Gilbert Walker > Auckland, New Zealand > Firm Profile

Gilbert Walker
New Zealand

New Zealand > Dispute resolution Tier 2

Distinguished as ‘one of the best boutique litigation firms in the countryGilbert Walker is led by three partners; Matthew Harris, Iva Rosic and Martin Smith, who have an extensive combined commercial and regulatory background, coupled with a significant public interest practice. Harris successfully appeared for the former directors of Feltex Carpets in the liability and loss phase of the case, as part of a $200m class action brought on behalf of more than 3,600 shareholder claimants arising from the Feltex IPO in 2004. Rosic ‘is incredibly smart, professional and widely recognised as one of, if not the, best younger litigation partners in NZ‘; she specialised in large scale commercial disputes and insurance claims. ‘Efficient, strategic and commercial‘ Smith and senior associate Hamish McQueen are also noted.

Other key lawyers:


‘Gilbert Walker is in my view New Zealand’s premier litigation firm. The firm staffs each matter with a small team led by one of its three highly capable partners. There is high degree of partner engagement with the matter. The firm has particular strengths in contractual disputes, banking and insurance.’

‘Gilbert Walker has am amazing combination of partners and other lawyers. The three partners bring quite different but complementary strengths – and unlike big firms expect their non-partners to play a significant role in terms of speaking up in meetings, mediations and in Court.’

‘One of the best boutique litigation firms in the country.’

‘Martin Smith is excellent: efficient, strategic, commercial, and very easy to deal with.’

‘Iva Rosic is widely recognised as one of, if not the, best younger litigation partner(s) in NZ. Clients and her juniors love her equally. She is incredibly smart, professional, tough yet charming.’

‘I have worked closely with the three partners, Matthew Harris, Martin Smith and Iva Rosic. They are all highly capable. Matthew Harris is the most experienced courtroom advocate of the three and I regard him as the best commercial litigator practising in any firm in New Zealand.’

‘Iva Rosic and Hamish McQueen make a great team and provide great strategic insights.’

Key clients

The former Directors of Feltex Carpets

ANZ Bank



Skycity Entertainment Group

Vector Ltd

The Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Incorporated

Work highlights

  • Acting for ANZ Bank, New Zealand’s largest financial institution, in defending a class action brought by 550 investors in Ross Asset Management Ltd, a financial advisor that was revealed to have been running New Zealand’s largest Ponzi scheme, seeking damages of approximately NZ$80m.
  • Acting for Volcanic Air Safari Ltd, a helicopter tour operator, in defending criminal charges laid by New Zealand’s health and safety regulator, WorkSafe, following a volcanic eruption that killed 22 people and injured others.
  • Acted for The Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society of New Zealand in a successful appeal to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in relation to the interpretation of the legislative provisions governing a proposal to establish an opencast coal mine on West Coast reserve land.

New Zealand > Insurance Tier 2

Gilbert Walker‘s ‘greatest strength is the uniformly high quality of its partners’; Matthew Harris, Iva Rosic and Martin Smith who are leading advocates in complex disputed insurance matters, representing domestic insurers such as Vero Liability, Tower Insurance, IAG and Aon in the High Court and Court of Appeal. Indemnity and liability disputes, property damages and earthquake-related claims make up the bulk of instructions.


‘All three partners at Gilbert Walker are experienced insurance litigators. Matthew Harris stands out for his trial experience in insurance matters.’

‘Gilbert Walker’s greatest strength is the uniformly high quality of its partners, over the years and with the three current partners.’

‘Excellent firm. Strengths are in grasping the problem areas quickly, thinking outside the square and outstanding drafting skills.’

Key clients

Vero Liability

Tower Insurance




Work highlights

  • Advised major corporates, including listed issuers, and a major insurance broker on the response of their policy wordings to business interruption losses arising out of the Covid- 19 pandemic.
  • Engaged by the liability insurer of Tauranga City Council to advice the insurer and negotiate with its insured on the indemnified portion of a building defects claim exceeding $90m.
  • Continue to act for Tower Insurance in defending High Court and Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal proceedings brought against it by policy holders arising out of the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

The firm: Gilbert Walker is a specialist advisory and dispute resolution practice with extensive experience as advisors and advocates in complex litigation and regulatory matters. Led by partners Matthew Harris, Iva Rosic and Martin Smith. Clients include major corporates, financial institutions, insurers and professional firms.  Innovative and agile, the firm has the ability to handle disputes of any size, including large-scale, document-intensive litigation and investigations, while their lean structure ensures that clients benefit from the central involvement of partners in their matters.

Gilbert Walker was awarded Litigation and Dispute Resolution Specialist Law Firm of the Year at the 2019, 2020 and 2021 New Zealand Law Awards.

Areas of practice: Gilbert Walker provides advisory and advocacy services across a range of civil and commercial disputes. The partners have particular expertise in company and commercial matters, regulatory investigations and inquiries, insurance, professional and directors’ liability, construction and trade practices, property and leasing, class actions, trust litigation, and health and safety investigations and prosecutions. Established clients include banks, major corporates, insurers, professional firms, and company directors and officers. The firm is trusted to handle sensitive matters that need to be resolved proactively and confidentially.

Gilbert Walker acts in all local dispute resolution forums, including negotiation, mediation, expert determination, arbitration and litigation. The firm’s partners appear at all levels of the New Zealand courts, typically conducting their own advocacy but also working closely with senior counsel where appropriate.

Partner Matthew Harrismatthew.harris@gilbertwalker.com64 9 374 1104
Partner Iva Rosiciva.rosic@gilbertwalker.com64 9 374 1101
Partner Martin Smithmartin.smith@gilbertwalker.com64 9 374 1109
Matthew Harris photoMr Matthew HarrisPartner. Matthew provides advice and advocacy across most areas of commercial law,…
Iva Rosic photoMs Iva RosicPartner. Iva specialises in commercial litigation and has particular expertise in large-scale…
Martin Smith photoMr Martin SmithPartner. Martin advises and acts on a broad range of commercial and…
Number of lawyers : 9