Belinda Johns

Special Counsel
BA, LLB (Hons)

Belinda Johns is a health law expert, having spent the majority of her legal career developing an expertise in this area.  With a background in commercial litigation, senior associate in a large Auckland law firm and now special counsel at Claro, Belinda has honed her skills to focus primarily on New Zealand’s unique health care sector.

Belinda regularly appears in Courts at all levels and before specialist tribunals, not only defending and prosecuting health practitioners when things go wrong, but also advocating novel points of law within our unique no fault accident compensation regime. Her passion is evidence and the rules that apply. Belinda also relishes working alongside health care providers in the public and private sphere on significant privacy, human rights and risk management issues. She is not afraid to push the boundaries when required to ensure a just and fair outcome.

Belinda has been listed in ‘Best Lawyers in New Zealand’ in the practice area of Health Care Law since 2020.  She has recently presented seminars to both the legal and nursing sectors on the significant new legislation, the Therapeutic Products Act 2023.

“We operate within a distinctively unique framework in New Zealand with the existence of ACC and the inability to sue. While this affords health professionals a certain level of protection, best clinical practice and risk management remains the key.”

Belinda’s experience includes

  • Appearing in the Privy Council: A v Bottrill [2003] 2 NZLR 721 (PC) – successful appeal of A v Bottrill [2001] 3 NZLR CA: exemplary damages for medical negligence
  • Prosecuting and defending health practitioners on a wide range of professional misconduct charges before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal
  • Human assisted reproductive technology, including obtaining a High Court order for a person to use her deceased husband’s sperm (L [2017] NZHC 3263)
  • Appearing for ACC in statutory appeals in relation to cover/entitlements under the Accident Compensation Act 2001
  • Advising private hospitals and aged care providers, including complaints before the Health and Disability Commissioner
  • Appearing on behalf of practitioners and healthcare providers at inquests
  • Defending habeus corpus applications (Wanoa v CMDHB [2019] NZHC 2420; RCL v CMDHB [2019] NZHC 2483)
  • Appearing before the Human Rights Review Tribunal on breach of privacy claims
  • Instructing and working with expert witnesses, often on involved and technical medical issues
  • Assisting senior counsel on landmark and test cases, including mental injury (“nervous shock”); vicarious liability of health providers; time limitation in sexual abuse cases; breach of fiduciary duty; disclosure of counselling notes; and damages for the cost of raising a child following a failed vasectomy