Legal Services


Smail Legal Limited are experienced in all Māori legal issues. In the Treaty of Waitangi area our primary area of expertise is advising on settlement negotiations. We have worked with clients at every stage of the negotiations process from mandating to the passing of settlement legislation and receipt of assets. We also act for claimants involved in Tribunal hearings in relation to both historical and contemporary claims.

We advise on structuring of Post Settlement Governance Entities and work with clients to create good governance processes that are legally compliant and promote accountability to beneficiaries.

A number of entities that have successfully settled their claims have also sought our assistance as they turn their settlement packages into positive change for iwi, hapu and whanau members, with flow-on benefits for the wider community. This has included settlement implementation, governance issues and more general advice on legislative and policy developments that may affect them.

Under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act, we act in applications both in the High Court and direct engagement with the Crown.

We also act in various proceedings in the Māori Land Court including for investigation of title and development and succession issues and applications for review and amendment of Māori Land Trusts and other governance structures.

We are also acting for an iwi in relation to the first Māori Fisheries Act coastline determination to go to a hearing.

In addition to providing advice to iwi and hapu, we can provide advice to those that want to engage with iwi and hapu in a Treaty consistent manner.

We are experienced litigators but are committed to resolving issues in the way that best meets our clients’ needs, whether through Court proceedings or a negotiated or mediated outcome.