Bell Gully

New Zealand

Review

Dispute resolution

Top full-service law firm Bell Gully is home to one of the largest and most respected dispute resolution teams in the country with 12 dedicated litigation partners. The practice encompasses a full range of practice areas and sectors, at all court levels and utilises all forms of dispute resolution including arbitration and mediation. The firm regularly features in the country’s most complex and landmark contentious matters. Its class action, insolvency, construction, regulatory and insurance specialties are noteworthy. The firm also boasts a strong Iwi and Maori practice.

The litigation team heads are Wellington-based Rachael Brown and Auckland-based David Friar. They lead a team of nearly 50 qualified dispute resolution lawyers.

The firm represented Asia Pacific Village Group in high court proceedings concerning the termination of its NZ$1.5 billion (US$1.04 billion) acquisition of Metlifecare. The dispute generated significant media attention in New Zealand and overseas due to its commercial significance and its potential precedential impact.

In an ongoing matter, the team is providing counsel to ASX-listed company AWN Holdings and its director Kevin Chin in defending a high-profile class action brought by Frances Fullarton on behalf of investors in the IPO of formerly NZX-listed Intueri Education Group. This is one of the most significant class actions currently underway in New Zealand and has received considerable media coverage.

The firm is also representing the Electricity Authority in a judicial review proceeding brought by Trustpower, challenging its decision to publish the transmission pricing methodology guidelines in June 2020. The issue is highly contentious within the electricity industry given the commercial significance of any change in the way Transpower’s costs are to be allocated.

During the research period, the firm promoted Blair Keown and Kirsty Dobbs to partners.

Core clients of the firm include Frucor Suntory New Zealand, Fruit Shippers, Genesis Energy, The Fletcher Construction Company, UDC Finance and Worldwide Leisure.