Class actions

Class action proceedings are a relatively new feature on the New Zealand legal landscape and have the potential to expose companies, directors, executives and even advisers to new types of litigation and risk.

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​​​​​​​​​Bell Gully has extensive experience acting in class action proceedings and several of our partners are recognised as pioneers in this growing field. For example, we acted for the defendant directors of Feltex Carpets in the only securities class action to have gone to trial in both New Zealand and Australia. The Feltex proceeding was also the first class action filed in New Zealand that was funded by a third party litigation funder. Our team was involved from the time the case was filed in 2008, right throughout the six years of procedural disputes that followed and the trial (which was successful for the defendants in all respects). 

We are also acting in two other significant class actions currently before the New Zealand courts: the claim by customers of all of the major trading banks that they have paid too much in fees; and the claim against Southern Response Earthquake Services brought by earthquake affected Canterbury homeowners.

Our team is adept at navigating the complexity of the procedural issues raised by class actions both in relation to the funding arrangements that are invariably put in place and in issues arising from the make up of a class. Combined with the firm's overall strength in commercial litigation we are uniquely placed to assist clients in developing strategies for handling class action proceedings.

View our class actions video​ below. 

Bell Gully partners Jenny Stevens​​ and S​oph​ie East discuss class actions in New Zealand and offer tips to businesses concerned about the potential for such action​s.

Southern Response Earthquake Services class action
Successfully represented Southern Response in opposing an application by insureds for High Court approval to proceed as a representative class action. The customers alleged that Southern Response misrepresented its obligations under insurance policies, unreasonably delayed in processing and settling claims, and understated the true costs of rebuilds and repairs. ​

Defence of prospectus liability claim
Acted for the former directors of Feltex Carpets in the successful defence of a class action brought by a group of investors. This was the largest prospectus liability claim ever brought in New Zealand and resulted in a three month trial in the High Court from March to June 2014. The directors were successful on all issues. The case is under appeal.

Bank fees proceedings
Acting for ANZ in defence of class action proceedings brought by customers over the ​charging of certain account and credit card fees.

Provenco Cadmus employees' class action
Acted for the receivers of the Provenco Cadmus group of companies in defence of a class action claim brought by former employees alleging joint employment. The receivers were successful in both the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment Court and the employees' claims were dismissed.

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  • Jenny Stevens

    Partner Wellington
  • Sophie East

    Partner Auckland
  • David Friar

    Partner Auckland