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New Zealand > Transport (rail, road, air and sea) > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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  1. Transport (rail, road, air and sea)
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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    • Kerryn Webster - Wilson Harle

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Bell Gullyapproaches everything in a professional manner and the lawyers are always available to discuss matters’. The firm has a long track record in aviation, roading, rail and maritime matters, and is hailed by one client as ‘a good bunch of people who are easy to get along with and provide extremely good value for money’. Auckland-based competition partner Torrin Crowther advised Air New Zealand on its strategic alliance with Air China for a new daily direct service between Auckland and Beijing. Tom Bennett and Wellington-based Andrew Beatson act for Auckland Transport, with one recent matter involving consents and appeals work for the NZ$400m Mill Road project. PPP specialist Hugh Kettle advises New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) on major roading projects, including the recent NZ$850m procurement of a new road of national significance as part of the Transmission Gully PPP.

Chapman Tripphas very good knowledge of legislation and the ability to deliver practical and appropriate advice’. The firm advises shipping, road and air travel clients on corporate and commercial projects, resource management, procurement, insurance and contentious matters. In Auckland, environmental and planning partner Paula Brosnahan advises New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), for which she is currently acting on three major projects, including the Additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing development that will see the port add a new transport corridor. In Wellington, insurance and maritime law specialist John Knight acts for Maersk, with recent matters including liability claims relating to lost or damaged cargo. In Christchurch, litigator and resource management specialist Jo Appleyardunderstands the client and can see practical outcomes’. She advised Lyttelton Port Company on land reclamation and the deepening of the shipping channel as part of its redevelopment.

Anthony Harper’s transport and logistics team handles corporate, finance and contentious matters, with a strong focus on shipping and maritime law. Team head and corporate partner Chris Dann in Christchurch has specialist expertise in ports, transport and logistics matters. Litigators including Dan Hughes (who ‘cuts to the chase and does not muck around’) have experience in maritime matters, such as vessel arrest and ship mortgages. Dann advised Lyttelton Port Company on service agreements with international shipping companies, including Maersk Line and China Ocean Shipping, and on the establishment of its new inland port. He also advised the same client on the establishment of the new Te Ana Marina for recreational boating, which will be the only walk-on floating marina in Canterbury. The firm is also lead adviser to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in its long-term contract to meet International Energy Agency treaty obligations through petroleum reserve and shipping agreements with oil companies.

Buddle Findlay advises many transport sector clients on corporate and regulatory matters and projects, and it is one of the key providers of legal services to the New Zealand Transport Agency, particularly in regard to state highway and cycleway developments. The team also advises transport infrastructure providers such as Palmerston North Airport and Snapper Services, for which recent matters included work on the provision of ticketing-as-a-service to public transport agencies both domestically and internationally. The key partners are head of environment and Maori law Paul Beverley in Wellington and, in Auckland, head of projects Peter Owles and head of resource management Patrick Mulligan. Mulligan advised NZTA on the East West Link project connecting the Onehunga-Penrose industrial hub to the state highway network, which is part of a NZ$1.25bn project to relieve congestion and stimulate economic growth in the region.

Lowndes – Corporate & Commercial Law Specialists is known for advice on shipping law, including cross-border litigation. Michael McCarthy in Auckland is one of New Zealand’s premier shipping litigators. He represented the owner of the container ship Rena and its P&I and hull insurers in a shipwreck matter that became the largest maritime incident ever on the New Zealand coast, and the second-most expensive wreck removal operation in the world. The complex matter involves intricate commercial aspects, as well as negotiations and disputes in areas such as shipping, criminal, government, environment, and native rights. Mark Lowndes, who is ‘very commercial and excellent at managing client relationships’, also played a part in that work. Among the firm’s other clients are an international trade and transport company specialising in perishables and sensitive cargoes, a ferry and tourism company, and a developer of solutions for the aviation industry.

Simpson Grierson’s multidisciplinary team is heavily involved in major transport and infrastructure projects such as Transmission Gully and City Rail Link in, respectively, Wellington and Auckland. The firm is the primary provider of legal services to Auckland Transport, which is backing many of the country’s largest infrastructure developments. The team is led from Auckland by local government and environment partner Gerald Lanning, who focuses on large infrastructure projects, land transport management and policy, and Treaty of Waitangi issues. Construction specialist Michael Weatherall is taking the lead on the NZ$3.5bn City Rail Link project, which is the country’s largest-ever infrastructure project. Commercial partner Michael Sage is highly experienced in rail sector projects and frequently advises Transdev New Zealand, as well as corporates and public authorities. Property partner Michael Wood and, in Wellington, local government and environment partner James Winchester are also recommended.

Auckland firm Hesketh Henry advises businesses in the maritime, logistics and commodities sectors on employment, health and safety, property, insurance, corporate matters and dispute resolution. Its client base comprises vessel owners and operators, logistics companies, ship repairers, shipbrokers, port agents, service providers, and P&I clubs and marine insurers. The team is led by Alan Sherlock, who is also head of litigation, and lateral hire Simon Cartwright, who joined from international law firm HFW and advises on international disputes and transactions under English law. Nick Gillies is also recommended. Cartwright is currently advising a UAE-based offshore support vessel operator on a dispute with a Norwegian OSV owner. He is also advising Charterers P&I Club and its insured, which is a log trader and exporter, on the Ministry of Primary Industries’ decision to reject the vessel DL Marigold from New Zealand waters due to biosecurity concerns.

Kensington Swan’s multidisciplinary team advises on infrastructure development, corporate transactions, planning and property matters that stem from transport projects. In Auckland, infrastructure projects partner Paul Buetow is heavily involved in major developments in the road and rail sectors. Finance partner Nicole Xanthopol and property partner Matthew Ockleston are also recommended. Resource management specialist Christina Sheard advises many infrastructure providers, councils and private sector clients. She is working with Wellington-based head of environmental and planning Nicky McIndoe on the Northern Corridor Improvements project, which involves the construction of a new direct motorway-to-motorway connection on the North Shore of Auckland. In Wellington, corporate and commercial partners David Shillson and Chris Parke play key roles in the team.

Specialist litigation firm Wilson Harle in Auckland has a strong shipping and maritime law team that regularly acts for international P&I clubs. The well-established admiralty and maritime law practice also advises vessel owners, port companies and international carriers. Senior associate Kerryn Webster is the New Zealand vice president of the Maritime Law Association of Australia and New Zealand and chair of the New Zealand branch. Webster and newly promoted partner Felicity Monteiro are also members of the Ship Arrested Network. Veteran litigator Chris Browne also plays a prominent role in the team. Recent highlights for the firm include advising a German ship operator MS Meta Stefan Patjens on several claims arising from the carriage of ventilated cargo containers (known as ‘fantainers’) of onions from New Zealand to Europe.

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Legal Developments in New Zealand

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