Paul Sills’ Background

Paul Sills is a barrister who draws on his years of commercial and legal experience to provide timely and cost-effective solutions for his clients. Paul is also an experienced mediator specialising in the early resolution of disputes.

He became a Fellow of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand in 2019 (FAMINZ/ Med), and was also recognised as one of the top 10 Mediators in New Zealand by Law Fuel.


I commenced my working life as a navigator (and then tactical coordinator) in the RNZAF before attending the University of Auckland Law School, graduating with an honours degree. Having been admitted as a lawyer in 1995, I took on a role as a senior solicitor with Minter Ellison Rudd Watts and then as a senior associate at Bell Gully.

I became a barrister sole in 2004 and set up at the Independent Bar, as a member of the New Zealand Bar Association.

As a civil and commercial litigator with extensive experience in all courts in the New Zealand system, I have also appeared in litigation, arbitrations and mediations in the South Pacific, Australia and other jurisdictions. Accustomed in running complex multi-party litigation, I have acted as senior counsel in significant commercial litigation and have led a number of international arbitrations involving the construction of super yachts, both domestically and off-shore.

Business Experience

From 2006-2008, I had a break from the practice of law and stepped in as managing director and CEO of a super-yacht construction company. In that capacity I ran eight companies in Australasia and the Cayman Islands. As a privately-owned business, employing 300 staff with facilities in New Zealand and Australia and customers in Europe, USA, Middle East and South East Asia, I reported to the board of directors and shareholders and had direct reports across production, financial, design, refit and marketing.

Further business experience includes acting as receiver across a number of varied businesses and I currently also hold several independent directorships.

Mediation and Facilitation

Returning to the law in 2008, I recommenced work as a commercial and civil barrister and established a practice as a mediator. My mediation practice is in addition to, and complementary to my commercial and civil court work.

Effective dispute resolution is much wider than just effective litigation services. I have combined my extensive legal experience and considerable business experience to offer negotiation, facilitation and mediation services across the whole continuum of dispute resolution from helping people have better conversations through to appellate court work.

I write, teach, and consult in the fields of mediation, facilitation, and negotiation. I regularly lecture at national and international levels on effective dispute resolution.

Memberships and Acknowledgements

Paul’s appointments include Associate Member of AMINZ, Netball New Zealand Disciplinary Committee chairman, panel of mediators for the Marine Industry Association and the Franchise Association of New Zealand, Triathalon NZ Age Group Adjudicator and a member of the panel of mediators for the New Zealand Law Society.

  • Served as a judge at the ICC International Mediation Competition in Paris 2020

  • Became a Fellow of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand in 2019 (FAMINZ (Med))

  • Named as a finalist for Mediator of the Year in the 2019 New Zealand Law Awards

  • Awarded the AMINZ Ann Edge Memorial Award and the Fellowship Mediation Prize

  • Served as a judge at the ICC Mediation Competition in Melbourne 2019

  • Recognised as one of the top 10 mediators in New Zealand in 2019 by LawFuel

The Early Resolution
of Disputes

An area I specialise in is the early facilitation of disputes. Each dispute is unique; knowing when to negotiate is critical.

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Mediation &
Facilitation Services

My mediation and facilitation services are not confined to the traditional one day mediation held in the context of legal proceedings.

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Litigation &
Related Services

With extensive litigation experience, I am able to engage and accept briefs for simple and complex commercial and civil litigation.

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