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Guardian Chambers

Leading sets of criminal defence lawyers in Auckland.

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History and Philosophy

Guardian Chambers was established in May 2007 by two senior criminal barristers, Lester Cordwell and Hugh Leabourn. Their goal was to develop their own criminal defence chambers which delivered a comprehensive and specialist criminal law service for both privately paying and legal aid clients alike.

Lester Cordwell and Hugh Leabourn each have more than 30 years' experience in the criminal law and after initially working for the Crown Solicitor's office in Auckland, decided to join the defence bar in the mid 1990s. 

Members of Guardian Chambers aim to provide an outstanding, accessible and sensitive service to a broad range of clients. We are committed to the fundamental principle of our criminal justice system, the presumption of innocence, and to the promotion of human rights through the criminal law.

We are a chambers that embraces equal opportunities and combines the highest levels of skill and expertise with high levels of efficiency. All our work has always been underpinned by an open commitment to quality and the pursuit of justice.

Guardian Chambers recognises that poorer citizens are entitled to the same rights and same level of legal representation as the most wealthy and that everyone is entitled to the best defence irrespective of the popularity of the cause or the unpleasant nature of the allegations.

We are a modern, innovative and approachable set of barristers with an excellent reputation for defending people accused of crimes including murder, aggravated robberies, major drugs cases, sexual offences, fraud matters as well as traffic offences and other summary District Court matters. Guardian Chambers has achieved consistently successful results in pre-trial applications, judge alone trials, jury trials and appellate work.

Our commitment to justice and equality for our clients remains as strong as ever. Our stances are often bold and creative and in the end, more often than not, successful.