AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Civil and Commercial Litigation, Companies and Securities Law, Public and Administrative Law

YEAR OF ADMISSION TO THE BAR
2009

DIRECT DIAL
+64 4 917 1083

FAX
+64 4 472 9029

MOBILE
+64 21 422 228

EMAIL
gareth.richards@stoutstreet.co.nz

Gareth is a barrister with ten years of experience in general commercial litigation and public and administrative law. He has experience as sole and junior counsel.

He has experience in claims for and against government agencies (judicial review, statutory appeals and private law claims), insurance law and general commercial litigation including contentious companies, real property, leasing, relationship property and intellectual property matters. He has appeared in the District Court, Environment Court, High Court and Court of Appeal; in mediations and before arbitral tribunals.

Prior to commencing practice as a barrister Gareth worked in research and advisory roles for the Leader of the Opposition and a senior Cabinet minister. He has a strong understanding of the legislative and select committee process. He also has an in-depth understanding of the Cabinet process, how ministers carry out their roles and how administrative law decisions are made by ministers and the public sector.

QUALIFICATIONS AND CAREER
  • Bachelor of Laws – Victoria University of Wellington (2009)
  • Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Political Science (First Class) – Victoria University of Wellington (2007)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Policy – Victoria University of Wellington (2007)
  • 2010 – Present: Barrister sole at Stout Street Chambers
  • 2008 – 2010: Ministerial Advisor to Minister of Education
  • 2007 – 2008: Researcher in the Office of the Leader of the Opposition
  • 2006: Public Law Tutor and Research Assistant at Victoria University of Wellington Law School

A selection of types of matters that Gareth has acted on as junior or sole counsel are set out below.

Property Law and Lease Disputes

  • Acting in leasing arbitrations with respect to lease obligations including following the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence and November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.
  • Acting for residential landowners challenging use of a right of way for commercial purposes including via an Environment Court appeal.
  • Acting in applications under the Property Law Act in respect of partition of land, recognition of easements, leasing disputes and landlocked land applications including Calder Stewart Industries Ltd v Joie De Vivre Canterbury Ltd (partition of industrial land) and Squally Cove Forestry Partnership v Wagg [2013] 3 NZLR 793 (CA) (successful appeal against a High Court decision which had granted relief to owners of landlocked land).

Claims involving central and local government agencies

  • Helilogging Ltd & others v Civil Aviation Authority – junior counsel for defendant (Civil Aviation Authority) in a claim alleging misfeasance in public office and deceit seeking damages in excess of $50 million. Appeared in summary judgment application in High Court (2015) and on appeal to Court of Appeal (2017). Subsequently appeared at a seven week High Court trial (2019) which resulted in all causes of action being dismissed and on appeal where the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s judgment in full (2021). The Supreme Court declined the plaintiffs’ application for leave to appeal (2021).
  • Greymouth Petroleum v Heritage New Zealand – junior counsel acting for appellants in successful appeal against HNZ’s decision declining an archaeological authority and successful application for costs against HNZ as decision maker.
  • Acting for a respondent bank in investigation by Privacy Commissioner into breach of Privacy Act.
  • Acting for former senior Ministers in a pre-commencement discovery application and associated invasion of privacy tort claim.
  • Acting for senior official in a select committee inquiry.
  • New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust v NIWA (High Court and Court of Appeal)  - junior counsel in successful defence at first instance and on appeal of a judicial review application concerning temperature records for New Zealand.
  • TFG Society Inc v Chief Executive Land Information New Zealand [2014] NZAR 743 - junior counsel for second respondent in successful defence of judicial review application concerning compliance with conditions on a consent to acquire New Zealand investments by the second respondent.
  • Acting or advising on judicial review applications concerning fishing limits, Treaty of Waitangi forestry settlements and acquisition of land for public works.

Insurance Law

  • Acting for a major insurer in High Court claim concerning EQC’s land damage coverage obligations following Canterbury Earthquake Sequence.
  • Acting for insurers and insureds in coverage disputes including general liability, professional indemnity and income protection insurance coverage.

Intellectual Property

  • 8 Mile Style LLC v National Party of New Zealand – junior counsel for the defendants in the High Court (2017), successful appeal reducing damages sum to the Court of Appeal (2018) and successful opposition to leave to appeal in the Supreme Court (2019).
  • Acting for parties seeking to protect intellectual property rights including through interim injunction applications.

Relationship Property and Trustee Claims

  • Acting on a claim resisting the application of section 182 of the Family Proceedings Act 1980 to a deed of debt: Booth v Booth in High Court (2019) and Court of Appeal (2020).
  • Acting on High Court claim alleging breach of trust and equitable estoppel in a family farming enterprise.
  • Acting for trustees in claims for personal liability as trustees.

Contract Law

  • Junior counsel in a successful claim for rectification of a contract: Booth v Poplar Farms [2019] NZHC 559.
  • Counsel for successful plaintiff seeking summary judgment for payment of unpaid invoices in Kevin O’Connor & Associates v Reeve [2017] NZHC 1749.
  • Successfully acting in an arbitration on a dispute between a privately held company and contractor on the interpretation of a management services agreement and whether an exit payment was due.
  • Acting for a New Zealand energy company on various contractual disputes.

Negligence

  • Acting for professionals and for property development entities in negligence claims.

Regulatory / Prosecutions / Investigations

  • Acting for a significant social services provider in a Police investigation into Crimes Act offences.
  • Acting for entities under investigation by professional bodies.
  • Provision of electoral law advice to entities with respect to donations and disclosure obligations.
  • Acting for persons and entities in Commerce Commission and Serious Fraud Office investigations and in inquiries into whether individuals should be disqualified as directors.
  • Acting for defendants in Resource Management Act prosecutions (defence of charges and sentencing).