"I’m indebted to you for your counsel. Yes, I know you are doing your job. But it’s more than a good job, it’s the feeling you give a client that you do give a damn. I really appreciate the giving of a ‘damn"

The law of dispute resolution (and legal processes) can be complex. It is a game in itself. Understanding the law and the legal process is one of the skills of a good lawyer.

But the law is only part of the wider context. To resolve a dispute requires attention to the wider context. To understand the commercial context, the industry, the important relationships, and especially the people involved.

This knowledge and understanding is what enables us to match the risks and the costs of dispute resolution strategies – and to achieve the best outcome.

Insurance

We act for a number of prominent NZ insurers with a particular focus on liability insurance.

We specialise in professional indemnity claims and have acted for a wide range of professionals facing civil liability claims and/or complaints over the last 20 years. This has included significant claims against lawyers, accountants, directors, health professionals, engineers, architects, surveyors, valuers, brokers, real estate agents, and others.

The last 15 years has also seen the growth of statutory liability claims. The impact of the Health & Safety reforms following the Royal Commission into Pike River and the Taskforce Recommendations on Workplace Safety are very significant. Alistair has acted in over 120 investigations and prosecutions (including over 20 fatalities). Other prosecutions include those under the Resource Management Act, Building Act, food safety and animal welfare legislation.

Our work has varied from coverage issues to a wide variety of different types of claims. This began on Fire & General claims for State Insurance Ltd before branching into many policies and claim types.

Our work in this area includes:

  • Professional Indemnity (including Director & Officers)
  • Statutory Liability
  • Fire & General and Motor Vehicle
  • Business Interruption
  • Public Liability
  • Life & Disability

Dispute Resolution

We have a wealth of experience in civil commercial litigation and regularly appear in all Courts.

However, our “pure” litigation skills are only a part of our approach.

Having your day in Court can be an expensive and lengthy process. Lawyers are often perceived to be the only winners. Litigation involves risk and cost and can jeopardise relationships.

We are passionate about achieving results that best meet our client’s needs and which are often achieved outside the Courtroom. This requires early analysis of the issues, understanding of the relationships, and consideration for how to best solve the issues.

Dispute resolution methods we are experienced in and regularly utilise include:

  • negotiation
  • mediation
  • litigation
  • binding expert determination
  • arbitration

Employment

Employment law today requires fair processes and outcomes, and good faith, two-way communication.  There is a strong focus on problem-solving, by agreement where possible, and established rights for employers and employees.

Employment-related issues can be stressful, time-consuming and costly.  We assist clients by providing them with strategies for achieving results, based on our considerable experience in this area.  Where necessary, we also provide representation, including in mediation or court.

Our work covers all aspects of employment law, including:

  • Disciplinary processes and investigations
  • Personal grievances and breach of contract claims
  • Restructuring
  • Bargaining
  • Strikes
  • Privacy
  • Discrimination and other employment-related human rights issues
  • Holidays

We also have significant experience in health and safety (see ‘Insurance’).  We advise both insured and private clients, assist them to carry out investigations, and act for clients responding to prosecutions or other enforcement action.

Health / Medical Legal Law

The ACC regime significantly limits the extent of litigation or claims arising out of health issues in New Zealand. But there has been a corresponding increase in complaints to:

(a) professional regulatory bodies – raising competence and disciplinary issues;

(b) complaints to the Health and Disability Commissioner, the Privacy Commissioner or the Human Rights Commission (sometimes resulting in disciplinary or competency processes).

Our work in this area includes:

  • Professional Disciplinary processes
  • Complaints / Investigations – Health and Disability Commissioner, Privacy Commissioner or Human Rights Commission;
  • Privacy (Health Information Privacy Code)
  • Coroners Inquests
  • Civil claims for Exemplary Damages claims (nervous shock)
  • Disability
  • Mental Health Law
  • Protection of Personal and Property Rights

Family / Personal Property

Family and personal property law has become increasingly complex. It requires an understanding of property, trust and relationship property law.

Resolving disputes that arise (or assisting people work through division of property) involves an understanding of the people concerned, their priorities and their motivations, as well as the law which applies. This can be a difficult time in people’s lives. Being able to help them can be a privilege.

The issues relating to the care of children have changed over recent years. Different models of shared parenting and the blending of families (with the complex relationships that then result) are now common. The international job market and other factors have resulted in a growth of “relocation” cases.

The increasing complexity of our lives can also result in difficult issues (disputes) when someone dies without an adequate will or directions being in place.

Our work in this area includes:

  • Relationship and Trust Property
  • Care of children
  • Separation
  • Maintenance and Child Support
  • Divorce (Dissolution)
  • Family Protection and Testamentary Promises