appointed as an ACC Senior Counsel and is a member of the Wellington Medico-Legal Society.

Anita’s experience includes

  • Regularly prosecuting professional disciplinary charges for Professional Conduct Committees before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, including complex professional misconduct cases involving treatment issues; inappropriate touching; sexual relationships with patients; fraudulent behaviour; and misuse of drugs.  Anita has also done defence work before the Tribunal, including successfully defending a health practitioner in proceedings about the non-disclosure of an underlying health condition.
  • Acting for Professional Conduct Committees in appeals against disciplinary findings, including in Williams v A PCC of the Medical Council [2018] NZHC 2472 and Ben-Dom v A PCC of the Medical Council [2020] NZHC 3094.
  • Providing extensive advice to health regulatory authorities on all aspects of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act and assisting in complex governance issues, including advising on conflicts of interest, delegation of functions and the establishment of special purpose committees.  Anita has also assisted with drafting policies and guidelines, and advised on processes for developing scopes of practice and prescribed qualifications.  She regularly provides practical training on good decision-making and statutory processes.
  • Acting in statutory appeals and judicial review proceedings relating to statutory decision-makers, including successfully negotiating settlement and resolution of appeals and a successful application to strike out a judicial review in which damages were sought against the decision-maker.
  • Appearing for ACC in statutory appeals, with a particular focus on treatment injury. Includes acting for ACC in appeals to the High Court, including a case raising questions about the ‘accelerated progression’ of an underlying health condition. Anita also advises on the ACC regime, and the interface between ACC and litigation relating to personal injury in New Zealand.
  • Advising on the collection, use, and disclosure of personal and health information, including advising on the discretion to disclose information, management of inadvertent disclosure of patient information, and the interface between the Official Information Act, Privacy Act, and the Health Information Privacy Code.
  • Acting for (then) DHBs in complex proceedings, including a claim seeking public law compensation for an alleged breach of the right not to be deprived of life and concurrent secondary victim claim involving various agencies; and a claim seeking damages for mental injury purportedly not covered by ACC. Anita also advises health sector organisations on complaints investigation processes, legal risk arising from complaints, and the role of various investigative agencies.
  • Advising health providers on informed consent (including where patients refuse life-saving treatment), treatment without consent, advance directives and treatment orders, the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights, the management of patient complaints, and open disclosure. Anita has presented training sessions on these topics at DHB Grand Rounds and in other settings.
  • Advising hospitals and other health providers on preparing and obtaining personal orders under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988, including seeking orders for the provision of medical treatment and living arrangements.
  • Advising and acting for hospitals in cases involving the withdrawal of treatment from a patient in a permanent vegetative state; parental refusal to treat a treatable condition; and surgery on Jehovah’s Witness child where parents were refusing blood products.
  • Acting at inquests; including cases with concurrent civil proceedings by secondary victims relating to the circumstances of death; suicides in mental health services; and emergency department deaths.
  • Ben-Dom v A Professional Conduct Committee of the Medical Council [2020] NZHC 3094
  • Williams v A Professional Conduct Committee of the Medical Council [2018] NZHC 2472
  • Flett v Dental Council [2016] NZHC 358; [2016] NZAR 459
  • Gonzalez v Dental Council [2016] NZHC 2047; [2016] NZAR 1444
  • Accident Compensation Corporation v BI (Treatment Injury) [2019 NZACC 140
  • JM v Accident Compensation Corporation (Treatment Injury) [2020] NZACC 51
  • Q v Accident Compensation Corporation [2017] NZHC 3024
  • Robertson v Accident Compensation Corporation [2015] NZHC 2489; [2015] NZAR 1785
  • Anita Miller “Sex and Marriage”, Chapter 16 in I Reuvecamp and J Dawson (ed) Mental Capacity Law in New Zealand (Thomson Reuters, Wellington, 2019)
  • Anita Miller “Health practitioner notification of competence concerns: patient safety v career suicide?” (2016) 47 VUWLR 641

  • Anita Miller “Sexual relationships and the elderly: balancing autonomy and protection” (2016) 8 NZFLJ 190