Litigation and dispute resolution

Our Litigation and Dispute Resolution team has achieved unparalleled success, and we are the leading firm in New Zealand.

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​​​​​​​​​Our team continues to advise on the most significant, complex, high-profile cases in the country.​

Our notable cases include successfully acting for Danone against Fonterra in relation to the whey protein concentrate contamination crisis – the most economically important recent case in New Zealand. We acted for the voluntary administrators of CBL in a test case on the application of market disclosure rules to a listed issuer in voluntary administration. We successfully represented PepsiCo and Frucor Beverages against intellectual property claims.

We also act on the leading class action cases, including for Southern Response and the directors of Feltex Carpets.​​

We approach each client's case with their commercial objectives in mind, and utilise the best dispute resolution technique to meet those objectives - whether through formal litigation, mediation, negotiation or other dispute resolution techniques. We work hard to identify key issues early, assess the strengths of our client's position, and determine the best overall strategy.

We are experienced in advising offshore clients and law firms from Australia and around the world requiring advice in ​New Zealand.

Our team is experienced in dealing with complex and contentious commercial disputes in areas including:

Recognition of our litigation and dispute resolution expertise

The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020 - Tier 1

​Chambers Asia Pacific 2020 - Band 1​​

Danone dispute with Fonterra
Acting for Danone on all issues arising from the Fonterra whey protein concentrate contamination crisis arising from a false positive test result suggesting the presence of Clostridium Botulinum in Danone’s infant formula products.

Bank fees litigation
Acting for ANZ in defence of class action proceedings brought by plaintiffs who represent approximately 17,000 ANZ customers. This case is novel in that it involves a litigation funder and is a representative proceeding.

Ross Asset Management litigation
Acting for PwC who were appointed receivers of the Ross Asset Management group of companies, and Mr Ross personally, by the Court on application by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). The company appears to be the largest ponzi scheme in New Zealand history. Investors face a theoretical shortfall of over NZ$400 million.​

Defence of prospectus liability claim
Acted for the former directors of Feltex Carpets in the defence of a class action brought by a group of investors. This was the largest prospectus liability claim ever brought in New Zealand.​

Kawarau Falls Station litigation
Acted for BDO, the receivers of Melview (Kawarau Falls Station) Investments (In Receivership). The dispute related to the Kawarau Falls Station, three-stage development in Queenstown that was intended to be resort village.

Relativity litigation
Acting for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu on the obligations arising under the relativity mechanism provisions which are contained in their 1997 Deed of Settlement with the Crown.

Pernod Ricard warranty dispute with Lion
Acted for Pernod Ricard on disputes arising from the 2010 sale of a number of Pernod Ricard’s wine related assets (including the popular Lindauer and Corbans brands) to Lion. The High Court ruled in Pernod Ricard’s favour on all of the claims in dispute, including requiring Lion to reimburse Pernod Ricard NZ$14 million in respect of excise incurred on the supply of stock under the deal, and dismissing Lion’s counterclaims for breach of warranty. Lion unsuccessfully appealed.

Pepsi, Frucor, ​Coca-Cola litigation
Successfully defended PepsiCo and Frucor Beverages against claims by Coca-Cola that they had infringed Coca-Cola’s intellectual property rights. Trade mark infringement, passing off and breaches of the Fair Trading Act were alleged.

OPI Pacific Finance (In Receivership) litigation
Acted for PwC as receiver of OPI Pacific Finance, against its former auditors. The claim raised complex issues relating to auditors' liability for corporate failure, their duties in relation to issuers of securities, and causation.

ECAN Bus Services litigation
Acted for Environment Canterbury in defence of proceedings brought by a company which had unsuccessfully tendered to provide bus services in Canterbury. The causes of action were in economic tort. The case would have been the first significant New Zealand case on the use of economic torts in a contractual setting.

Price fixing defence
Acted for both Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines (separately) in High Court proceedings brought by the Commerce Commission under the Commerce Act seeking pecuniary penalties for alleged cartel conduct in the air cargo sector.

PHARMAC Judicial Review proceedings by AstraZeneca
Acted for PHARMAC in successful judicial review proceedings issued by AstraZeneca challenging a number of decisions made by PHARMAC regarding funding of treatments for asthma.

Finance Companies including Bridgecorp Limited (In Receivership) and Nathans Finance NZ Limited (In Receivership)
Acted for the receivers of a number of finance companies on litigation matters, including bringing recovery claims against directors of Bridgecorp and against the directors and auditors of Nathans Finance.

Insurance Brokers Association of New Zealand (IBANZ) and the New Zealand Fire Service Commission
Acted for IBANZ in successful proceedings for declaratory judgments regarding the interpretation and application of the levy provisions of the Fire Service Act 1975 to two classes of material damage contracts of insurance.

Commerce Commission credit card investigation
Advised ANZ National Bank in proceedings brought by the Commerce Commission under the Commerce Act against all the major banks, Visa and Mastercard concerning price fixing of multilateral interchange fees. A settlement was reached.​

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  • Jenny Stevens

    Partner Wellington
  • David Friar

    Partner Auckland