Partner - Dispute Resolution and Litigation
Richard is a highly experienced civil and commercial litigator and co-leader of the firm’s dispute resolution division. 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 Bathurst Resources Limited and Buller Coal Limited v L&M Coal Holdings Limited, 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.
Landmark contract law case – Successfully defending a USD40 million claim over coal mining rights
Acting as successful counsel for Bathurst Resources Limited, defending claims for a US$40 million “performance payment” alleged to be due after Bathurst had acquired mining rights previously held by L&M Coal Holdings Limited. In its landmark decision overturning the Court of Appeal and dismissing L&M’s claim, the Supreme Court confirmed the principles of contractual interpretation applying in New Zealand, including when pre-contractual negotiations and post-contractual conduct can be admissible when interpreting a commercial contract.
Taharoa Ironsands Limited - NZD500 million damages claim
Acting for Taharoa Ironsands Limited in proceedings against it and Toward Industries (Bluescope Steel) alleging breach of the share sale agreement upon the sale and purchase of a mine.
First of its kind in New Zealand climate change proceedings
Acting for BT Mining Limited in defending the first ever private ‘climate change’ proceedings, brought against seven corporate defendants alleging negligence and/or public nuisance.
High Court rectification claim
Acting for significant New Zealand mining company in defending a rectification claim brought in the High Court regarding a contract for the hire of mobile mining equipment.
Defending TAB from a novel negligence claim
Successfully striking out a novel claim brought against TAB, which had alleged breach of a duty of care owed to the victims of a fraudster who was also a problem gambler.
Representing key insolvency practitioners
Representing key insolvency practitioners (PricewaterhouseCoopers, Grant Thornton, Deloitte and BDO) 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.
- 1997, New Zealand
- LLM (Hons), University of Auckland
- LLB, University of Waikato
- Board Member, RITANZ (Restructuring, Insolvency and Turnaround Association of New Zealand)
- Banking and Finance Litigation
- Commercial Claims
- Creditor Claims
- Professional Negligence
- Security Enforcement
- Ranked as a leading Restructuring and Insolvency lawyer, Chambers Asia Pacific
- Ranked as a Leading Individual – Restructuring and Insolvency, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific
- Ranked as Highly Regarded - Restructuring and Insolvency, The IFLR1000