Russell McVeagh

New Zealand

Review

Dispute resolution

The dispute resolution group at Russell McVeagh enjoys an excellent market reputation. Its litigators are known for their involvement in complex commercial litigation and crisis management, class actions, construction disputes and insolvency litigation. The group recently expanded through the hiring of three senior associates, a special counsel and a partner.

Senior litigators Malcolm Crotty and Matt Kersey lead a team of ten disputes-related partners, including Chris Curran and Polly Pope.

In a highly complex case, the firm is acting as NZ counsel to KPMG as liquidators. The matter involves the liquidation of a trans-Tasman brokerage with A$250 million in funds claimed by over 11,000 investors and two of the Australian company's shareholders. The fund is commingled and deficient and requires coordinated hearings between the Federal Court of Australia and the High Court of New Zealand.

In a class action suit funded by Omni Bridgeway, the firm led a product liability claim against certain manufacturers of alucobond and vitrabond polyethylene core cladding products. Litigation funding and funded class actions are not common in New Zealand.

The firm was triumphant for its client, The Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation (Guardians), in successfully defending a judicial review proceeding alleging a breach of its governing statute. This was the first case to judicially review Guardians and its investment decisions in relation to the NZ$47 billion New Zealand Superannuation Fund that it manages. It has potential precedential value for the investment of Crown funds beyond Guardians and for claims related to responsible investment.

Over the past 18 months, the firm has been at the forefront of legal developments as they arise with respect to COVID-19, both in relation to the economic consequences and the impacts of governmental policy and law-making.

Key clients in the past 12 months include Bath Street Capital, Calibre Partners, Credit Suisse, Lendlease Capital Services and TSB Bank.

Marika Eastwick-Field

“Marika is an excellent technical lawyer, but for me, her communication skills and ability to calmly traverse any hiccup are the things that set her apart. Marika is also genuinely appreciative of us as a client and makes us feel important and valued.”