Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Dispute resolution

Meredith Connell is one of the largest public interest and litigation firms in New Zealand, with a strong track record representing local government entities and private-sector clients in commercial litigation, arbitrations and large-scale disputes.  
Morrison Partners’s litigation team was founded in 2017, with Michael Morrison, who has experience in commercial disputes, insolvency and debt recovery, trusts and securities-related cases, serving as the practice’s key contact.

Dispute resolution in New Zealand

Bell Gully

Well-known for its leading litigation practice’, Bell Gully houses a team of experienced practitioners who frequently appear as senior counsel in trials and appeals at all levels of the New Zealand court system. The group also represent clients in arbitrations, mediations and other forms of dispute resolution. The ‘first-class’ team’s workload includes corporate and commercial disputes, regulatory investigations and government inquiries, as well as cases concerning public law, insurance, Māori law, tax and white-collar crime. David Friar, who is praised for his ‘exceptional knowledge and understanding when advising on insurance claims’, heads the practice with the support Wellington-based deputy leader Rachael Brown, who specialises in Māori law and employment disputes. Tim Fitzgerald is a key contact for insolvency and regulatory investigations, while Jenny Stevens handles litigious competition law matters. Other key names to note include Wellington-based Kirsty Dobbs, Blair Keown, Sophie East, who has demonstrable capability in banking litigation, class actions and arbitrations, and the ‘articulate’ Jesse Wilson, who assists clients in construction disputes. The ‘strategically astute’ Brad Ward was promoted to partner in January 2022, while Simon Ladd left to Shortland Chambers in December 2021. All named practitioners are based in the firm’s Auckland office, unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

David Friar; Rachael Brown

Other key lawyers:

Jenny Stevens; Sophie East; Tim Fitzgerald; Jesse Wilson; Brad Ward; Blair Keown; Kirsty Dobbs; Sam Hiebendaal


‘First-class team. Sharp, smart and strategically creative.’

‘Sam Hiebendaal is outstanding. He is an astute strategic adviser and an exceptionally clear communicator, who is easy to collaborate with.’

‘Sophie East is very flexible in approach and targeted in advice. Brad Ward is good on case detail and strategically astute.’

‘Bell Gully is well-known for its leading litigation practice, which is possibly first in class in NZ. They have a competent and effective team that is able to address complex and urgent disputes.’

‘Jesse Wilson is articulate, intelligent and possesses sound analytical skills and commercial judgment.

‘Tim Fitzgerald is our lead partner. Good knowledge, works well with senior counsel and is easy to deal with.’

‘David Friar has exceptional knowledge and understanding when advising on insurance claims.’

‘Kirsty Dobbs is one of the best litigation partners in the country. She is extremely hard working, across all the detail yet has the big picture at the front of her mind also.’

Key clients

Air New Zealand

ANZ Bank

ASB Bank

Calibre Partners

Carter Holt Harvey

Cigna Life Insurance

Downer Group NZ

Fletcher Building

Frucor Suntory NZ

Genesis Energy

IAG New Zealand



Stride Property

Suncorp Group


Work highlights

  • Acting for Genesis Energy in defending claims concerning its alleged responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Acting for ASX-listed company AWN Holdings in a class action brought by investors in relation to the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of the formerly NZX-listed Intueri Education Group Ltd.
  • Defending ANZ Bank in a class action regarding alleged breaches of disclosure requirements under the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003.

Chapman Tripp

Chapman Tripp has demonstrable experience in multi-jurisdictional commercial disputes, as well as construction, insurance and IP litigation, international arbitration, and regulatory proceedings. Key clients include multinational companies and New Zealand-based entities, such as Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust, where the team continues to represent the Auckland-based Māori hapū in a high-profile judicial review proceeding involving the interplay of customary rights and the statutory settlement processes for historical grievances against indigenous tribes. In the firm’s Auckland office, practice leader Justin Graham focuses on contentious media and IP matters, from defamation and privacy to patent, copyright and trade mark litigation, while Laura Fraser handles contentious private and public law mandates. The Auckland office also houses consultant John McKay, who specialises in high-value construction disputes, and ‘exceptionalMichael Arthur, who is noted for his expertise in corporate restructuring and insolvency. In Wellington, Tim Smith advises on a broad range of contentious commercial matters, while Nicola Swan handles international arbitrations and has an active civil litigation practice.

Practice head(s):

Justin Graham

Other key lawyers:

Laura Fraser; John McKay; Michael Arthur; Tim Smith; Nicola Swan; Edward Scorgie


‘Great all-round service offering.’

‘Michael Arthur was exceptional. Great attention to detail, strategic, thinking outside the box to get a solution that was fair and equitable for all parties.’

‘The team communicates succinctly, effectively and regularly. They are very responsive and available to address queries.’

Key clients

Fonterra Co-operative Group

Former directors of Mainzeal Property & Construction Limited (Mainzeal)

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust

Mercury NZ

Tauranga Electricity Energy Trust (TECT) and TECTCharitable Trust

L&M Coal Holdings Limited (L&M)

Chorus New Zealand Limited

New Zealand Steel Ltd

Turners Automotive Group Limited

Neale Jackson and Natalie Burrett of Calibre Partners as receivers of various companies associated with George Kerr – Galt Nominees Ltd, Glencoe Land (Joint Venture) Ltd and Pyne Holdings Ltd

Fu Wah NZ Limited and its subsidiary Auckland Hotel Investments Company Limited

Beca Limited

Fertiliser Association of New Zealand Inc.

M2 NZ Limited and M2 Telecommunications Pty Limited (subsidiaries of Vocus NZ Ltd and its Australian parent, Vocus Communications).

KNCC Limited: Epsom Central Department Development

Calibre Partners

Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency


Based in Auckland, boutique firm LeeSalmonLong is widely recognised for its ‘capability and intellectual grunt to take on complex litigation’, housing a ‘team of specialist litigators’ who have experience in both trials and appeals, including appearing before the Supreme Court. Praised for running ‘a very efficient practice with a relatively low-cost structure, combined with a deep commitment to pro bono work’, the team's diverse caseload includes contentious tort and public law matters, as well as media and defamation disputes and IP litigation. ‘Excellent strategistMichael Heard is noted for his expertise in insolvency and maritime disputes, while ‘energetic and extremely knowledgeableTim Mullins handles commercial and regulatory litigation, as well as IP cases. Isaac Hikaka focuses on multi-jurisdictional trust disputes and Rachel Keane advises property investment companies on contentious rent reviews, while Daniel Nilsson is a ‘principal contact for defamation and privacy disputes’. David Bullock, who was promoted to partner in April 2022, focuses on commercial litigation.

Practice head(s):

Michael Heard; Tim Mullins; Isaac Hikaka; Rachel Keane; Daniel Nilsson; David Bullock

Other key lawyers:

Steven Ma Ching


‘LeeSalmonLong houses a team of specialist litigators. What sets them apart from other firms is that they have the capability and intellectual grunt to take on complex litigation.’

‘The quality of the work is outstanding. The careful thinking including out-of-the box strategies are also well above their competitors.’

‘Excellent people and personal skills.’

Key clients


Orbis Blockchain Technologies Ltd

Te Ipukarea Society

Kiwis Against Seabed Mining Inc/Greenpeace Aotearoa Inc


Counting major corporates, financial institutions and public sector entities among its key clients, MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ caseload regularly includes large-scale commercial litigation, ranging from regulatory investigations and insolvency to banking and finance, agriculture, energy and insurance-related disputes. In Auckland, Jane Standage, who ‘provides clear, pragmatic and strategic advice’ to clients in relation to investigations by regulators (including the Financial Markets Authority, Commerce Commission and Reserve Bank) jointly leads the practice alongside Wellington-based Richard Gordon, who has experience in banking and insolvency litigation. Also in Wellington, Stacey Shortall is noted for her expertise in handling the interplay between regulatory investigations, criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits, while Auckland-based Andrew Horne and Nick Frith specialise in insurance disputes. Other key members of the team include Sean Gollin, who operates from the firm’s Auckland office and has a broad civil and commercial litigation practice, and Wellington-based Briony Davies, who handles public law disputes. Oliver Skilton left the firm in April 2022 to join Mills Lane Chambers.

Practice head(s):

Richard Gordon; Jane Standage

Other key lawyers:

Stacey Shortall; Nick Frith; Andrew Horne; Sean Gollin; Briony Davies; Aaron Lloyd


‘Really strong dispute resolution team, demonstrating the same degree of pragmatism, commerciality and collaboration I have come to expect generally from MinterEllisonRuddWatts.’

‘Jane Standage provides clear, pragmatic and strategic advice, and is a trusted pair of hands for clients.’

Key clients

Bathurst Resources Limited

Synlait Milk Limited

Beach Energy

viagogo AG

New Zealand Earthquake Commission



Bank of New Zealand

Westpac New Zealand


Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of Bathurst Resources Limited and Buller Coal Limited befire the Supreme Court in a a $40m claim in a contractual interpretation case.
  • Acting for Synlait Milk Limited in a case before the Supreme Court, relating to new legislation in which old land covenants may be removed by the court.
  • Acting for Viagogo in High Court proceedings brought by the New Zealand Commerce Commission (NZCC) under the Fair Trading Act.

Simpson Grierson

Praised for its ‘strong technical ability and responsiveness’, Simpson Grierson has demonstrable experience across a wide variety of disputes, from public law, regulatory and competition proceedings to insurance, financial services and privacy-related cases, among others. Practice head Jania Baigent ‘achieves desired outcomes’ when advising on commercial litigation issues, namely contractual and tortious disputes, while Richard Lange acts for major corporates and local authorities, and has over 25 years of experience in civil litigation. Firm chair Anne Callinan handles contentious competition matters and investigations, while Wellington-based John Shackleton focuses on contractual cases and tortious claims. In the firm’s Christchurch office, insurance expert Helen Smith is another key name to note, along with Nina Blomfield, who advises on contentious financial market and company law matters, class actions and contractual disputes. All named partners are based in Auckland, unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Jania Baigent

Other key lawyers:

Richard Lange; John Shackleton; Anne Callinan; Helen Smith; Nina Blomfield


‘Savvy individuals, who are great to deal with and reach effective resolutions.’

‘Helen Smith litigates to a high level of expertise and seniority in the field. She is strong-willed and gives excellent advice on the best way forward.’

‘Key strength is the size and diverse skills of the team. This provides the client with a deep expert pool to call upon, even at short notice.’

Key clients

Financial Markets Authority

Malcolm Keefe and John Moore (former non-executive directors of ASX-listed Arowana International Limited)

Auckland Council

Auckland Transport

Westpac Banking Corporation / Westpac New Zealand Limited

Waikato District Health Board

The Catholic Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, in the Royal Commission in Abuse in Care

City Rail Link Limited

Watercare Services Limited

Marlborough Lines Limited

New Zealand Community Trust

Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group and Westland Milk

Energy Beverages LLC

Wellington City Council

Fidelity Life Assurance Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Financial Markets Authority in a large-scale enforcement action, involving two separate proceedings against former NZX listed CBL Corporation Limited (In Liquidation) and its directors and officer for breaches of initial public offering disclosure requirements and the continuous disclosure regime.
  • Acting for Auckland Council in an appeal to the Supreme Court in relation to precedent-setting judicial review proceedings brought by four large commercial accommodation owners and/or operators challenging the Council’s decision to introduce a targeted rate assessed on commercial accommodation providers.
  • Acting for the former non-executive directors of ASX-listed Arowana International Limited in defending a class action by investors in its subsidiary, former NZX-listed Intueri Education Group Limited, who allege breaches of financial markets obligations.

Anthony Harper

With offices in Auckland and Christchurch, Anthony Harper acts for domestic and national clients in commercial, construction and insurance litigation, and has demonstrable experience in health and safety disputes, which continues an area of growth for the practice. In the firm’s Auckland office, Dan Hughes leads the team and specialises in construction and insolvency cases in New Zealand, while Christchurch-based Peter Woods focuses on property claims for earthquake damage in Canterbury and Marlborough, in addition to representing clients in contractual, construction, defamation and insurance-related disputes. Other key members of the team include the Auckland-based Lynne Van, a specialist in insolvency litigation.

Practice head(s):

Dan Hughes

Other key lawyers:

Peter Woods; Lynne Van

Key clients

Auckland International Airport Ltd

Avior Consulting Pty Limited

Coca-Cola Amatil

First Credit Union

Fulton Hogan

Lyttelton Port Company Ltd


Mercedes-Benz New Zealand

PKF Corporate Recovery and Insolvency Limited

Rodgers Reidy

VinLink Marlborough Limited

Westpac New Zealand Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented Mr and Mrs Dodds in the appeal by Southern Response Earthquake Services Ltd (“SR”) against the High Court’s decision that SR had engaged in misrepresentation, misleading and deceptive conduct and breach of good faith.
  • Acting for the liquidators of CBL Insurance on a breach of directors’ duties claim following the collapse of the company.
  • Acting for an high-net-worth individual client  who is subjected to sanctions in Australia.

Buddle Findlay

Spread across the Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington offices, Buddle Findlay’s ‘dedicated’ team has a ‘strong capability’ in financial services and insolvency litigation, and counts class actions, as well as property, construction and climate change-related disputes, in its caseload. Scott Barker leads the national practice from the firm’s office in Wellington and focuses on commercial disputes, including insolvency, banking and property litigation, while Christchurch-based Willie Palmer has ‘considerable experience’ in commercial litigation, notably construction, insolvency and insurance-related cases, as well as arbitration and mediation. Other key members of the team include David Broadmore, who handles a wide range of contractual disputes and operates from the firm’s office in Auckland. Seb Bisley retired from partnership in June 2022 and joined Thorndon Chambers as a barrister, while Christchurch-based Olly Peers was promoted to partner in January 2022.

Practice head(s):

Scott Barker

Other key lawyers:

Willie Palmer; David Broadmore; Olly Peers; Kelly Paterson


‘Willie Palmer has considerable experience. He is very good at mentoring younger lawyers and building the team.’

‘The practice is unique in their genuine interest to get to know their clients and build long-term relationships with businesses.’

‘David Broadmore is the calm and safe pair of hands that I know I can trust. He is very clear and considered in his support and a trusted adviser.

Key clients

Southern Response Earthquake Services Limited

Bank of New Zealand

Zespri Group Limited

New Zealand Steel Limited

Department of Corrections

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

AgResearch Limited

Sky Television Ltd

In re Cryptopia Ltd

John McLaughlin / Trustees of Ashley Trust

Martin-Brower New Zealand

Work highlights

  • Acting for Southern Response in a class action proceeding brought by a group of insurance policyholders who settled their claims for damages caused by the Christchurch earthquakes, which went to the Supreme Court.
  • Acting for New Zealand Steel in defence of a claim seeking an injunction requiring New Zealand Steel (and other large New Zealand emitters of greenhouse gases) to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, which is currently before the Supreme Court.
  • Acting for the Department of Corrections in a $100m dispute regarding its modular prison build contract with Decmil Construction NZ Limited.

Dentons New Zealand

Dentons New Zealand’s national dispute resolution practice offers ‘constructive advice’ and ‘gets to the heart of the issue’ in disputes pertaining to government and regulatory cases, as well as infrastructure and commercial litigation. In the firm’s Wellington office, practice co-leader Hayden Wilson is noted for his expertise in public and administrative law litigation, and has demonstrable experience acting for various government agencies in New Zealand. The Wellington-based practice, which includes public law specialist Linda Clark, has a strong track record in media and defamation cases, in addition to ADR, with key clients including The New Zealand Medical Council and Engineering New Zealand. The Auckland office, which is led by David Campbell, handles infrastructure, corporate and commercial disputes, and houses James McMillan, who is a key contact for insolvency disputes, and senior associate Patrick Glennie, who ‘work diligently through all issues, providing clear and concise advice’.

Practice head(s):

David Campbell; Hayden Wilson

Other key lawyers:

Linda Clark; James McMillan; Patrick Glennie


‘A hardworking, friendly team that takes time to understand their clients’ issues. Offering constructive advice that gets to the heart of the issue.’

‘James McMillan and Patrick Glennie were great to work with. Easy to approach and work diligently through the issues providing clear and concise advice.’

‘Communication was very adequate and often with a pleasing personal touch.’

Key clients


Medical Council of New Zealand

Engineering New Zealand


Rachel McGregor


Calibre Partners

Sarsfield Engineering Limited

New Zealand Forest Owners Association

Work highlights

DLA Piper New Zealand

DLA Piper New Zealand is noted for its ‘in-depth knowledge’ in insurance litigation, and counts regulatory disputes, including contentious competition law and financial services matters, as well as public law and retail-related litigation, in its caseload. In the firm’s Auckland office, ‘standout litigatorIain Thain leads the team, and has demonstrable experience in competition and regulatory mandates, consumer law, property and insolvency cases. The practice, which is commended for its ‘well-coordinated pro bono litigation services’, includes Auckland-based Alicia Murray, who handles competition law and insolvency disputes. Emma Moran, who is frequently supported by solicitor Cameron McCracken, oversees the team in Wellington and resolves commercial disputes in the public law, construction, insurance and life sciences sectors.

Practice head(s):

Iain Thain

Other key lawyers:

Alicia Murray; Emma Moran; Cameron McCracken


‘DLA Piper has a very strong litigation practice in NZ. They have a good understanding of our business, which enables them to provide tailored commercial advice.’

‘Iain Thain, is a top-rate litigator in NZ and one of the best. Iain has a very strong and broad litigation practice and advises on all sorts of issues.’

‘Iain Thain is a standout litigator. Iain is an exceptional communicator and advocate in a court, mediation, arbitration or commercial dispute setting, and has excellent legal, strategic and analytical skills.’

‘The team has worked very well with external counsel to deliver well-coordinated pro bono litigation services.’

‘Iain Thain has the superlative ability to cut through the complexity of litigation issues to the principles at stake, and is able to create well-considered settlement opportunities that are both pragmatic and commercially reasonable.’

‘We have worked mostly with Emma Moran and Cameron McCracken. They are both very kind and easy to work with.’

‘Excellent dispute resolution judgement and strategy skills. In-depth knowledge of local government clients.’

‘Emma Moran stands out for her clear thinking and clear articulation of the issues, and an ability to cut through to the key points.’

Key clients

Harmoney Limited


LCM Operations Limited

FM Custodians/Trustees Executors

Apple Inc


Yashili New Zealand Dairy Co Ltd

Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association of New Zealand

Moet Hennessey

Cornwall Park Trust Board

Capital and Coast District Health Board

Make It 16 Inc

AIG Insurance



Lifetime Income Ltd


FoxPlan Lt

Work highlights

  • Acting for Apple, who have filed proceedings against TravelXplorer for revocation of a patent, and TravelXplorer has filed a counterclaim against Apple alleging Apple Pay infringes its patent.
  • Acting for Make It 16 Inc in an appeal challenging the current voting age as inconsistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.
  • Successfully acted for Foodstuffs in judicial review proceedings of a decision of the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority dismissing Foodstuffs’ appeals against elements of the Auckland Council’s provisional local alcohol policy.

Gilbert Walker

Boutique litigation firm Gilbert Walker counts major corporates, financial institutions and insurers among its client base, with a strong track record in commercial litigation and regulatory matters, in addition to public law cases. Based in Auckland, Matthew Harris, Iva Rosic and Martin Smith collectively lead the ‘agile and collaborative’ team. Praised as ‘highly intelligent and a strong advocate’, Harris’ practice includes commercial litigation, construction and property, insurance and professional liability disputes, while ‘leading light’ Rosic focuses on large-scale commercial disputes, regulatory investigations and insurance litigation. The ‘outstanding’ Smith is praised for being ‘ruthlessly efficient’ when advising on the full range of civil disputes. Senior associates Hamish McQueen and Zoe Brentnall are further key names to note.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Harris; Iva Rosic; Martin Smith

Other key lawyers:

Hamish McQueen; Zoe Brentnall


‘Martin Smith is outstanding. A pleasure to deal with, very responsive, commercial and ruthlessly efficient.’

‘Iva Rosic and Hamsih McQueen have provided valuable assistance in relation to a complex dispute.’

‘Agile and collaborative. Can quickly marshal resources to support urgent applications and every matter gets a high level of partner input and contribution. Talented team of associates too.’

Key clients

The former Directors of Feltex Carpets

ANZ Bank

Genesis Energy Ltd



SkyCity Entertainment Group

Vector Ltd

Jones Lang Lasalle

Kiwi Property

Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand

AFT Pharmaceuticals Limited


Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whāi Rāwa

Work highlights

  • Acting for PwC to defend High Court proceedings brought by the liquidators of CBL Insurance.
  • Acting for one of the defendants to a funded class action seeking compensation for New Zealand property owners and lease holders, who claim to have suffered loss in relation to the Alucobond PE and Alucobond Plus cladding products.
  • Acting for a defendant in the prosecution by the New Zealand health and safety regulator, WorkSafe, following the Whakaari White Island eruption in December 2019.

Russell McVeagh

Russell McVeagh’s ‘proactive’ team has demonstrable experience in large-scale class actions and contentious matters pertaining to construction projects, in addition to restructuring and insolvency litigation, regulatory investigations and ADR cases. In the firm’s Auckland office, Kirsten Massey chairs the practice and focuses on class actions, financial services litigation and professional negligence cases, while Marika Eastwick-Field is a key contact for insurance disputes. The Auckland office is also home to Polly Pope, who advises on class actions, construction and banking litigation, and senior litigator Malcolm Crotty. In Wellington, Chris Curran is noted for his expertise in public law and commercial disputes, judicial reviews and cases relating to IT projects, while ‘energetic and talentedNathaniel Walker focuses on contentious insurance matters.

Practice head(s):

Kirsten Massey

Other key lawyers:

Marika Eastwick-Field; Polly Pope; Malcolm Crotty; Chris Curran; Nathaniel Walker


‘The breadth and depth of experience in managing both the litigation process and the substantive legal issues arising, insightful updates and management of the process and client expectations. They have made the process as seamless as possible.’

‘Russell McVeagh has, in my experience, the highest quality litigation practice in New Zealand. Intellectually first-rate, highly committed and extremely easy to work with.’

‘Nathanial Walker is an energetic and talented litigation partner. Exemplifies all of the qualities I have come to expect from Russell McVeagh. Highly intelligent, user-friendly, highly committed and pragmatic.’

‘Nathanial Walker has outstanding legal knowledge and real talent for being able to translate that into readily understandable advice for the commercial team.’

‘Russell McVeagh have been nothing short of excellent in providing clear-eyed advice as to how to resolve disputes while maintaining relationships. This is invaluable.’

‘A smart, proactive team that is great at looking around the corners, distilling and anticipating the counter-party’s arguments. A strong understanding of our business and what we are seeking to achieve.’

Key clients

Omni Bridgeway

ASB Bank Limited

Credit Suisse

Woolworths Group

AIA International


Spark New Zealand Trading Limited

The Earthquake Commission

Westpac Banking Corporation

TSB Bank

Work highlights

  • Representing ASB Bank in a proposed class action relating to its retail lending business.
  • Assisting Omni Bridgeway in a class action on behalf of building owners against manufacturers and distributors of combustible cladding.
  • Representing AIA in proceedings brought by the Financial Markets Authority for alleged breaches of the “fair dealing” provisions in the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013.

Wilson Harle

Working with a number of clients active across the insurance, financial services, telecoms and construction sectors, Auckland-based specialist firm Wilson Harle is noted for its capabilities in commercial, regulatory and public law litigation, handling trusts, defamation and media disputes. Chris Browne is widely recognised for his broad commercial litigation and public law practice, appearing at all levels of court, while Allison Ferguson handles commercial disputes arising from directors’ obligations, telecoms and regulatory matters. Other figures to note include Ian Denton, a key contact for contractual, tort and competition-related disputes; Felicity Monteiro, who specialises in shipping cases; and Guy Tompkins, who handles insurance disputes and regulatory investigations. All named partners collectively lead the practice.

Practice head(s):

Chris Browne; Allison Ferguson; Ian Denton; Felicity Monteiro; Guy Tompkins


‘The firm has a strong team of dispute resolution lawyers, who are well-qualified to provide advice and representation for commercial clients. Their work is of high-quality.’

‘Felicity Monteiro is a very thorough and able lawyer. Chris Browne, Allison Ferguson, and Ian Denton are all very skilled and experienced commercial litigators.’

‘Very organised and methodical in developing the background information required to understand the dispute and therefore able to quickly develop a strong understanding of the critical issues in the dispute.’

Key clients

New Zealand Retail Property Group Limited

Living Streets Aotearoa

Vodafone New Zealand Limited

C&R Construction Limited

Former directors of Intueri Education Group

Sequiter Hotels Pty Limited

Public Trust

Ecomi Technology PTE Limited

Napier City Council

Work highlights

  • Represented the NZRPG group of companies, as plaintiffs, at the 8-week trial of a significant claim against Auckland Council and Auckland Transport for contractual breaches relating to the parties’ joint project to design and construct Westgate Town Centre.
  • Acting for the body corporate of a tower apartment in a dispute with its former lawyers, relating to advice and legal services provided as to the distribution of proceeds of ‘leaky building’ litigation previously conducted against various defendants, including the local council.
  • Acting for a pedestrian advocacy group in a judicial review challenge brought against the central government transport agency and Auckland Council, in respect of public decisions granting licenses to 3 international e-scooter companies to operate on the streets of Auckland.

Duncan Cotterill

With offices in Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Queenstown, Duncan Cotterill is well-placed to advise both domestic and international clients, and is noted for its strong track record in insurance-related disputes. The practice also continues to consolidate its capability in handling litigious regulatory matters, including health and safety issues, as well as trusts disputes and insolvency litigation. In Wellington, Jonathan Scragg represents clients in commercial, insurance and public law-related disputes, while jointly leading the team alongside Christchurch-based Ayleath Foote, who has acted on many high value claims for insurers and trustees. Other key members of the practice include Rob Coltman and Brian Nathan, who operates from the firm’s offices in Auckland and Nelson respectively.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Scragg; Ayleath Foote

Other key lawyers:

Rob Coltman; Brian Nathan; Olivia Lund


‘A strong litigation team that provides timely and on-point advice. They provide pragmatic advice that takes into account practical needs as well as being legally sound.’

‘Trustworthy, highly knowledgeable, technically competent, pragmatic, and solution focussed. Very responsive to any concerns you might have, and a very good one-stop shop.’

‘Jonathan Scragg is strategic and reliable.’

Key clients

IAG Insurance

NZI Liability


AIG Insurance

Tower Insurance

PGG Wrightson

Partners Life

Nelson Marlborough District Health Board

QBE Insurance

New Zealand Nurses Organisation

ISO Limited

Kordia Group Limited

Wellington City Council

Vero Liability

Radio New Zealand

FMG Insurance


Work highlights

  • Advised Kordia Group Limited on a High Court hearing brought by the Commerce Commission to determine whether our client fell under legislation and therefore was subject to a fee.
  • Completed the lengthy litigation over distribution of trusts.
  • Defended a charge against ISO Limited alleging a breach of duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

Fee Langstone

Noted for its strong capability in insurance litigation, Fee Langstone’s practice, which is primarily based in the firm’s Auckland office, ‘provides excellent technical advice, while retaining a pragmatic and commercial approach’, and counts disciplinary complaints, regulatory investigations and class actions in its caseload. Phillipa Fee is a ‘leading figure in the insurance space’ who jointly leads the practice alongside ‘commercially-minded litigatorRussell Stewart, who acts for solicitors and barristers, chartered accountants and auditors in disciplinary proceedings. Craig Langstone covers a broad range of disputes, from public liability, professional indemnity and D&O to property and cyber insurance cases, while ‘meticulousPauline Davies is a key contact for litigious maritime and aviation matters.

Practice head(s):

Philippa Fee; Russell Stewart

Other key lawyers:

Pauline Davies; Craig Langstone; Matthew Atkinson; Virginia Wethey


‘Very experienced, knowledgeable and an approachable team.’

‘Philippa Fee is a leading figure in the insurance space, knowledgeable and very experienced. Able to explain and condense complex and technical information clearly and concisely.’

‘The team at Fee Langstone are highly experienced and provide great quality legal and strategic advice across a wide range of disputes. They provide excellent technical advice, while retaining a pragmatic and commercial approach. Without exception, the team is friendly and personable to deal with.’

‘FL strikes a balance between excellent service without overcooking it.’

‘Russell Stewart is an extremely hard-working, commercially-minded litigator. He strikes the right balance between excellent client service without overworking legal problems. Excellent communicator and client-focused.’

‘Solid grasp of NZ admiralty law.’

‘Pauline Davies is meticulous and considers issues from all possible angles. Her advice is always succinct without sacrificing clarity.’

‘Fee Langstone has a strong team with very smart lawyers, who provide sound advice, especially in the insurance area.’

Key clients

Crombie Lockwood


Frank’s International

Kelly Flavell Law

KPMG Ireland

KPMG New Zealand

Lloyds of London (various syndicates)

NCI Commercial Collections

NTI Limited


QBE European Operations

QBE Insurance (Australia) Ltd

NZI & NZI Marine

Vero Insurance (Suncorp)

Zurich New Zealand

Work highlights

  • Acting for Ernst & Young in relation to High Court proceedings brought by Fuji Xerox NZ and related entities against its former auditor, EY, two former directors and the former CFO arising out of alleged inappropriate accounting practices.
  • Acting for QBE Insurance (Australia) Ltd in respect of a claim brought by Body Corporate 423090 following earthquake damage sustained to the Body Corp’s building in Christchurch known as Pacific Tower.
  • Acting for Protect Mataharehare in its opposition to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage plan to construct a large National Erebus Memorial in Dove-Myer Robinson Park, Parnell, Auckland, on an ancient Māori pā site – the Mataharehare pā.

Hesketh Henry

The ‘commercially-focused, knowledgeable and tireless litigation team’ at Auckland-based firm Hesketh Henry focuses on contentious matters arising out of the construction, insurance, trade and transport, trusts and employment sectors. Christina Bryant has experience in construction and property disputes, with a focus on civil claims and regulatory investigations, while Nick Gillies acts for some of New Zealand’s largest civil and vertical contractors and specialist subcontractors. ‘TenaciousHelen Macfarlane is another key contact for contentious construction matters, as well as insurance disputes. Glen Holm-Hansen, who focuses on construction and insolvency litigation, jointly leads the practice alongside employment expert Alison Maelzer.

Practice head(s):

Glen Holm-Hansen; Alison Maelzer

Other key lawyers:

Christina Bryant; Nick Gillies; Helen Macfarlane


‘Commercially-focused, knowledgeable and tireless litigation team’

‘Helen McFarlane is tenacious, thorough and exceptionally knowledgeable with a genuine commercial focus. Glen Holm-Hansen is tireless, thorough, knowledgeable with a strong commercial focus.’

‘Nick Gillies provides practical advice on how to avoid or settle disputes, as well as on how to defend or pursue claims.

‘Christina Bryant is amazing. Her knowledge is extensive and if something needed to be done, she worked whatever hours were needed.’

Key clients

Vero Insurance New Zealand Ltd

Juken New Zealand Limited

Fulton Hogan Ltd

Charterers P&I Club

Form Building & Developments Ltd

The General Trust Board of the Diocese of Auckland

Russell Group (including Dominion Constructors Ltd)

Savvy Vineyards Group

McConnell Dowell Constructors Ltd

Lane Neave

One client praises Lane Neave as ‘an absolute go-to firm for litigation and insolvency advice in the South Island, no matter how large or complex the case is’. In the firm’s Christchurch office, ‘outstanding lawyer and court advocateBen Russell, who leads the team, advises clients on a range of commercial issues, from contentious contract and property matters to trusts, insurance, insolvency and shareholder disputes. The Christchurch office is also home to Rebecca Scott, an ‘impressive talent on the rise’ who has experience in litigation concerning electricity and agribusiness issues, as well as consultant Simon Clay. In Auckland, special counsel Hayley McKee joined the team from Meredith Connell in September 2021.

Practice head(s):

Ben Russell

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Scott; Simon Clay; Hayley McKee; Mike King


‘Rebecca Scott is smart, strategic, pragmatic, tough, but very personable with clients. She is an impressive talent on the rise.’

‘A strong South Island practice. An absolute go-to firm for litigation and insolvency advice in the South Island, no matter how large or complex the case is.’

‘Ben Russell is really coming into his stride, leading a strong litigation team.’

‘The Lane Neave dispute resolution team are technically excellent, but what marks them out is their absolute focus on achieving their client’s preferred outcome, whether that be a “principled” outcome or a commercially pragmatic one’

‘They have an excellent team, a good depth of knowledge and smart tools to isolate core information. Delivery of solutions is well-documented, strategy well-thought and results celebrated.’

‘Most of my dealings are with Ben Russell, who is an outstanding lawyer and court advocate.’

‘Smart, well-educated and very approachable.’

‘Ben Russell was excellent to deal with, personable, accommodating and thoroughly across the issues and invested in the case.’

Key clients

PricewaterhouseCoopers (Christchurch)

Ernst & Young Ltd

Grantleigh Farm Limited

Westland District Council

Wellington International Airport Limited

North Ridge Living No. 3 Limited

Trustees Executors Limited

Bathurst Resources Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented the liquidators of Chesterfields Preschools Limited, PricewaterhouseCoopers, in litigation involving the company’s director and the company’s creditor, the Inland Revenue Department.
  • Represented the liquidator of Rilean Construction (Central Otago) Limited and sought directions from the High Court, to be appointed receiver of a subcontractor retentions fund held by Rilean.
  • Successfully represented the Mayor and CEO of Westland District Council in a defamation claim against two individual defendants in the High Court.

Lindsay & Francis

Founded by experienced trial lawyer Timothy Lindsay and Kim Francis, Auckland-based boutique litigation firm Lindsay & Francis has demonstrable capability in corporate and securities litigation, regulatory disputes and international arbitration. Lindsay has experience across a broad range of disputes, including corporate and shareholder litigation, M&A and post-acquisition disputes, foreign investment cases and regulatory defences, among others. ‘Trustworthy and unflappable’ Francis is noted for his expertise in insolvency-related claims and cases against directors and auditors. Senior associate Thomas Westaway is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Timothy Lindsay; Kim Francis

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Westaway


‘They offer customised, in-person, virtual and hybrid dispute resolution services through a combination of first class client service, the latest technology, top-notch facilities, and highly trained mediators and arbitrators.’

‘Kim Francis has decades of proven ability in commercial and civil litigation, business and strategic advice, government and administrative law practice.’

‘Skilled litigators and excellent negotiators. Detailed understanding and completely trustworthy.’

Key clients

Bunnings Limited

Green & McCahill Holdings Limited (GMHL)

Chair and former directors of CBL Corporation Limited

Creditors of Tamarind Taranaki Limited

Fuji Xerox NZ

PBL Solutions Limited

RESIL Investments

AC3 / Bulletproof Group Limited

Healthy Breath Limited

Robert Jones Holdings Limited

Les Mills International

Work highlights

  • Defending Bunnings against a prosecution by New Zealand’s competition and consumer protection regulator, the New Zealand Commerce Commission, alleging breaches of consumer protection laws relating to Bunnings’ advertising.
  • Acting for Fuji Xerox NZ (alongside Meredith Connell) in claims against its auditors and three former senior executives, concerning accounting irregularities amounting to over $35om.
  • Acting for RESIL Investments in the first ever shareholder objection to a company takeover by way of scheme of arrangement, in relation to the $1.2bn takeover of listed retirement home operator Metlifecare Limited by Swedish private equity fund EQT.

Tompkins Wake

Tompkins Wake’s ‘straightforward, hard-working and efficient’ litigation team primarily operates from the firm’s Hamilton office, acting for national clients in disputes relating to dairy industry regulation, insurance, property, aviation and agribusiness issues, among others. The practice also advises local government entities, including Hamilton City Council and South Waikato District Council, on a broad range of contentious issues, from commercial and property disputes to judicial reviews and electoral matters. Praised for his ‘sharp mind and excellent strategic thinking’, the team is headed up by James MacGillivray. Kate Cornegé, experienced in dairy, energy and telecoms-related disputes, is a further key member of the team. The Auckland-based Chen Jiang joined the practice from Glaister Ennor in October 2021.

Practice head(s):

James MacGillivray

Other key lawyers:

Kate Cornegé; Chen Jiang; Fraser Wood; Zandra Wackenier; Stephanie Ambler


‘Straightforward, hard-working and efficient. They have real strength in litigation and a collaborative approach.’

‘James MacGillivray is an outstanding litigator. A sharp mind and excellent strategic thinker.’

‘James MacGillivray is very hands-on, responsive and experienced.’

Key clients

IBC Japan Limited

Hamilton City Council

South Waikato District Council

University of Waikato

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented IBC Japan Limited in a NZD$38m claim across nine separate proceedings.
  • Defended Hamilton City Council in the Environment Court against objections under the Public Works Act relating to the acquisition of land.
  • Defended University of Waikato in judicial review proceedings brought by an aggrieved Masters student.