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The 5 Best Criminal Defence Lawyers in Auckland When You Need an Ace in Your Corner

The 5 Best Criminal Defence Lawyers in Auckland When You Need an Ace in Your Corner
We extensively test and research all services we review. Here's why you can trust us.

Court—that one place where you hope your only appearance is as a juror. But there I was, distressingly un-jurored, half-expecting to find my face plastered on a ‘Most Wanted’ poster by the exit.

I was only there to contest a parking ticket, to be clear, but with the way my palms were sweating and my heart racing, you’d think I was up on a felony charge. As luck would have it, my crime spree ended as quickly as it began, with a warning from the judge and a slightly bruised ego. 

But that tiny brush with ‘criminal life’ got me thinking about the real deal, and, more importantly, where to find the best criminal defence lawyers in town just in case I ever landed in deep sh*t.

Since then, the Auckland Magazine team and I dug our elbows in and got firsthand insights on the very best criminal defence lawyers in all of Auckland. 

How much does it cost to hire a defence lawyer in Auckland? 

When hiring a criminal defence lawyer in Auckland, expect to spend at least 100 NZD per hour. This price is just an estimate and may vary depending on the experience of the defence lawyer and the criminal case.

How We Chose

Experience: We looked for lawyers who’d tackled various cases and knew the ins and outs of court proceedings from the jump.
Track record: We looked for a lawyer with a history of getting good results for their clients.
Communication: We asked former clients about their experiences working with the criminal defence lawyers we spoke to, as in whether the lawyers were patient, not condescending, and good communicators. We also observed the lawyers’ interactions firsthand to see if their comments measured up to reality.
Fees: Legal fees can add up fast. We looked for lawyers who were upfront about costs and, if possible, offered options that fit various budgets.

1. Adam J Holland 

Adam J Holland's Banner

Address: Sentinel Chambers, 62 Victoria Street West, Level 4, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Contact Details: +6493784437

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Website: Adam J Holland 

For anyone facing serious charges revolving around drugs, discharge cases, bail applications, criminal appeals, or just feeling overwhelmed in a general criminal law case, Adam J Holland is worth looking into.

From our first conversation over the phone, Adam’s profound knowledge and calming presence were immediately apparent. He wasn’t just another lawyer rattling off legal jargon.

Having spoken to former clients of his prior to our call, we already knew about his 20+ years of experience in the criminal defence arena. Words like “lifesaver” and “relentless” were common among their comments about him.

Many shared with us how Adam had managed to navigate through what seemed like an impregnable legal fortress, securing a result that far exceeded their expectations. 

And we observed firsthand how Adam’s tenacity is unmatched. His ability to dissect the prosecution’s case and find avenues for defence was mesmerising.

Of course, top-notch service like Adam’s doesn’t come cheap, and his busy schedule means most of his clients have to plan their meetings well in advance. 


  • Extensive experience
  • Clear communication
  • Tenacious and strategic


  • Limited availability
  • Potentially high fees

Customer Reviews

Adam masterfully destroyed an opponent 

“My family and I would love to say huge thank you to Adam and Catherine for their incredible job! With Adam and Catherine in court you will feel protected and that everything under control. During the cross-examination, Adam masterfully destroyed an opponent and his story. Catherine prepared me for all possible questions and even more. We got an excellent result…it wasn’t easy case but in the end instead of many years in prison i got 8 months home detention! I am very grateful for an opportunity to have Adam and Catherine as my lawyers!! I wish you all the best in the future.” 

Natalia A, Google Reviews

Adam went above and beyond for us

“We made the absolute best choice having Adam represent us. Adam was able to walk us through the whole process and was able to ease our worries by letting us know what to expect in each situation. He was in constant communication with us and always had the best advice and recommendations.

Adam went above and beyond for us and we are so thankful to him for all his effort.”

Hana-Jane Conlon, Google Reviews

2.  John Munro 

John Munro's Banner

Address: level 4/62 Victoria Street West, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Operating Hours: Monday to Friday – 9 AM to 5 PM

Website: John Munro Barrister

John Munro boasts over twenty years of hands-on experience tackling some of the most challenging cases in serious crimes—from murder to major drug offences.

Having observed John in action, it became immediately apparent that his reputation for meticulous case preparation wasn’t just talk. The man is a strategist, even integrating cutting-edge technology into his investigations and ensuring nothing is left to chance. 

And from what we saw, he demystified the entire legal process for his clients. And many we spoke with went on and on about how John kept things clear, direct, and honest—not a single doubt in their minds when it came to understanding their case.

Sure, John’s forte is in the realm of serious crimes, but his prowess in sports and dishonesty cases also deserves a nod. However, if your case is on the lighter side of criminal law, he might suggest you’re better off with a specialist in that particular area. 


  • 20+ years of experience
  • Meticulous case prep
  • Tech-savvy lawyer
  • Honest & direct


  • For serious criminal cases only

Customer Reviews

John made himself available right away

“John and Ashley were world class. We had an urgent issue to resolve. John made himself available right away, listened well and showed great empathy. We felt reassured with his experience and advice and had a very quick and successful resolution. We are very grateful.”

Brendon Urlich, Google Reviews

They were true to the their word every step of the way 

“On behalf of my partner I found myself spiraling down into a very dark place in life and with the law, with the assistance of the team at John Munro barristers I found myself with the best possible outcome for someone within my position, I would’ve been in a much worse space than were I am today they helped steer me through the most difficult time in my life and helped me get back on my feet and helped me also find the help that I very much needed , they were true to the their word every step of the way and kept me informed of what to expect next , the heavy footwork the team made helped me keep stepping along with life and helped me find comfort in the hardest time I’ve ever experienced. Thank you team you have not only provided an awesome service but have truly saved my life.”

Crystal Pirrit, Google Reviews

3.  Daniel Schellenberg 

Daniel Schellenberg's Banner

Address: Level 8 Southern Cross Building, 59 High Street, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Contact Details: +64224300320

Operating Hours: Monday to Friday – 8:30 AM to 5 PM

Website: Daniel Schellenberg 

We spoke directly with Daniel, and the depth of his knowledge and empathy were evident from the get-go. Most of his cases revolve around high-stakes areas including murder, serious violent offences, drug-related crimes, and more. 

We liked his humane and strategic approach, which is a balance difficult to strike in this field. And from what we have observed, he treats each case with meticulous attention and fervour as if it were his only one. 

One client in particular shared with us how Daniel’s expertise in handling a highly sensitive aggravated robbery case not only led to a fair trial but also provided them with a sense of dignity and respect throughout the process. 

Another mentioned Daniel’s ability to navigate the complexities of a serious drug offence case, highlighting his skill in presenting the facts compellingly and concisely. 

Besides these things, it was also pointed out that Daniel’s commitment to each case can lead to longer wait times for communication, and his services command a premium, positioning him at the higher end of the legal fee spectrum.


  • Empathic, dedicated lawyer
  • Humane and strategic approaches
  • High-stake cases


  • Longer wait times for clients
  • High legal fees

Customer Reviews

Daniel and his team have been nothing short of amazing

“Throughout our lengthy process Daniel and his team have been nothing short of amazing. Clear direction to help our case, good communication, transparent costs and a friendly approach. Highly recommend. We got the outcome we hoped for and that is down to Daniel’s expertise.”

Ciara Macmillan, Google Reviews

Very professional and helpful 

“Thanks to Daniel and his team, I got the best possible outcome for my case, a discharge without conviction. Very professional and helpful over the whole time. I can highly recommend Daniel.”

Christian Schmucker, Google Reviews

4. Farrukh Gul Qaisrani 

Farrukh Gul Qaisrani's Banner

Address: 89 Great South Road, Papatoetoe, Auckland 2025, New Zealand

Contact Details: +64223530872

Operating Hours: 

  • Monday to Wednesday & Friday – 8 AM to 6 PM
  • Thursday – 6:30 AM to 6 PM
  • Saturday & Sunday – 9 AM to 5 PM

Website: Gul Law 

Gul Law is a beacon for those entangled in the often-complex criminal legal system. Farrukh is committed to providing legal aid, which is a rare offer in a world where justice sometimes seems tethered by financial means.

From our call with him, he also made it clear how he takes on private cases, for those who can’t seem to find a lawyer to take on their case. Of course, this isn’t without a hefty per-hour fee.

Despite this, from our conversations with his clients, it’s clear he excels in a wide range of cases, from family violence and driving-related charges to fraud and even immigration disputes.

And many shared stories with us about his meticulous approach and unyielding fire for justice. Making it clear that it was Qaisrani’s ability to navigate the complexities of the law with clarity and empathy that made them feel genuinely supported.


  • Provides legal aid
  • Compassionate lawyer
  • Successful outcomes


  • Higher fees for private cases

Customer Reviews

Knowledgeable attorney with great experience

“Gul Law and the team is the best Criminal Law Lawyer, I have ever worked with. From our first meeting, he explained everything to me in terms I could easily understand and was always very responsive when I had questions outside of our meetings. If anyone is looking for a knowledgeable attorney with great experience and in your favourable I Highly recommend Gul law. Thank you Gul Law.”

D Heather, Google Reviews

Very easy to communicate and seek advice from

“Barrister Gul is an excellent lawyer. He understood and met my needs as a client and he delivered well beyond my expectations. He was also very easy to communicate and seek advice from regarding my matter and at the end, I was very pleasant and happy with the final outcome which couldn’t have being done without his expertise and experience. I highly recommend him to be your lawyer.”

Mufeed Ismail, Google Reviews 

5. Ian Brookie

Ian Brookie's Banner

Address: level 4/62 Victoria Street West, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Contact Details: +6493900095

Operating Hours: Monday to Friday – 9 AM to 5 PM

Website: Ian Brookie

Mr. Brookie’s track record spans a vast array of cases, including high-stakes dramas involving serious charges like murder and drug trafficking. 

We’ve noted that it’s this comprehensive background that enables him to craft defence strategies with a depth of understanding and ingenuity rarely paralleled in the courtroom. 

Speaking of the courtroom, Ian’s prowess in this arena is nothing short of stellar. During our observation, we were in awe by the way he confidently presents arguments, examining witnesses, and advocates persuasively for his clients. 

Moreover, his clients, past and present, shared with us stories of Ian’s tenacity and dedication, highlighting his ability to achieve positive outcomes even in the face of overwhelming odds. 

However, there was a notable concern echoed by some we spoke to on the financial commitment required to enlist Ian’s services. While his fees reflect the high caliber of representation he provides, it’s a factor worth considering for those on a tight budget. 

Additionally, concerns about his inclination towards courtroom battles over pre-trial negotiations and plea bargains were raised. So for clients looking for swift, out-of-court resolutions, it might be best to look elsewhere. 


  • Experienced
  • Strong courtroom presence
  • Persuasive defence lawyer


  • Not budget-friendly
  • Not great for plea bargains or pre-trial negotions

Customer Reviews

 I recommend Ian and his team to anyone who’s needing a top lawyer

“Ian was absolutely amazing in helping my situation that was super scary for myself and my family. Ian was very thorough he discussed everything with me and ensured I understood everything he was talking about, which is awesome when the heat is on. I’m forever grateful for what Ian and Ruby have done to help me and with pointing me in the right direction to leave no stone unturned and come out with the best result. I recommend Ian and his team to anyone who’s needing a top lawyer in NZ.”

George Whippy, Google Reviews 

He explained all our options and wouldn’t stop until he got us the best result

“Ian was amazing. We had never been in this position before. We had no idea what we were in for. It affected our whole family so badly. We felt so much better and more confident once we had Ian on our side. He explained all our options and wouldn’t stop until he got us the best result. We are forever grateful, for what he done for our son.”

Ava Wright, Google Reviews