Harbour Chambers

Susanne Ruthven joined Harbour Chambers as a Barrister in 2015. Harbour Chambers is one of New Zealand’s longest-established barristers’ chambers. Its current members are Hugh Rennie QC, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC, Matthew McClelland QC, Kevin Riordan, Jennifer Gibson, Adam Lewis, Rebecca Scott, Phernne Tancock and Elana Geddis.

Principal Areas of Practice

Susanne Ruthven | Barrister

  • Administrative law
  • Aviation law
  • Civil litigation
  • Constitutional law
  • Criminal law
  • Education law
  • Environmental law
  • Family law
  • Human rights
  • International law
  • Judicial review
  • Maritime law
  • Privacy law
  • Public law


  • Joined Harbour Chambers, 2015
  • Barrister sole, Wellington, 2008
  • Admitted as a barrister and solicitor, Wellington, 2005
  • LL.B, Victoria University of Wellington, 2005


Susanne Ruthven has extensive experience in international law, human rights, public law, judicial review and civil litigation.

Over the past 10 years, Susanne has been involved in cases before the Human Rights Review Tribunal, University Grievance Appeal Committee, the Waitangi Tribunal, the District Court, the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

She has been involved in cases across the spectrum from discrimination to breaches of Bill of Rights, to breaches of international treaties to cases involving mental health, fisheries, privacy, employment, criminal, immigration, family law and Māori customary law.

Previously at Blackstone Chambers, Susanne assisted Dr Tony Ellis with judicial review and civil litigation cases involving human rights, international law, public law and administrative law.

Susanne has extensive experience in international law, having drafted submissions to the United Nations Human Rights Committee as well as to the Special Rapportuer of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.

Susanne was instrumental in a shadow report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on New Zealand’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and to a shadow report to the United Nations Committee against Torture on New Zealand’s compliance with the Convention against Torture.

Prior to Blackstone Chambers, Susanne was a solicitor at the Ministry of Fisheries (now Ministry for Primary Industries) where she managed the Ministry’s litigation files in public law, employment law and Maori customary law.