If you've got a difficult dispute, we have a track record of producing top outcomes for our clients.
Our skills lie in doing the hard stuff (i.e. highly technical disputes and those with accounting and valuation issues) and we have a proven track record of settling disputes in a cost-effective, timely, commercially acceptable manner.
Although we favour mediation and other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques, we understand that not all disputes can be resolved using ADR and we often take cases to court.
Examples of Recent Dispute Resolution Work
In recent times our dispute resolution team has:
Resolved by direct negotiation two substantial shareholder oppression claims under section 174 of the Companies Act 1993;
Resolved by direct negotiation and mediation several “leaky school” claims involving multi-million dollar settlements;
Acted both for claimants and respondents in a number of disputes involving deceased estates, including dealing with claims under the Family Protection Act and under the Testamentary Promises Act;
Resolved by direct negotiation and mediation disputes over relationship property and family disputes involving complex corporate and trust structures, including claims under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 and the Family Proceedings Act 1980;
Resolved at mediation a dispute about compensation under the Public Works Act for a business displaced from leased premises;
Acted in a number of contractual and quasi-contractual disputes, including:
(a) Issues arising from leases of commercial property and farm land;
(b) A quantum meruit claim arising out of a de-facto relationship;
(c) Issues arising from franchise relationships, including advising on exit strategies and on enforceability of restraints of trade;
(d) Bringing and defending claims under guarantees;
(e) Disputes under construction contracts;
(f) Payment and other claims under the Construction Contracts Act 2002;
(g) Resolving by direct negotiation disputes between a property developer and consulting and civil engineers;
(h) Successfully applying for interim injunctions, including an injunction to prevent a bank from completing a mortgagee sale of a property and an injunction to prevent a sale of management rights pending a trial over ownership;
Resolved at mediation a complex dispute involving ownership of engineering designs and claims for damages;
In an insolvency context:
(a) Advised receivers and liquidators in numerous matters including in respect of security priority issues under the PPSA in relation to admission or rejection of complex, unliquidated claims by creditors;
(b) Acted for liquidators in claims against directors for breaches of duties, to recover debts owed on current account and against related parties in respect of under-value transactions;
(c) Acted for liquidators in applications to fix their remuneration and approve distribution plans and in an application to fix the remuneration of a court-appointed administrator;
(d) Acted for former investors in Ross Asset Management to negotiate settlement with its liquidators;
(e) Acted for trustees of a trust associated with a former bankrupt to negotiate a settlement with the Official Assignee;
(f) Acted for a secured party to settle a complex matter involving multiple claims to a fund held by liquidators of an insolvent company;
(g) Advised a substantial creditor in relation to possible claims against liquidators and others;
(h) Advised insolvent persons and provisional trustees in relation to compromises under the Insolvency Act;
(i) Successfully defended a former receiver against legal aid proceedings brought by shareholders of the company to the point where the plaintiffs unconditionally discontinued their claims.
Reported Cases in which we have appeared as counsel
This is a list of reported judgments. It does not include the many unreported cases we have been involved in. It does not include the many cases we have handled which have been settled at mediation or by direct negotiation. We estimate that we settle roughly 80% of the disputes we handle for clients.
Dempsey v Howe (2015) 16 NZCPR 203 (CA)
Substantially successful in opposing an appeal against the amount of damages.
Howe v Dempsey (2013) 15 NZCPR 682
Obtained damages for the vendors of a property from a defaulting purchaser. The Court accepted that, although the purchase never settled, delay damages could be assessed using the contractual late settlement interest rate.
NZ Refrigerated Food Distributors v Donley & Ors (2009) 10 NZCLC 263,626
Successfully opposed a summary judgment application against a property-owning company
Tapp v Galway (2007) 8 NZCPR 684
Successfully opposed a claim for specific performance of a sale and purchase agreement relating to property.
Dunphy v Sleepyhead Manufacturing Co Limited  3 NZLR 602 (CA)
The leading New Zealand case on the status of liquidators.
Hedley v Albany Power Centre Limited (in liquidation) (2006) 2 NZCCLR 1184
An application for directions against liquidators.
King Robb Limited (in liquidation) Sleepyhead Manufacturing Co Limited v Dunphy (2006) 2 NZCCLR 959
A case involving enforceability of security agreements and the status of liquidators.
Trans Otway Limited v Shephard  2 NZLR 289 (SC)
This Supreme Court judgment is the leading New Zealand case on the relationship between insolvent transactions and insolvency set-off under the Companies Act 1993. We represented the successful liquidators.
Trans Otway Limited v Shephard  3 NZLR 678 (CA)
An insolvent transactions case under the Companies Act 1993. We represented the successful liquidators.