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Tim SmithTim Smith

Tim Smith

Tim Smith


T:+64 4 498 2402


F:+64 4 472 7111



BSc, LLB (Hons), Victoria University of Wellington, LLM, Harvard


2003, New Zealand


Tim specialises in commercial litigation and dispute resolution.

Tim has considerable experience in advising and representing major clients across a wide range of commercial issues, with particular expertise in telecommunications law, competition law, and energy and natural resources litigation.

Tim appears as counsel for clients in all courts as well as in commercial arbitrations, and has appeared as junior or leading counsel in the High Court and Court of Appeal, as well as junior counsel in Supreme Court of New Zealand. He provides realistic and clear advice in relation to significant and complex private and public law issues, including competition law, economic regulation, statutory and contractual interpretation, tort law and trusts. 

Tim is an adjunct lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington Law School where he has taught an undergraduate course in civil remedies.  Tim is a recipient of the Chapman Tripp Medal for Academic Excellence for first in his graduating class at Victoria University of Wellington and started his career as a Judges’ Clerk in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. He joined Chapman Tripp in 2006 after a sabbatical where he accepted a Frank Knox Fellowship to study for an LLM at Harvard Law School. 

Recent experience

Tim's experience includes:

  • successfully acting for the Earthquake Commission in declaratory proceedings relating to its proposed policy to settle certain forms of complex land damage, not previously recognised elsewhere in the world, arising from the Canterbury earthquake sequence
  • successfully acting for New Zealand Steel Limited in the High Court and Court of Appeal in proceedings relating to its ironsand mining operations, including obtaining declarations excluding its operations from the application of the Resource Management Act 1991
  • acting in major commercial arbitrations involving joint venture parties in the energy sector, and the appeals to the High Court and Court of Appeal of the resulting arbitral awards
  • acting for Chorus Limited in relation to regulatory proceedings under the Telecommunications Act 2001 and appeals in the High Court and Court of Appeal brought in relation to Commerce Commission determinations of pricing for regulated services
  • acting for Spark (formerly Telecom New Zealand Limited) in relation to significant Commerce Act 1986 proceedings alleging taking advantage of substantial market power in telecommunications markets, including acting successfully in relation to the Commerce Commission’s appeal to the Supreme Court  in the leading New Zealand authority on section 36 of the Commerce Act
  • successfully acting for Meridian Energy Limited in its successful response to a High Court appeal brought against a finding by the Electricity Authority that an undesirable trading event had occurred on the wholesale electricity market
  • acting for Transpower New Zealand Limited in its successful judicial review of the Commerce Commission’s determination of its regulated cost of capital, and
  • successfully acting for Powerco Limited in striking out unjust enrichment proceedings.