Richard Hargreaves

MA (Oxon), Inner Temple, Partner

Richard has an honours degree in Law from Oxford University.  He was admitted to the bar in England in 2010, and started at Wynn Williams in 2012.

Richard is a civil litigator with a background in insurance law.  He acts in a wide range of insurance and commercial disputes, with a focus on professional indemnity work.

The Legal 500 Asia Pacific describes Richard as "personable, technically sound'[ing] a key role in the practice." 
"I take a practical approach to factual disputes, and an academic approach to questions of law."

Recent Projects

  • Defending professional engineers, builders, building inspectors and real estate agents in the High Court, District Court, and professional disciplinary hearings.

  • Defending lines companies and international insurers in respect of large-scale forest fires and power surges.

  • Advising an international insurer in respect of a property claim concerning arson and murder.

  • Defending real estate agents in a case concerning the sale of a property contaminated by methamphetamine.

  • Defending a leading domestic insurer in numerous High Court Earthquake List proceedings.

  • Acting for residential and commercial policyholders in the High Court Earthquake List.

  • Defending a significant domestic insurer in tribunal claims regarding fraudulent claims on credit contract indemnity insurance policies.

  • Debt recovery work for builders against large, government-backed, construction management companies.

Recent Articles


Insurance Contracts Bill 101

When I began practising insurance law in New Zealand back in 2012, it was apparent that the legal framework was a bit haphazard. This wasn’t a new criticism, even ten years ago.

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Natural Hazards Insurance Bill

Parliament has introduced the Natural Hazards Insurance Bill, which will replace the Earthquake Commission Act 1993 and overhaul the Earthquake Commission (EQC).

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Assessing professional negligence – relevant UK case law

This article is a very brief consideration of the complicated legal issue of professional negligence. A landmark decision in this area was released by the UK Supreme Court earlier this year: Manchester Building Society v Grant Thornton. Although it is an English case, MBS v Grant Thornton is of great interest to New Zealand practitioners; the six-stage test for professional negligence is closely applicable to the New Zealand legal regime.

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Insurance claims for swamped vehicles – driving through flood waters

Every time New Zealand has a period of heavy rain, we see multiple stories of vehicles becoming stuck on flooded roads. Below, we discuss the insurance issues drivers may face if their vehicle is damaged by flood waters.

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UK to conduct ongoing competency checks for solicitors.

Wynn Williams is often instructed in relation to complaints against lawyers. Here in New Zealand, the lawyers’ Conduct and Client Care Rules provide a framework by which to assess lawyers’ work for their clients.

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Insurance tips for a kiwi summer holiday

Due to COVID, this year kiwis will be holidaying in New Zealand, not overseas. It might not be the most festive thing to think about before you head off for the summer, but try to make time to consider your insurance. Here are four quick tips, specially selected for NZ staycations:

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Attention Real Estate Agents – do you know how to market ‘stigmatised’ properties (whether haunted or not)?

Often, after running a training session for real estate agents, the audience has questions for me. I always enjoy this bit – agents deal with all sorts of characters, and often find themselves in the middle of ‘eccentric’ vendors and purchasers. Interestingly though, three times in the last year, I’ve been asked about the extent to which agents need to disclose grisly details of a property’s past. One agent’s client thought their 1950s bungalow might be haunted.

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Personal liability of building inspectors

There is currently a trend amongst plaintiffs to commence proceedings against building inspectors personally in defective building cases. This is only appropriate in very specific circumstances.

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Supreme Court decides reinstatement benefits cannot be assigned

The Supreme Court has decided the case of Xu v IAG NZ Ltd against the homeowners by a 3:2 majority.

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Real estate agents – can you believe what your clients tell you?

This article focuses on two topics: agents’ liability for passing on a third party’s report, and agents’ liability for passing on incorrect information told to them by the vendor.

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Tenants' liability for damage – High Court ruling

The Court of Appeal in Holler v Osaki confirmed that a residential tenant who damages their landlord's property carelessly can not be sued by their landlord in respect of the damage. In November 2017, the High Court released a new judgment on tenants' liability, in Linklater v Dickinson.

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Legal Defence Costs and the Limits of Professional Indemnity Insurance

The Court of Appeal confirmed last month that professional indemnity insurers can apply a very strict interpretation of which business activities are insured under a PI policy. Just because an activity is part of a business enterprise does not mean cover applies for any and all professional liability which may arise.

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Insurance Contracts to be bound by fairness?

On the evening of Wednesday 17 April, Craig Foss, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, proposed without prior announcement an amendment to the Consumer Law Reform Bill, specifically targeted at insurance contracts. A Supplementary Order Paper released on 10 July 2013 makes substantive amendments to the Consumer Law Reform Bill, alleviating the concerns raised in the following article.

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Behind the media coverage: the impact of O'Loughlin v Tower Insurance

The impact of the Christchurch Residential Red Zone on insurance claims was clarified on Friday (5 April 2013) by Justice Asher of the High Court in O’Loughlin v Tower Insurance.

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The Insurance and Savings Ombudsman: Challenging your Insurer following the Canterbury Earthquakes

When choosing house insurance, you place your trust in the insurance company.  So when an earthquake damages your home, and the carefully-selected insurer does not respond in the way you expect, the financial loss, disappointment and frustration can be devastating.

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Reported Decisions

  • Kraal v Earthquake Commission [2015] 2 NZLR 589
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