Litigation & dispute resolution

Litigation & dispute resolutionLitigation & dispute resolution

Successful dispute resolution for the most difficult and high-risk problems

Chapman Tripp acts on New Zealand’s most significant commercial disputes.  We are the firm leading businesses and entities turn to when faced with highly public and potentially damaging situations to their reputations or financial positions.

We act on the full range of disputes, including those arising from business acquisitions, securities regulation, property and construction, public law, general contract and employment law, and we have specialists in each of these areas.

Our lawyers also advise on managing risk and protecting important business, public and personal interests. We are used to working on significant matters with legal, commercial, political and economic considerations and balancing diverse interests.

Our national team, with lawyers based in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, has a strong track record before all levels of the court system including in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and the Privy Council. We have substantial experience across the full range of dispute resolution mechanisms, including international arbitration, arbitration and mediation.

Ranked Tier One for dispute resolution work by independent legal directories Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2016 and Chambers Asia Pacific 2016Highly recommended by Asia Law profiles 2016.



We have represented

  • four of Solid Energy’s major bank creditors, ANZ Bank New Zealand, Bank of New Zealand, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac, in litigation brought by the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi against Solid Energy and the four banks, challenging the financial restructuring package for Solid Energy announced in October 2013
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) – advising PwC on contentious issues arising out of the receivership of the Strategic Finance companies, including on the recovery of loans and investments in New Zealand, Australia and Fiji. This receivership involves unusually complex loan structures, and will rank alongside South Canterbury Finance and Bridgecorp as one of the largest failures of a financial institution in New Zealand in the last 20 years
  • Bathurst Resources and its New Zealand subsidiary Buller Coal Limited in various court proceedings resulting from Bathurst’s resource consent application for a coal mine (estimated 4.6m tonne coal reserve) on the Denniston Plateau on the West Coast of the South Island
  • Vector – successfully acting for Vector in the High Court, and in earlier arbitration against the Kapuni Mining Companies (KMC) relating to Vector’s entitlements to gas from the Kapuni gas field, New Zealand’s oldest producing gas and condensate field
  • EQC – representing EQC, the New Zealand Earthquake Commission, in various High Court proceedings concerning insurance entitlements for natural disaster events. Chapman Tripp has been EQC’s primary legal adviser as the agency responds to claims. So far the damage has generated in excess of 460,000 claims and EQC’s potential exposure runs to over NZ$12b
  • STP Energy (Singapore) in a significant energy dispute concerning rights over offshore petroleum. Chapman Tripp is representing STP Energy in London ICC arbitration proceedings against Discovery Geo Corporation (Texas), including attending a London hearing on preliminary issues in December 2013. A second ICC arbitration was commenced by Discovery Geo against STP Energy in December 2013, on which Chapman Tripp is also instructed
  • the New Zealand cricket team captain in a defamation claim against John Parker and current issues relating to the match-fixing investigation into Chris Cairns
  • Canterbury District Health Board and Housing New Zealand in relation to their substantial negotiations with their respective insurers for losses incurred from the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes
  • Shanghai Pengxin – successfully acted in various court proceedings for Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin Group relating to its application to New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office (OIO) for the purchase of substantial dairy farming assets including over 7800 Ha of land (the Crafar Farms) in New Zealand
  • BlueScope Steel subsidiaries New Zealand Steel and Toward Industries, in High Court challenges to arbitral awards bought by Hong Kong listed Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings
  • New Zealand Mines Rescue Trust at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Pike River Coal Mine disaster, the closing hearing of which was held in Greymouth in April 2012. The inquiry sat for 11 weeks, split into four phases
  • a leading international engineering corporation defending the New Zealand Commerce Commission’s claim that it was involved in a possible price-fixing cartel for gas-insulated switchgear in New Zealand
  • New Zealand’s largest telecommunications provider in its decade-long dispute against the Commerce Commission over Spark's (formerly Telecom) 0867 dial-up internet package introduced in 1990. On 1 September 2010 the Supreme Court issued a definitive judgment on this difficult area of competition law, endorsing the test proposed by Spark
  • Meridian Limited, New Zealand Steel Limited, New Zealand Sugar Limited, Switch Utilities Limited and Powershop Limited – successfully acted in the High Court for these parties in opposing appeals brought against the decision of the Electricity Authority that an Undesirable Trading Situation existed in the New Zealand wholesale electricity market on 26 March 2011.  The case was the first time that the High Court had considered the statutory and regulatory provisions relating to Undesirable Trading Situations in the electricity market
  • a United Kingdom investor against the Indonesian Government in the first bilateral investment treaty arbitration hearing ever held in New Zealand (in February 2012). The decision, which will be the fifth time the new summary dismissal powers in the ICSID Arbitration Rules have been considered by an arbitral tribunal, is reserved
  • New Zealand Post (a State-Owned Enterprise) start-up, Localist, in successful High Court cyber-squatting and brand-jacking litigation against the Yellow Pages Group
  • a confidential client on a long-running multimillion dollar international arbitration, regarding the sale of a major item of New Zealand infrastructure
  • Japan Airlines – assisting in defending Japan Airlines in Commerce Commission proceedings alleging anti-competitive cartel operations relating to transportation of cargo. The case was a significant test case relating to the “jurisdictional reach” of the Commerce Act
  • Valley Longwall International Pty Limited and associated companies in relation to the Pike River coal mine disaster 
  • Diagnostic Medlab in the High Court and Court of Appeal in its challenge to have a NZ$560m pathology contract set aside on the basis of an unfair tender process

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