Richard Gordon

Partner - Dispute Resolution and Litigation

Richard is a highly experienced civil and commercial litigator. In addition to his expertise in the resolution of commercial disputes, he has particular experience in banking and securities law and insolvency. Richard has appeared as counsel in a large number of defended hearings in the District Court, High Court and Court of Appeal. As a member of MinterEllisonRuddWatts Band 1 Insolvency team, he is a well-known and trusted advisor to trading banks and key New Zealand insolvency practitioners.

Richard has acted on some of the most significant corporate insolvency cases in recent years, including for the receivers appointed to Capital + Merchant Finance, and for the Crown (Secretary to the Treasury) for various disputes arising out of the collapse of South Canterbury Finance and the wider Crown Deposit Guarantee Scheme (including pursuit of recovery of transferred assets from the Hubbard family).  A particular niche insolvency expertise of his is advising on voidable transaction claims, where amongst many other cases Richard has been the successful counsel in two of the most significant precedent-setting Court decisions of recent time – Timberworld v Levin and Ebert Construction v Sanson.

Other decided commercial cases Richard has argued include for breach of contract, professional negligence, Fair Trading Act and Companies Act actions, and a broad spread of general property and insurance disputes.  For examples see Sinclair v New Zealand Racing Board, Svitzer Salvage v Z Energy Limited, Hydro Developments v Coll and Tiroa E and Te Hape B trusts litigation (the Crafar farms/OIO judicial review proceeding).

Richard also acted for the Ministry of Education in successfully pursing its $200 million insurance claim for school buildings damaged by the Canterbury Earthquakes.

Being a litigator is about more than arguing the legal issues and Richard prides himself on his ability to build meaningful business relationships with his clients, and his reputation for providing pragmatic and results-focused advice.

Professional background

Recent work

US$40m coal mining dispute

Acted for Bathurst Resources Ltd to defend claims for a performance payment made by L&M Coal Holdings Ltd, after Bathurst had acquired Buller Coal Limited.

Bank of New Zealand

Advised BNZ in relation to the receivership of footwear retailer Banks Group Limited, and in particular in relation to the sale of the business and assets by the receivers.

Liquidators of Go Man Construction Ltd

Advised Shephard Dunphy as liquidators Go Man Construction Limited on the recovery of voidable transactions Go Man had made to Bunnings Limited.

The Directors of Prometheus Finance Limited

Acted for the directors of Prometheus in defence of damages claims by small offer shareholders, after the company went into receivership and then liquidation.

Ebert Construction Limited

Advised Ebert Construction Limited on a complex voidable transaction claim brought by the liquidators of Takapuna Procurement Limited. Acting for Ebert, we successfully appealed to the Court of Appeal, reversing the High Court’s decision setting aside multi-million dollar transactions.

New Zealand’s biggest-ever Ponzi scheme

Acting for various investors of Ross Asset Management Limited (in liquidation) in defence of clawback claims brought by its liquidators. The fraud was New Zealand’s biggest-ever Ponzi scheme.

Taharoa Ironsands Limited

Acting for Taharoa Ironsands Limited in proceedings against it and Toward Industries (Bluescope Steel) alleging breach of the share sale agreement for the sale and purchase of a mine.

Canterbury earthquake insurance claims

Acting for the Ministry of Education in progressing one of the largest insurance claims to come out of the Canterbury earthquakes, with over $200 million in damaged school buildings property in issue.

Representing key insolvency practitioners

Representing key insolvency practitioners (PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, KordaMentha and BDO Spicers) on various disputes arising out of receivership and liquidation appointments. These include competing security claims, the recovery (and resisting the recovery) of insolvent transactions and claims regarding alleged breaches of receivers and liquidators’ statutory duties.

Contested enforcement of security matters

Regularly acting for trading banks (ANZ National Bank, Bank of New Zealand, Kiwibank, The Co-Operative Bank (formerly PSIS) and Rabobank) and other financiers on contested enforcement of security matters.

Admitted

  • 1997, New Zealand

Qualifications

  • LLM (Hons), University of Auckland
  • LLB, University of Waikato

Affiliations

  • Board Member, RITANZ (Restructuring, Insolvency and Turnaround Association of New Zealand)

Specialisations

  • Banking and Finance Litigation
  • Commercial Claims
  • Creditor Claims
  • Insurance
  • Insolvency
  • Professional Negligence
  • Security Enforcement

Awards

  • Ranked as a Leading Individual – Restructuring and Insolvency, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific

Richard Gordon