Regulatory investigations and prosecutions

Bell Gully has unmatched experience and skills to help our clients respond to regulatory action, resolve issues promptly, and defend court action through to trial.

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​​​​​​We know the regulators well, and they know us. They know we are willing to work constructively with them to resolve issues when possible, but also that we will be fully prepared to defend court action if necessary.

Our team understands that responding to a regulatory investigation or court proceeding requires a different approach from normal civil litigation. We work with our clients to develop a strategy suited to the particular regulator and to the client's particular situation. We have the expertise and judgement to advise which matters should be resolved out of court and which should be fought and won.

A regulatory investigation or court action often raises challenges beyond simply dealing with the regulator. They can include public relations, insurance and employment issues, financial reporting and market disclosure, and the increasing risk of follow-on civil and class actions.

Our experience allows us to anticipate at the outset the issues likely to arise and to work with our clients and their other advisers to develop a co-ordinated strategy to achieve a successful outcome on all fronts.

Bell Gully has acted in many leading cases brought by regulators and we have particular experience acting in the defence of alleged cartels at both the investigation stage and in court proceedings.

Representing companies, directors and other individuals in investigations carried out by all the key New Zealand regulators. We advise on every step in the process, from how best to respond to a simple request for information through to a full scale investigation. In many cases we have been able to convince regulators that proceedings are not warranted and matters have been closed without further action being taken. In other cases, we have helped our clients to negotiate settlements out of court.

Our work has involved investigations and inquiries carried out by the Financial Markets Authority (and its predecessor, the Securities Commission), the New Zealand Commerce Commission, NZX, the Overseas Investment Office, the Serious Fraud Office and industry specific regulators such as the Electricity Authority and Gas Industry Company.  We have acted for companies and individuals appearing before the Takeovers Panel.

Litigation and trials

Feltex directors
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.

Carter Holt Harvey
Acted for Carter Holt Harvey in defending proceedings brought by the Commerce Commission for alleged breaches of the Fair Trading Act in the supply of timber products.

Defending and successfully settling High Court proceedings brought by the Commerce Commission under the CCCFA alleging unlawful credit fees.

Bank credit card fee prosecution
Acted for a major bank in a prosecution by the Commerce Commission under the Fair Trading Act on the disclosure of credit card fees on international​ purchases and an associated High Court civil claim for compensation.

Tranz Rail insider trading
Acted for Midavia Rail and David Richwhite in proceedings brought by the Securities Commission alleging breaches of the insider trading rules ​on the sale of shares in Tranz Rail.

Acted for Nuplex Industries defending civil proceedings brought by the Securities Commission alleging breach of the continuous disclosure rules.

Cartel and price-fixing cases

Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines Cargo
Acted for both these 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.

Osmose New Zealand and Australia
Advised the multinational wood preservative company in a long-running Commerce Commission investigation and court proceedings seeking penalties under the Commerce Act against a number of corporate and individual defendants.

Bank credit card price fixing
Advising and representing a major bank in proceedings bought by the Commerce Commission against all the major banks, Visa and MasterCard concerning alleged price-fixing of multilateral interchange fees and an associated civil damages proceeding brought by affected retailers.

Leniency applicants
Acted for clients who have applied for and obtained leniency for cartel conduct before the Commerce Commission.

Investigations by professional bodies
Represented clients in investigations carried out by professional bodies including the Law Society and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand compliance programmes and internal investigations.​

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  • Jenny Stevens

    Partner Wellington