Dispute Resolution
Representation without compromise
Wynn Williams has one of the strongest dispute resolution teams in the country. We have a New Zealand wide reputation for delivering successful results with integrity and responsibility. 

We are recommended as a Leading Firm for Litigation & Dispute Resolution by the 2017 Asia Pacific Legal 500, and in the 2017 Chambers Asia-Pacfic legal rankings

If you are faced with a dispute, either in your business or personal life, our team can apply their commercial insight and unrivalled experience to your case. We’re skilled at developing innovative and successful strategies to ensure the best outcome.
We’re experienced at representing clients in complex cases before the Privy Council, Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court. Over the years our firm has also produced several of the country’s leading judges.
 
We provide expertise in all areas of dispute resolution:
  • Commercial and contractual disputes
  • Real estate and leases
  • Contentious trusts and estates
  • Relationship property
  • Care of children and family
  • Employment and Health & Safety
  • Arbitration
  • Insolvency and credit recovery
  • Professional and product liability
  • Judicial review and public law
  • Intellectual property
  • Maori
  • Construction
If you need advice on a dispute, please get in touch with any of our team below.

    
 

Specialists

Recent Projects

  • Successfully obtaining without notice injunctions freezing defendants' assets.
  • Acting in construction contract adjudications.
  • Acting as lead counsel in a significant claim involving a company that collapsed owing in excess of $30m involving application of the Securities Act and the Financial Markets Conduct Act.
  • Acting in the High Court on a major relationship property appeal involving property exceeding $28 million and complex business and trust arrangements.
  • Acting as Senior Counsel in the Supreme Court for Allied concrete on the interpretation of the Companies Act insolvent transaction provisions in an appeal. We were granted leave to appeal direct from the High Court to Supreme Court.
  • Acting for Canterbury Regional Council, Selwyn District Council, Waimakariri District Council and Christchurch City Council in the High Court and Court of Appeal in litigation brought by property developers to challenge a decision of the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery.
  • Acting or advising CERA in relation to earthquake recovery matters.
  • Successfully acting as Senior Counsel for the Anglican Church in the Court of Appeal and High Court in relation to the de-construction of Christchurch Cathedral and successfully opposing leave before the Supreme Court.
  • Successfully acting against the Statutory Management of Aorangi Securities Limited for a US investor for $6,000,000.
  • Being appointed by the High Court to act as counsel for Canterbury Policy Holders in the liquidation of Western Pacific Insurance Limited (In Liq) to seek payment of moneys from reinsurers for the benefit of those who suffered loss in the Canterbury Earthquakes.
  • Acting as counsel in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal in New Zealand's leading trust case, Kain & Ors v Hutton & Ors [2008] 3 NZLR 589 (SC), [2007] 3 NZLR349.
  • Acting for a major North Island Iwi in a claim against the Crown for breach of fiduciary duty and the unlawful taking of Maori land.
  • Successfully representing a director in the investigation of security claims related to Hanover Finance Limited and acting in the defence of civil proceedings.
  • Appeared in Chirnside v Fay [2007] in the Supreme Court which is New Zealand's leading case on fuduciary duties in joint ventures.
  • Representing the Anglican Church in relation to the use of insurance funds for the Transitional Cathedral.
  • Acting as counsel in multiple negligent valuer and negligent solicitor cases including the defence of prominent North and South Island firms on behalf of insurers.
  • Acting for a major policy holder in Re ACS before the High Court concerning approval of New Zealand's first solvent scheme of arrangement under the Companies Act 1993.
  • Acting as counsel for Save Our Arts Centre in the highly publicized litigation Save Our Arts Centre v The Arts Centre of Christchurch Trust Board, the University of Canterbury, and the Christchurch City Council.
  • Successful representation of Te Rununga o Ngai Tahu before the Privy Council in the case of Ngati Apa Ki Te Waipounamu Trust v The Attorney General and Ors [2006] UK PC 49.
  • Acting as counsel in the Supreme Court in the leading case on fiduciary obligations, Chirnside v Fay [2007] 1 NZLR 433.
  • Acting as counsel in the decision of ANZ National Bank v Macpherson Properties Ltd CIV 2008 409 561 on rectification and transfer fraud.
  • Acting as counsel in Celibriala v Inwood CIV 2008 409 120 to restrain a sale of land for failure to comply with a right of first refusal.
  • Acting as counsel for specialist medical practitioners against an errant director for breach of fiduciary obligations in a joint venture.
  • Acting as counsel (with Peter Whiteside) on behalf of a group of unit owners in a case concerning unit entitlements under the Unit Titles Act 2010 following demolition of apartments caused by the 2011 Canterbury earthquake.
  • Acting on behalf of investors in the winding up of entities related to South Canterbury Finance and Aorangi Securities Limited.
  • Attending mediations on behalf of professional indemnity insurers in cases involving allegedly negligent financial advice.
  • Acting for defendants in financial advice claims.
  • Advising on strategy in a probate litigation matters involving residential property in Auckland and Christchurch.
  • Advising a large corporate trust organisation on matters arising from the application of its trust deed.
  • Assisting company directors with an application for termination of a liquidation.
  • Successfully negotiating the discontinuance of a Fair Trading Act claim on behalf of a defendant.
  • Acting for a defendant in a civil claim by the Financial Markets Authority.
  • Acting for a defendant in a claim concerning alleged negligent building work.
  • Acting for plaintiffs in various conveyancing litigation matters, including a claim for specific performance.
  • Acting in various debt recovery (breach of contract) matters.
  • Advice on Valuer Negligence cases for a major lender.
  • Arbitration for a State-Owned Enterprise.
  • Acting for Policy Holders for a Collapsed Insurance Company.
  • Counsel for Christchurch City Council in complex civil litigation over alleged land transfer fraud.
  • Counsel for property owners in High Court and Court of Appeal in dispute over neighbours application to obtain access over their land.
  • Acting for Professional Indemnity Insurers.

Articles

16/10/2017

Supreme Court clarifies when litigation funding amounts to an abuse of process

The cost of access to the courts is commonly seen as one of, if not the most, significant barriers to access justice. This is true even for corporates. The decision in PriceWaterhouseCoopers v Walker was concerned with the validity of a litigation funding agreement between a company called SPF No. 10 Limited, the liquidators of Property Ventures Limited and related companies, Messrs Robert Walker and John Marshall.

Keep reading...


14/09/2017

A new look for the law of contempt in New Zealand?

The purpose of this article is to provide a brief overview of the current position on the law of contempt and to summarise the Law Commission's recommendations and the Government's Response in order to comment on the future scope of contempt in New Zealand.

Keep reading...


22/08/2017

Double Insurance or Seamless Cover? When the Inception Time of Insurance Cover Matters

The time of inception on an insurance policy has recently been considered by the High Court in Body Corporate 74246 & Ors v QBE Insurance (International) Limited and Allianz Australia Insurance NZ [2017] NZHC 1473.

Keep reading...


18/08/2017

Court of Appeal revisits the lawyer-litigant exception in costs

On 14 June 2017 the Court of Appeal held that the lawyer-litigant exception is not justifiable under the specific costs rules now in place. This article summarises the rationale of the decision.

Keep reading...


10/07/2017

The Arbitration Amendment Bill 2017

Jeremy Johnson contributes to an article on The Arbitration Amendment Bill 2017 for LawTalk Magazine.

Keep reading...


16/06/2017

Arbitration of trust disputes: a new frontier

The Arbitration Act 1996 (Act) was enacted to facilitate the arbitration of commercial disputes and to enable international arbitration so that disputes decided here can be easily enforced in other jurisdictions. In principle, the incorporation of an arbitration clause should lead to the successful resolution of such disputes in a private, expeditious, and cost-effective way.

Keep reading...


7/06/2017

Is self-representation a good idea?

In New Zealand, you have a right to go to court and represent yourself; self-representation procures access to the courts. But, whether it provides access to justice is another question.

Keep reading...


18/05/2017

Proposed changes to voidable transactions: feedback sought

The Government's Insolvency Working Group has this week issued its second report, which includes its recommendations on changes to the voidable transactions regime. Two key changes are proposed.

Keep reading...


12/05/2017

Bankruptcy: Court clarifies its powers to approve payment proposals

You are a creditor and have served a bankruptcy notice on a judgment debtor. The debtor puts forward a payment proposal which you reject. The debtor then applies to the Court seeking to set aside the bankruptcy notice and requests that the payment proposal be approved. Does the Court have jurisdiction to approve the payment proposal, despite the creditor's refusal?

Keep reading...


9/03/2017

The final word on disclosure of trust information to beneficiaries

The Supreme Court in Erceg v Erceg [2017] NZSC 28 has confirmed the court's important role in supervising trustee decisions to not disclose information to beneficiaries. In clarifying the scope of the court's supervisory role, this decision should assist beneficiaries in holding trustees to account.

Keep reading...


20/01/2017

Fluoridation of water in New Zealand – have your say

On the 17 November 2016, the Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Bill (Bill) was introduced into Parliament; its aim being to amend the Health Act 1956 (Act) to enable District Health Boards (DHBs) to make decisions and give directions about the fluoridation of government drinking water supplies in their areas.

Keep reading...


21/12/2016

The importance of complying with court orders

When a court makes an order, the party or parties against whom those orders are made may well query what will happen if they do not comply with those orders. The recent decision of Palmer J in Zhang v King David Investments Ltd (in Liq) [2016] NZHC 3018 provides an example of the adverse consequences which can occur.

Keep reading...


20/12/2016

Injured player decides to sue – the right thing to do?

Alex McKinnon, a former Newcastle Knights NRL player left a quadriplegic after being upended in a tackle by the Melbourne Storm's Jordan McLean in 2014, is planning to sue the NRL and Mr McLean personally, seeking damages as a result of the incident.

Keep reading...


8/12/2016

High Court reaffirms New Zealand's stance on suing for personal injury

In McGougan and Dingle v Depuy International Limited [2016] NZHC 2511 the High Court was required to determine the scope of the bar against claims for personal injury in s 317(1) of the Accident Compensation Act 2001 (ACA). The particular question for consideration was whether a person could bring a claim for compensatory damages (i.e. sue for damages flowing from personal injury) in New Zealand, where they have cover under the ACA, but where the conduct giving rise to the claims occurred outside of New Zealand.

Keep reading...


18/11/2016

Exclusion of improperly obtained evidence in civil proceedings

On 26 October 2016, the Supreme Court released its decision in Marwood v Commissioner of Police [2016] NZSC 139. This decision required the Court to determine whether New Zealand courts have jurisdiction to exclude improperly obtained evidence in civil proceedings and, if so, whether the jurisdiction should be exercised on the facts of the case before it.

Keep reading...


15/03/2016

Effective use of Arbitration Agreements and Dispute Resolution Clauses

Dispute resolution clauses are rarely excluded from commercial contracts and the inclusion of arbitration agreements within those clauses are becoming increasingly common. Dispute resolution clauses come in a range of forms and it is important that parties drafting or entering into agreements with dispute resolution clauses are familiar with the consequences of doing so.

Keep reading...


25/02/2016

Update: What's all the buzz about NZ's recent drone regulations?

The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (the CAA) released new rules for the flying of unmanned aircraft beginning 1 August 2015. The changes were aimed at drone operators and are found in Part 101 and Part 102 of the Civil Aviation Rules (the Rules).

Keep reading...


14/08/2015

The rule against self-dealing

An important principle in the law of trusts is that a trustee must not, with some very limited exceptions, place themselves in a position in which duty and interest conflict. This is known as the rule against self-dealing. The Supreme Court has recently considered this rule in a decision in the context of ahu whenua trusts established under the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 (Act).

Keep reading...


8/06/2015

Clayton v Clayton: Trust Busting

The Court of Appeal's recent decision in Clayton v Clayton has been described as redrawing the landscape on trusts and divorce. In this article I discuss the more controversial aspect of the judgment - the Court's finding that the settlor's power of appointment is relationship property. Although the context of the decision is a relationship property dispute, the Court's reasoning could be applied in other contexts, such as bankruptcy.

Keep reading...


26/05/2015

Clayton v Clayton: Nipping the "Illusory Trust" in the Bud

Introduction The Court of Appeal's recent decision in Clayton v Clayton has been described as redrawing the landscape on trusts and divorce. The decision has already generated discussion within the legal community because the Court decided that a settlor's power of appointment could be relationship property. The Court went on to determine that the value of the appointment was the net value of the trust's assets. The decision is also important because it is the first New Zealand case where the concept of an "illusory trust", as distinct from a "sham trust", has been considered. It is this aspect of the decision which I intend to discuss in this article.

Keep reading...


18/02/2015

Certainty at last for Creditors and Liquidators in voidable transaction claims

The Supreme Court has ruled that new value is not required for creditors to rely on the section 296 defence to voidable transactions under the Companies Act 1993. This means that creditors unfortunate enough to find themselves a party to a voidable transaction that a liquidator is attempting claw back are in a much better position to resist the liquidators claim. The Supreme Court heard three appeals in March 2014. The appeals concerned the operation of the voidable transaction regime under the Companies Act 1993, particularly section 296(3). A voidable transaction is a transaction made by an insolvent company to a creditor which results in that creditor receiving more than they would have in the liquidation of the company. Liquidators have the ability to 'claw back' voidable transactions paid to creditors up to two years prior to their appointment. The appellants in the Supreme Court were creditors of companies in liquidation and the respondents were the liquidators. Wynn Williams acted for Allied Concrete Limited who was a creditor in the appeal.

Keep reading...


26/01/2015

Arbitration clauses and summary judgment: what to do when you don't think there is a dispute

Introduction Arbitration clauses are increasingly used in commercial agreements and in leases. One question that often arises in situations where there is an arbitration clause is what claimants should be doing when they do not think the defendant has a defence? Usually the claimants have proceeded to Court under the summary judgment procedure; however the Supreme Court in Zurich Australian Insurance Limited t/a Zurich New Zealand v Cognition Education Limited has now closed off this option. The decision will have significant practical implications for parties. The summary jurisdiction is not often used in arbitrations and the reasons for that appear to be both principled and practical. Nevertheless there are good reasons – both in terms of principle and practicality - why clients might want to have access to a summary jurisdiction and there are ways that this can be achieved – namely by allowing for it in the arbitration clause itself.

Keep reading...


26/01/2015

Arbitration clauses and the summary jurisdication: the Supreme Court speaks [2015] NZLJ 82

Introduction The question of how to handle arbitration clauses in contracts where there is no clear dispute between the parties is one that has long bothered lawyers and clients. If the other party does not respond to demands for payment/remedy of contractual breaches is it appropriate to issue summary judgment proceedings? If the other party does respond but the alleged defence is not reasonably arguable must the parties proceed to arbitration anyway?

Keep reading...


31/10/2014

Law Commission Adopts Pragmatic Approach to Pecuniary Penalties

The recently released Law Commission report on pecuniary penalties accepts that pecuniary penalties are a legitimate tool. However, the Law Commission has made nine recommendations that will mean future legislation invoking penalty regimes will be more principled and uniform. Unfortunately, little has been done about overhauling the pecuniary regimes that are already in place. Pecuniary penalty regimes have become increasingly prevalent, but are drafted on a somewhat ad hoc basis. That created a legislative environment that can appear unclear and unprincipled, a climate that prompted the Law Commission review.

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20/10/2014

Private Health and Safety Prosecutions

A number of private prosecutions under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (HSEA) have been signalled in recent months. Having recently been counsel in a HSEA private prosecution, Tim Mackenzie outlines the issues that practitioners considering a HSEA prosecution should consider. Registering an interest Any party interested in a potential prosecution must first formally notify Worksafe New Zealand (Worksafe) of an interest in any enforcement action being taken. Worksafe must then advise the interested party of any decisions taken including a decision not to prosecute. If Worksafe declines to prosecute it is sensible for your client to consider their reasons and give weight to them.

Keep reading...


11/06/2014

Supreme Court finds leaky home limitation periods are not water tight

Osborne & Anor v Auckland City Council & Anor [2014] NZSC 67 Introduction After over seven years of litigation the Supreme Court has yesterday held that John Anthony Osborne and his wife Helen Osborne are entitled to seek relief for a leaky home claim which began in February 2007. On 10 June 2014 the Supreme Court released a unanimous judgment concerning the limitation period for leaky homes claims under the Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Act 2006 (the "Act"). The effect of the decision is that the limitation period for claims under the Act will extend for 10 years from the date when building work which gives rise to the claim, including the issuing of code compliance certificates by a Council or territorial authority, is completed.

Keep reading...


9/04/2014

Statutory demand procedure available to liquidators to collect voidable transactions

The recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Damien Grant and Stephen Khov v Lotus Gardens Limited [2014] NZCA 127 overturns a High Court decision which held that liquidators could not use the statutory demand process to collect monies under transactions that had been set aside under the voidable transaction provisions of the Companies Act 1993 (the "Act"). The Court of Appeal held that s 295 of the Act is not the only process available to liquidators to recover transactions that have been set aside. Section 295 of the Act sets out the various discretionary orders a Court can make following a transaction being set aside.

Keep reading...


24/02/2014

Wolf in sheep's clothing: failed finance company investors at risk?

Investors in Ross Asset Management Ltd (in liquidation) ("RAM") were understandably surprised when the liquidators announced that payments to investors made by the company two years prior to liquidations may be set aside.

Keep reading...


17/02/2014

Can I claim for a reduction in the value of my claim?

If someone (person A) reduces the value of a claim you have against someone else (person B), can you recover the loss in the value of the claim from A?

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14/01/2014

Directors: Call Your Brokers [2014] NZLJ 126

Nearly a year to the day after the Court of Appeal, in Steigrad v BFSL 2007 Ltd [2012] NZCA 604, gave insured directors a Christmas present, the Supreme Court has played Scrooge for directors and Santa for liquidators and receivers of, and investors in, failed finance companies to recover losses by pursuing directors of those companies for breaches of their directors' duties and also for breaches of the Securities Act 1978.

Keep reading...


13/01/2014

Saunders v Vautier and the Recognition of Special Circumstances

A view as to why the NZ Courts should not trump a beneficiary's indefeasible interest in trust property. The rule in Saunders v Vautier (1841) 41 ER 482, which has long been a part of New Zealand's common law, provides that an adult beneficiary who is sui juris (or a number of adult beneficiaries acting together) who has (or between them have) an absolute, vested and indefeasible interest in the capital and income of property, or an aliquot share of capital and income as the case may be, may at any time require the immediate transfer of the property to him (or them) and consequently terminate the trust.

Keep reading...


13/01/2014

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Lawsuit

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. But who has the right to benefit from the film depiction of that hobbit? This is the issue raised by the claim recently filed by Miramax LLC, and its managing directors Harvey and Robert Weinstein ("the Plaintiffs"), against Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc and New Line Cinema Corporation.

Keep reading...


4/10/2013

Arcadia Homes Ltd (In Liq) v More To This Life

For the first time in New Zealand, the issue of "subject to director's approval" clauses has come before the Courts. This raised the question of how such clauses would be interpreted. In particular, would the Courts approach the clauses as "conditions precedent" or "conditions subsequent"?

Keep reading...


26/08/2013

Passing Off As Rihanna?

In a recent case from the Chancery Court, Rihanna, a prominent pop star, successfully sued Topshop, a high street fashion retailer, for passing off.

Keep reading...


1/08/2013

How Safe is Your Goods Service Licence?

You are required under the Land Transport Act 1998 ("the Act") to hold and maintain a Transport Service Licence ("TSL"). If you lose your TSL, you cannot lawfully operate.

Keep reading...


11/06/2013

Payment of Sum Insured Over and Above EQC Cover

On 15 May the High Court delivered a judgment in respect of a body corporate's earthquake claim against its insurer Zurich: Body Corporate 398983 v Zurich Australian Insurance Limited [2013] NZHC 1109. The issue for determination was whether the amount Zurich was to pay was in addition to the sums paid by the Earthquake Commission.

Keep reading...


6/06/2013

Advertising Ethical and Socially Responsible Business

Last month Dole came under scrutiny for labelling its fruit products with stickers bearing the slogan “Ethical Choice”.  Dole’s justification for the labels was that it has a commitment to ethical conduct throughout its business operations by providing a "safe, healthy, fair, and productive environment" for its workforce.

Keep reading...


6/05/2013

When is hilarity defamatory?

The New Zealand law reports are replete with defamation cases brought by public figures.  One of the earliest was in 1911, where William Massey unsuccessfully sued the New Zealand Times for a cartoon that insinuated he was a liar and guilty of disreputable acts.  More recently, The Civilian, a previously niche satirical news website, was launched into the public spotlight by the threat of a defamation action from the leader of the Conservative Party, Colin Craig. 

Keep reading...


11/04/2013

High Court Earthquake List: Key Issues for Determination

An Earthquake List was implemented in the High Court in May 2012 to ensure that cases involving disputes arising out of the earthquakes are dealt with as swiftly as possible.

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4/04/2013

Section 296 - Avoiding A Voidable Transaction

The recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Farrell and Rogan as Liquidators of Contract Engineering Limited (In Receivership and In Liquidation) v Fences & Kerbs Limited [2013] NZCA 91 has implications for those trading on credit.  Previously the defence in an insolvent liquidation, if the liquidator tried to claw back a payment, was available when prior value was given for the payment received.  This is no longer the case.

Keep reading...


11/03/2013

New Zealand Maori Council and Others v The Attorney-General and Others [2013] NZSC 6

On the 28th of February 2013 the Supreme Court found that the Crown's intended proposal to restructure the state-owned asset Mighty River Power was not inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. The Court concluded that the proposal would not materially impair the Crown's capacity to remedy any Treaty breach in respect of Maori interests in water.

Keep reading...


25/02/2013

Johnson v Auckland Council [2013] NZHC 165

On 11 February 2013 the High Court found that the purchasers of a leaky building had not taken reasonable steps to protect themselves against the risk that the house had weathertightness issues.  Because of this, the loss they suffered was substantially their own fault, and the Court reduced the damages which would otherwise be recoverable by 70%.

Keep reading...


25/02/2013

Caveat Emptor - Buyer Beware

The recent High Court decision of Johnson v Auckland Council highlights the fundamental  legal principle of caveat emptor - buyer beware!

Keep reading...


7/02/2013

Earthquake-prone building policy not enforceable

Six days after the 4 September 2010 earthquake, the Christchurch City Council adopted its Earthquake-Prone, Dangerous and Insanitary Buildings Policy 2010 (the Policy). The High Court has recently found it is unenforceable in terms of the level of strengthening required for earthquake-prone buildings.

Keep reading...


14/01/2013

Steigrad v BFSL 2007 Ltd [2012] NZCA 604

On 20 December 2012, the Court of Appeal released its decision in Steigrad v BFSL 2007 Ltd [2012] NZCA 604.  The decision impacts negatively upon attempts by liquidators and receivers of, and investors in, failed finance companies to recover losses by pursuing directors of those companies for breaches of their directors' duties and also for breaches of the Securities Act 1978.

Keep reading...


20/11/2012

Cathedral Decision 15 November 2012 - What it Really Means

Outcome: the Judge ordered a stay of the CPT's decision on the basis that the CPT's decision was "incomplete".  The Judge found that the trust on which the Cathedral is held required a cathedral to exist on the site, rather than a cathedral in a specific design and form.  Importantly, the Judge declined to set the decision aside.

Keep reading...


18/10/2012

Drastic Change to the Leaky Building Landscape

In Spencer on Byron the Supreme Court held that local authorities owe a duty of care in their inspection role to all building owners. This is a huge development, as previously such a duty only recognised residential building owners.

Keep reading...


24/09/2012

Crafar Decisions Result in Little Real Change

In the recent Court of Appeal decision, rejecting an attempt to stop the sale of the 'Crafar' farms to Shanghai Pengxin, it was held that the Ministers responsible for granting consent for overseas investments have considerable flexibility in determining what business experience and acumen is relevant to any particular investment.

Keep reading...


23/08/2012

A New Approach To Litigation Privilege?

If and when litigation privilege attaches to reports obtained by insurers is a hotly debated issue. The general principles can be easily stated and are well accepted: the document in question must have been prepared for the dominant purpose of providing advice in respect of reasonably anticipated litigation.

Keep reading...


16/05/2012

More than leases bargained for

In the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes many building owners, tenants, developers, and even lawyers have turned to their leases in an attempt to figure out exactly what they happens in a disaster.

Keep reading...


11/12/2011

A Contextual Approach to the Application of Bias

Howe v Keown has been one of the most controversial cases to pass through the Christchurch Courts this year.  The case concerned an injunction application to prevent the defendant, Christchurch City Councillor Aaron Keown, from participating in the Council process to appoint a new chief exectuive.  The plaintiff, a concerned ratepayer, sought the injunction principally on the grounds that the defendant illegitimately favoured the incumbent Council chief executive and had made public statements to that effect.  Fogarty J refused to award the injunction and in so doing severally curtailed the application of the law of bias to elected members in public office.

Keep reading...


1/09/2011

Earthquakes, mortagees and lessees [2011] NZLJ 301

The Canterbury earthquakes have given rise to more than just seismic aftershocks. The legal consequences are only just beginning to be felt. Issues have been raised that have not been considered before and from which there are no easy answers.

Keep reading...


30/11/2010

Record Keeping and Our Limitation Laws

How will changes to our limitation laws affect you?  Charlene Sell, an Associate with Wynn Williams, discusses the impact of our new limitation laws on your business’s record keeping procedures.

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9/03/2010

Contract: Missed Opportunity? [2010] NZLJ 50

In Vector Gas Ltd v Bay of Plenty Energy Ltd [2010] NZSC 5 the Supreme Court confronted the questions of contractual interpretation, and of what extrinsic evidence may be adduced to prove the meaning of contractual terms. Throughout the 20th century the parol evidence rule, under which the admission of extrinsic evidence to assist in the interpretation of contracts was severely limited, was gradually worn down, primarily through the creation of numerous exceptions combinedwith a judicial re-examination of the principles of contractual interpretation. The result is an area of law that is over-complicated, which hampers the ability of practitioners to provide sound advice to clients.

Keep reading...


7/02/2010

Section 11 Contractual Remedies Act 1979 - Unintended Consequences?

In 1979 Parliament significantly changed the law of contract in New Zealand by enacting the Contractual Remedies Act 1979.  That Act arose from recommendations made by the Contracts and Commercial Law Reform Committee in its 1967 Report on Misrepresentation and Breach of Contract.  The Act both changed and codified the law relating to the cancellation of contracts, damages for breach of contract, and damages for misrepresentation which induced entry into a contract.

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31/01/2010

Save Our Arts Centre - Response to the Opinion of Crown Law

The decision that Crown Law has reached is open to challenge in two ways. First, for such a significant
decision for Christchurch it has come about through an inadequate process. Second, it has failed to
consider the issues properly. Unfortunately, Crown Law has formed its view on limited evidence.

Keep reading...


4/01/2009

The No Asset Procedure - Easy Bankruptcy?

Emily Walton, associate, and Edward Burrell, former solicitor, with Wynn Williams & Co, look at this from the points of view of both a creditor and a debtor.

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2/01/2009

The Anti-Smacking Law: Implications for Judicial Review

The debate about the amendment to Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 produced so much heat that it must have contributed to global warming.  However, the compromise agreed between National and Labour prior to the passing of the Amendment Bill introduced a new clause which has ramifications beyond the mere removal of the previous defence to assault on a child.

Keep reading...


22/12/2008

Trustees Indemnity - Litigation Costs

A trustee is not always entitled to recoup his or her litigation expenses from the trust fund. Often a
trustee will have to await the outcome of litigation before he or she can exercise any right of indemnity. There
are now over 300,000 trusts in New Zealand and an increasing number of trust disputes are being brought before the courts (Wear “QCsaysNZneeds specialist trust bar”Lawtalk, 18 February 2008). However, it is still common for trustees to be advised that they are entitled to have their litigation expenses met out of the trust fund. This is not always the case.

Keep reading...


Reported Decisions

  • Greig v Hutchison [2015] NZFLR 587
  • J v J [2015] NZAR 861
  • Satterthwaite v Gough Holdings Ltd [2015] NZCCLR 15
  • Dalian Deepwater Developer Ltd v Dybdahl [2015] 3 NZLR 260
  • Holler v Osaki [2014] 3 NZLR 791
  • Great Christchurch Buildings Trust v Church Property Trustees [2014] 3 NZLR 236
  • Great Christchurch Buildings Trust v Church Property Trustees [2013] 2 NZLR 230
  • Howe v Keown [2011] NZAR 764
  • F M Custodians Ltd v Pinot Rouge New Zealand Ltd [2011] 12 NZCPR 155
  • Hagaman v Fairbank [2010] 20 PRNZ 68 (CA)
  • Kain v Hutton [2008] 3 NZLR 589 (SCNZ)
  • Kowhai Mainland Roof Coatings Ltd v Newman [2009] DCR 211
  • Cutler v Oceanside Developments Ltd [2009] DCR 645
  • Cousins v Heslop [2007] 18 PRNZ 677
  • Waitikiri Links Ltd v Windsor Golf Club Inc [1998] 8 NZCPR 527
  • Oldfields Ashphalts Ltd v Grovedale Cool Stores [1994] Ltd [1998] 3 NZLR 479
  • Stavefield Holdings No 29 Ltd v Nathan Securities Ltd [1993] ANZ ConvR 597
  • Grainger v Rossendale Holdings Ltd [1989] 2 NZLR 389
  • Independent Fisheries Ltd v Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery [2013] 2 NZLR 397
  • Church Property Trustees v Attorney-General [2013] 2 NZLR 428
  • Independent Fisheries Ltd v Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery [2012] NZAR 785
  • Reynolds v Peter [2010] 20 PRNZ 774
  • Chirnside v Fay [2007] 1 NZLR 433
  • Ngati Apa Ki Te Waipounamu Trust v Attorney General of New Zealand and others [2007] 2 NZLR 80
  • Chirnside v Fay (No 2) [2005] 3 NZLR 689
  • Shepherd v Disputes Tribunal [2004] NZAR 319
  • Chirnside & Rattray Properties Ltd v Fay, Supreme Court [2004] 3 NZLR 637, [2005] 3 NZLR 689) (CA)
  • Kraal v Earthquake Commission [2014] 3 NZLR 42
  • C v Legal Complaints Review Officer [2013] NZAR 398
  • Kain v Wynn Williams & Co [2013] 1 NZLR 498 (CA)
  • Sisson v Standards Committee(2) of the Canterbury-Westland Branch of the NZLS [2013] NZAR 416
  • C v Legal Complaints Review Officer [2012] NZAR 924; (2012) 21 PRNZ 270
  • Dominion Finance Group Ltd (in Rec and Liq) v Body Corporate 382902 (2012) 7 NZ ConvC 96-003
  • Wynn Williams & Co v Kain [2011] 3 NZLR 709
  • CAA v Griffiths [2010] DCR 169
  • PGG Wrightsons Ltd v Mid Canterbury Real Estate [2009] DCR 515
  • Williams v Cazemier [2009] 11 NZCPR 79
  • Lowe v Brankin (2005) 6 NZCPR 607
  • R v B [2003] 2 NZLR 777, (2003) 20 CRNZ 308
  • Brankin v MacLean [2003] 2 NZLR 687
  • Canterbury Regional Council v Newman [2002] 1 NZLR 289
  • Morris v Templeton (2000) 14 PRNZ 397
  • Hall v Warwick Todd Ltd (2000) 9 TCLR 448
  • Newman v Canterbury Regional Council [2000] NZRMA 420
  • Official Assignee v Brodie (2000) 15 PRNZ 89
  • Halswater Holdings Ltd v Selwyn District Council [1999] ELRNZ 192
  • Tubbs v Futurity Investments Ltd and Buchanans Foundry Ltd [1998] 1 NZLR 471
  • R v Guy (1996) 13 CRNZ 589
  • R v S (1995) 13 CRNZ
  • King v Wilkinson (1994) 2 NZ ConvC 191,828
  • A v District Court (1993) 11 CRNZ 335
  • Savin v De Vere(1986) 3 NZ ConvC 99,703
  • Anglian Sales Ltd v South Pacific Manufacturing Co Ltd [1984] 2 NZLR 249, (1984) 2 NZCLC 99,220



 Security code

Wynn Williams Christchurch
Level 5, Wynn Williams House, 47 Hereford Street, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand.
PO Box 4341, DX WX11179, Christchurch 8140.
+64 3 379 7622
+64 3 379 2467
Wynn Williams Auckland
Level 11, AIG Building, 41 Shortland Street, Auckland 1010, New Zealand.
PO Box 2401, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140.
+64 9 300 2600
+64 9 300 2609
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