Carolyn Ranson

Director LLB (Hons) Dip. Bus.
An experienced employment, estate litigation and elder law lawyer, Carolyn completed her law degree at City University, London in 1996. She was in house legal counsel for a large retirement village operator, before entering private practice in 2000. She joined Smith and Partners in 2011 as a senior lawyer before becoming a partner of the firm.

As partner, Carolyn heads the litigation arm of the practice which includes the family, employment, civil litigation and estate litigation teams.  She also manages the estates administration team at Smith and Partners.

Carolyn’s own area of specialisation includes Estate litigation and disputes arising from challenges to Wills, including Will interpretation and initiating and defending family protection, testamentary promises, testamentary incapacity, and undue influence claims.

Carolyn also specialises in employment law and acts for both employees and employers.  Her practice encompasses the whole process from reviewing and drafting employment agreements, policies and other documents to assisting with disciplinary matters to negotiating over disputes and where necessary attending mediations and appearing at Employment Relation Authority hearings and at the Employment Court.

As well as a flourishing litigation practice, Carolyn has extensive experience as a general practitioner for private clients and she continues to practice in  trust lawestate planning, and Wills matters and has a specialist knowledge and interest in retirement villages and elder law.

In 2022, Carolyn was invited by the New Zealand Retirement Commission to provide feedback on the feasibility of introducing a standardised Occupation Right Agreement for Retirement Villages and what that should look like.  The report can be accessed here –

Carolyn supports the firm’s commitment to volunteering at the Citizens Advice Bureau at Henderson and Massey and to its various community sponsorships.  She is a member of the New Zealand Law Society, the Auckland District Law Society and the Auckland Women Lawyers’ Association.

Carolyn is a mother to three busy teenagers and enjoys family time – sailing in the summer and skiing in the winter.


Carolyn in the News
Kiri Allan controversy puts spotlight on return to work after mental health leave | Human Relations Director New Zealand (

Trust sales: things can get complicated – NZ Herald article on selling property owned by a family trust

Your credit history up for scrutiny – article on changes to credit ratings

Uber driver US case may have NZ fallout – NZ Herald article on a Recent Case in the US and its Effect on Uber’s NZ Employment Agreements

Check before you cut loose – NZ Herald article on property rights and responsibilities regarding trees

Embracing a new lifestyle – NZ Herald article on downsizing

Working with West Auckland businesses and families since 1988 – Rosebank Roundabout

Contact Carolyn

+64 9 837 6840

email Carolyn


Suzanne Sumner

+64 9 837 6840

email Suzanne

Carolyn’S Recent articles