Widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s leading health and safety lawyers, Grant has extensive experience in all aspects of health and safety law. His style is warm and collaborative, and he enjoys getting out to see his clients “in the real world”. Doyle’s Guide describes him as “pre-eminent” in health and safety and he is also ranked by Chambers & Partners, which notes his “strong reputation”. Legal 500 says Grant “is an authority on prosecutions”.
Clients include construction and infrastructure companies, Crown entities, distributors, insurance companies, logistics providers, manufacturers, not-for-profits, ports, producers, retailers, territorial authorities, utilities companies, and others on their health and safety needs.
Grant’s work includes “front end” legal compliance, risk management, and leadership and culture development, and “back end” work on serious incident investigations, and representation during interactions with regulators, coroners, and the courts. He also has extensive experience in insurance and commercial litigation.
Relentlessly pragmatic and commercial in approach, he combines expert technical knowledge with the practical insight gained from many years of experience.
Grant’s clients are the best judge of what he brings to every instruction:
“Working alongside Grant Nicholson reinforces why health and safety law is a specialty in its own right and not merely a branch of employment law. Grant brings a first rate mind, commercial acumen, strategic and tactical nous, but above all he gets the human piece. Responsive and efficient, I struggle to recall a lawyer who has been more client centred, in any area, and can’t think why you’d retain anyone else in this field” – Sandra Gilliam, HR Director, Allpress Coffee
“What sets these guys apart is that they are able talk to us in simple human terms about what we need to do. They are experts but connect with us on our level” – Todd McLeay, CEO, Smart Environmental
- White Island Tours Limited, an adventure tourism business that was hosting tourists on live volcano Whakaari/White Island when it erupted in December 2019. Twenty-two people died, making this New Zealand's worst workplace incident in a decade. Anthony Harper is advising White Island Tours in its defence of charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, and in its dealings with the New Zealand Police and the Coroner. The outcomes of this case and investigations will impact the future regulation and management of adventure tourism operations in New Zealand.
- Flick Anticimex, a multi-national fumigation business in an investigation and prosecution by WorkSafe New Zealand, after a worker was hospitalised with symptoms arising from exposure to methyl bromide – a controversial industrial fumigant which has been banned in a number of overseas jurisdictions. This matter was significant as one of the first few cases where WorkSafe prosecuted an employer as a result of health related concerns. The Court's decision and findings about the nature and extent of Flick's duties for worker health were important both for the fumigation industry, and for the wider New Zealand business community by providing guidance on expectations around health protection and monitoring.
- A District Health Board (DHB) on the health and safety issues arising from completion of facilities management, special projects, and development work across the public health hospital and out-patient network. This included a review of the activity undertaken by the Facilities Management Division and advice to the the DHB on its legal responsibilities, good practice, and identified areas for improvement. The DHB was delighted with the outcome and used our report to improve its system, enhance consistency between different parts of its operation, and ensure ongoing compliance.
- A listed international property syndicator and manager with a commercial portfolio across New Zealand on the health and safety duties, and essential responsibilities and liabilities of a new syndicated property joint venture. This project included the structure of the offering, including a range of incorporated vehicles and complex asset structures, and advice on critical risk elements and important governance and management considerations when managing a property portfolio.
- Asia Pacific Legal 500, Employment, 2010-2023
- Chambers and Partners, Employment, 2010-2023
- New Zealand Doyle's Guide, Health and Safety, Preeminent Lawyer, 2019-2022
- Bachelor of Laws (LLB), (Hons), University of Auckland
Admission to the Bar
- Auckland, 1994
- London, 2002
New Zealand Institute of Safety Management, Deputy Chair
Standards Committee for the New Zealand Law Society, Convener
New Zealand Safety Council, Member
Australian Institute of Health and Safety, Member
United Kingdom’s Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, Member