The Chairperson of the Tribunal is Chris Somerville. Chair Somerville is a former District Court Judge, having sat in the Christchurch District and Family Courts from 1996 to 2016, when he retired. Before that, Chair Somerville was a barrister in private practice appearing on a wide range of civil and family matters. He is experienced in insurance law and appeared before the Court of Appeal as counsel for the unsuccessful home owner in Bryant v Primary Industries Ltd, the leading case on assignment of replacement insurance policies
He was Chair of the Land Valuation Tribunals for North Canterbury (which includes Christchurch), South Canterbury and Westland. He held that position for 19 years, ushering in procedural changes that succeeded in reducing the number of claims requiring a hearing.by promoting settlement between the parties.
In addition to his judicial work, Chair Somerville was a member of the Judicial Mediation Panel that provided regular training in mediation and settlement conferencing for Judges of the district, family and High Courts.