Clive Elliott KC

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Clive Elliott KC
Clive Elliott KCc.jpg
Born (1956-07-04) July 4, 1956 (age 67)
Durban, South Africa
Other namesClive Lincoln Elliott KC
CitizenshipNew Zealand
Alma mater
  • University of Natal
  • Auckland University
  • Victoria University
Spouse(s)Heather Cox
  • James Leslie Elliott (father)
  • Gloria Jeanette Elliott (mother)
  • Charles Robberts (Blackie) Swart
  • Henry Austin Reid

Clive Elliott KC (born July 4, 1956) is a distinguished legal professional, author, artist, and TEDx speaker known for his extensive knowledge and specialization in intellectual property law, information technology, media, employment, dispute resolution, and advisory work.[1] Elliott has been a barrister at Shortland Chambers since 2000, and has the rank of King’s Counsel.[2]

With a career spanning decades, he has garnered recognition as one of New Zealand's leading intellectual property (IP) silks, adept at handling complex cases. His contributions to the legal field have been acknowledged by prestigious publications such as Chambers and Partners, the International Who's Who of Patent Lawyers and the International Who's Who of Internet & E-Commerce Lawyers.[3]

Alongside his legal pursuits, Elliott embraces his passion for writing and art, using his creative endeavors to explore pressing global issues. He is the author of the book “The Power of Wellbeing,” and co-author of Lexis Nexis loose-leaf texts on Copyright and Design, and Patents and Trade Marks. His multifaceted talents and commitment to social progress have established him as a respected figure both within and beyond the legal community.

Early life and education

Elliott was born on July 4, 1956, in Durban, South Africa, during the period of apartheid rule. He grew up in Amanzimtoti, South of Durban, with his parents James Leslie Elliott and Gloria Jeanette Elliott (née Roberts), and three siblings.

He attended Kingsway High School and Kearsney College before serving in the military. Later, he pursued higher education at the University of Natal in Durban, earning a BA degree with a major in English and Comparative African Government and Administration, as well as an LLB degree in 1981.

In 1983, Elliott decided to emigrate to New Zealand due to his disenchantment with the apartheid system in South Africa. He converted his South African law degree to a New Zealand law degree at Auckland University in 1985 and obtained a New Zealand practicing certificate the same year. In 1991, he achieved an LL.M. with Honours from Victoria University, Wellington.


Elliott began his career as an assistant company secretary at Unilever South Africa's headquarters in Durban, where he gained exposure to IP law owing to the company's extensive trade mark portfolio.[4]

After moving to New Zealand, he became a registered patent attorney in 1990 and joined the then leading patent attorney firm Baldwin, Son & Carey in Wellington. He later became a partner at the firm, heading its litigation team. Following a merger with Shelston Waters, the firm became Baldwin Shelston Waters.[5]

In 2000, Elliott transitioned to become an independent barrister at Shortland Chambers, a renowned set of barristers' chambers where he practices to this day. With over 40 years of experience, he provides advice, advocacy, and dispute resolution services, specializing in IP, including patents, trade marks, trade secrets, and copyright. Elliott has appeared as counsel in significant IP cases in trial and appellate courts, including the Privy Council, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court. He has also acted as counsel in arbitrations and is a Fellow of the NZ Arbitrator's Institute. He is also a member of WIPO's panel of neutrals and an expert in the New Zealand Domain Name Resolution Service.[6]

Recognized as a leading expert in IP, Elliott obtained a fellowship at the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ) in 2008. He has held significant positions, including the presidency of the New Zealand Bar Association, council memberships in the Auckland Branch of the New Zealand Law Society, and the Legal Practice Division of the International Bar Association (IBA). Within the IBA, he has co-chaired the Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law Committee.[7]

Elliott has been actively involved in IP matters, serving as the convenor of the Intellectual Property Committee of the New Zealand Law Society for ten years. He has also contributed to legal education as a part-time lecturer at Auckland University, focusing on selected aspects of IP.[8]

Additionally, Elliott is an accomplished writer and commentator in the field of IP and information technology, and sits on the editorial board of the Intellectual Property Forum.[9]

In addition to being a King's Counsel, Elliott also embraces his passion for writing and art. He has been driven by pressing global issues such as inequality, polarization, extremism, global warming, and the repercussions of Covid-19. With a longstanding interest in social matters, he has curated multiple solo art exhibitions, including his latest endeavor in 2020 titled "So Much to Lose!" which focused on the impacts of climate change.[10]

Elliott is a published author, with his first book titled "The Power of Wellbeing" released in 2021. The book explores the reassessment of institutions, systems, and values in a post-pandemic world. It advocates for positive change to create a better society where people can thrive, while upholding equality, trust, and empathy. Drawing inspiration from New Zealand's perspective, the book highlights its potential to inspire transformative changes globally. Elliott has also co-authored Lexis Nexis loose-leaf texts on Copyright and Design, and Patents and Trade Marks.[11]

Awards and recognitions

  • Ranked as one of New Zealand's leading IP silks with expertise in complex cases by Chambers and Partners.
  • Included in the International Who's Who of Patent Lawyers.
  • Recognized in the International Who's Who of Internet & E-Commerce Lawyers.
  • Acknowledged by the World Trademark Review as one of the World's Leading Trademark Professionals for his work in trademark law.


  • The Power of Wellbeing: A blueprint for rebuilding the social fabric and reimagining an inclusive society (December 2021)[12]

Personal life

Elliott resides in Auckland, New Zealand, with his wife, Heather Elliott.

On the conservative Afrikaans side of his family, Elliott's cousin Charles Robberts (Blackie) Swart held significant political positions. He was the first Minister of Justice in DF Malan's National Government, which assumed power in 1948 and later became State President.

On the English-speaking side of his family, Elliott's great-grandfather Henry Austin Reid was a Rand Pioneer and an influential South African architect who co-designed the Cape Town City Hall, an iconic and historically significant public building.


  1. "Clive Elliott" (PDF). Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  2. "Clive Elliott KC - Barrister | Shortland Chambers, Auckland NZ". Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  3. "Mr Clive Elliott KC - NZ Bar Association - Ngā Ahorangi Motuhake o te Ture". Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  4. "Clive-Elliott-QC-Bio" (PDF). Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  5. "‎The Law Down Under Podcast: E8 The Power of Wellbeing - With Clive Elliott QC on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  6. "Clive Elliott: Is Aotearoa headed for social apartheid?". NZ Herald. 9 July 2023. Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  7. "About Me". Clive Elliott QC's Blog. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  8. "Clive Elliott". TEDxAuckland. 18 June 2023. Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  9. "*Research shows female lawyers greatly under-represented in New Zealand's highest courts | The Law Foundation". Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  10. "Clive Elliott: books, biography, latest update". Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  11. "New president takes the reins at the NZ Bar Association". Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  12. "The Power of Wellbeing: A blueprint for rebuilding the social fabric and reimagining an inclusive society". Retrieved 9 July 2023.

External links