Mike is a very experienced advocate and practises in commercial and public law litigation. He has particular expertise in insolvency, energy, property and contractual disputes.
Mike has appeared in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in a number of leading cases.
He has been consistently recommended for dispute resolution by Asia Pacific Legal 500 and other leading law directories.
Qualifications and Career
LLB, Victoria University (1991).
BCA (Accounting), Victoria University (1991).
Mike joined the independent bar in 2017. Prior to that he spent the majority of his career at Bell Gully including 16 years as a partner. He served as a Board member and leader of the Wellington Litigation Department for a number of years.
Mike has also worked at Herbert Smith in London (1995-1996) and has lectured in banking law at Victoria University.
Recent and Notable Cases
- Acting for the liquidators of Ross Asset Management Limited on all aspects of the liquidation including recoveries against former investors. Ross Asset Management Limited is the largest Ponzi uncovered in New Zealand. Mike successfully argued in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court for the liquidators’ rights to claw back “fictitious profits” from investors:  2 NZLR 783;  NZSC 78. See also (2016) 11 NZCLC 98-046 in relation to a proprietary claim by a specific investor.
- Acting for the receivers of Kawarau Falls Station pursuing a large number of pre-sale purchasers of buildings and units within this Queenstown development. Mike appeared in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. The Supreme Court judgment is awaited. See: (2017) ANZ ConvR 17-061.
- Acting for ANZ National Bank on a range of lending, insolvency and mistaken payment matters in the High Court and Court of Appeal over approximately 20 years. See for example: ANZ v Boyce (2014) 16 NZCPR 281; Westpac Banking Corporation v M M Kembla New Zealand Ltd  2 NZLR 298.
- Acting for the receivers of Pike River Coal Limited (in receivership) in litigation related aspects of the receivership including the Royal Commission and related investigations.
- Acting for Todd Petroleum Mining Company Limited in a complex and lengthy arbitration to set the price for Kapuni Gas (2015). Mike also acted in the original Kapuni gas price arbitration in 1999.
- Acting for Todd Petroleum Mining Company Limited in relation to litigation concerning access rights to the Kapuni Gas Treatment Plant (2015 onwards).
- Acting for Anadarko in a judicial review by Greenpeace over an offshore exploration well:  NZRMA 112.
- Acting for Cheung Kong Infrastructure (CKI) on an arbitration and related High Court proceedings in New Zealand following the cancellation of a sale and purchase agreement for an iron sands mine (2009 to 2012).
- Acting for Origin Energy as operator of the development of the Kupe Field including in relation to contractual and land issues arising out of that development.
- Acting for the joint venturers of the Maui Gas Field on all matters concerning the redetermination of gas reserves in the field including High Court and Court of Appeal challenges to that determination:  1 NZLR 95;  3 NZLR 454.
- Acting for Todd Energy in an arbitration over joint venture arrangements in regard to a large co-generation facility.
- Acting for Origin opposing a judicial review proceeding by a competitor seeking to set aside an exploration permit obtained from the Ministry of Economic Development.
- Acting for various and numerous industry participants on force majeure claims, petroleum and mineral licensing issues and joint venture arrangements.
Other commercial and property litigation
- Acting for Stefan Lepionka on proceedings involving the actions of mortgagees and purchasers over land in Hawke’s Bay. This included a leading Court of Appeal decision on mortgagees’ duties ( 3 NZLR 36) and related High Court proceedings.
- Acting for Sir Robert Jones and his trustee company in successfully suing his former tax advisors for negligence:  1 NZLR 166; (2011) 25 NZTC 25,834.
- Acting for Environment Canterbury on proceedings involving the collapse of a bus company which gave rise to contractual and tortious claims against it.
- Acting for Pharmac in a five day High Court hearing on the interpretation of a pharmaceutical contract. The dispute involved expert statistical evidence on the calculation of contractual rebates.
- Acting on arbitrations relating to claims arising out of sale and purchase agreements for major businesses including banks and energy companies.
- Acting on negligence claims against auditors. See for example (2000) 6 NZBLC 103,012.
- Acting for the purchaser of a super yacht in relation to disputes arising out of the construction including claims for liquidated damages.
Public law and iwi
- Acting for Pharmac on a range of judicial review matters for a large number of years including a six day judicial review of its three decisions surrounding the funding of Herceptin – see  NZAR 101; a two day judicial review regarding the funding of asthma products; and a four day hearing on PHARMAC’s involvement in the Medsafe approval process: (2002) 16 PRNZ 361.
- Acting for Pharmac in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in a judicial review proceeding concerning the validity of a section 98 notice issued by the Commerce Commission against a pharmaceutical supplier:  1 NZLR 297; (2008) 12 TCLR 302.
- Acting for Waikato DHB in a judicial review proceeding to defend the award by it of a Laboratory Services Contract: (2007) 18 PRNZ 517.
- Acting for New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (the governing body of horse racing in New Zealand) on a number of judicial reviews and a large number of prosecutions of trainers, jockeys and other industry participants. See for example:  NZAR 547.
- Acting for Te Arawa iwi in challenges to its Treaty settlement with the Crown including a five day trial alleging breach of fiduciary duty by the negotiators; and subsequently in High Court and Court of Appeal judicial review proceedings by the New Zealand Maori Council against the Attorney-General alleging a breach of fiduciary duty on the part of the Crown in relation to the settlement:  1 NZLR 318.
- Acting for Tuhoe in litigious matters including the final stages of its settlement with the Crown.