AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Arbitration, Civil and Commercial Litigation, Conflict of Laws, International Law

YEAR OF ADMISSION TO THE BAR
2009

DIRECT DIAL
+64 4 917 1087

FAX
+64 4 472 9029

MOBILE
+64 21 034 2262

EMAIL
jack.wass@stoutstreet.co.nz

Jack practises civil litigation with an emphasis on commercial disputes, arbitration, and private and public international law. He has First Class degrees from Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Cambridge, and has practised as a barrister since 2009. He holds practising certificates in New Zealand and Victoria, Australia.

He has wide experience of complex commercial disputes, including contractual matters, trusts, company and insolvency law, property, construction and administrative law. He has appeared before the Courts at all levels, including the Supreme Court. His experience includes telecommunications, energy, insurance, finance and real estate.

Jack has a particular focus on public and private international law and arbitration. He has acted as counsel in these matters before the New Zealand courts, and has acted as secretary to a number of international arbitral tribunals concerning major investment disputes. He has provided advice on domestic and international law to clients from New Zealand and many overseas countries.

Jack publishes frequently in his specialist areas, and is the co-author of a textbook on The Conflict of Laws in New Zealand, supported by a substantial grant from the New Zealand Law Foundation. He is a member of a New Zealand Law Society Standards Committee (which considers complaints against lawyers) and its Law Reform Committee.

QUALIFICATIONS AND CAREER

Professional Career

  • 2009 to present - Barrister
  • 2009–2014 - Teaching Fellow, VUW
  • 2007–2008 - Student Editor-in-Chief, VUW Law Review
  • 2007–2008 - Summer Clerk, Minter Ellison Rudd Watts
  • 2006–2008 - Tutor, Victoria University of Wellington

Academic Qualifications

  • Master of Law (First Class) (Cambridge)
    • Winner of 3 Verulam Buildings Prize for top mark in International Commercial Litigation
    • Winner of Sir Emlyn Wade Prize for First in LLM at Gonville & Caius College
  • Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) (Victoria University of Wellington)
    • Quentin-Baxter Prize in Public and International Law
  • Bachelor of Arts (major in English Literature; minor in Classical Studies) (VUW)
  • Other study
    • Hague Academy of International Law (Public International Law Session)
    • New Zealand Law Society Litigation Skills Course

Jack has particular expertise in cross-border issues, including private international law (conflict of laws), public international law and arbitration. He has appeared in a number of leading cases in these areas.

Private international law (jurisdiction and choice of law):

  • Acting for the former Prime Minister of Georgia in a multimillion dollar claim against Credit Suisse and its trust companies (Ivanishvili v Credit Suisse AG, High Court)
  • Acting for a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, establishing that a representative personal injury claim was barred by issue estoppel and abuse of process, and also the leading case on the territorial scope of the Accident Compensation Act (McGougan v DePuy International Ltd, High Court and Court of Appeal)
  • Representing the successful defendants in a leading case on jurisdiction over foreign land, and applicable law for constructive trust and restitution claims (Schumacher v Summergrove Estates Ltd, Court of Appeal)
  • Acting for overseas corporations in relation to jurisdiction in product liability claims
  • Advising the administrator of a New Zealand estate on the recognition of competing foreign marriages
  • Advising defendant in overseas claim for clawback of dispositions under will

Private international law (interim relief and enforcement of judgments):

  • Acting for Commerce Commission in the leading case concerning the power of the New Zealand High Court to grant ex parte interim relief against foreign defendants (Commerce Commission v Viagogo AG, Court of Appeal)
  • Advising clients on drafting of dispute resolution clauses to ensure enforceability of judgments
  • Successfully acting on the enforcement of a Bahraini judgment (in a leading case on the definition of 'court' for the purpose of enforcement of foreign judgments) (Kuwait Finance House (Bahrain) BSC v Teece, High Court)
  • Acting for a multinational technology company successfully resisting injunction in aid of foreign proceedings (Alcatel-Lucent NZ Ltd v Juniper Networks Australia Pty Ltd, High Court)
  • Advising a New Zealand plaintiff on urgent interim relief in Australia under the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010
  • Advising multinational trust companies on the enforcement of foreign judgments concerning New Zealand trusts

Public international law:

  • Advising on questions of sovereign immunity, act of state and non-justiciability
  • Acting for accused in a matter concerning questions of international humanitarian law, law of armed conflict and criminal law
  • Advice to a major United Kingdom-based charity on questions of public and international law

Arbitration:

  • Acting on an appeal to the Supreme Court against refusal to set aside arbitral award on the basis of invalid arbitration clause (Carr v Gallaway Cook Allan, Supreme Court)
  • Advising on drafting of arbitration clauses in international contracts
  • Acting for a multinational maintenance services firm in an eight-figure arbitration arising out of the termination of a contract
  • Acting in multiple international arbitrations under SIAC Rules
  • Acting for a major telecommunications company in multiple arbitrations arising out of an infrastructure sharing agreement
  • Secretary or Assistant to international investment and commercial tribunals constituted under ICSID, UNCITRAL, SIAC and ICC Rules

Commercial litigation:

  • Representing major hotel chain in litigation over hotel investment in Tonga
  • Acting in dispute over application of voidable preference provisions in the Property Law Act 2007 and Companies Act 1993 to Ponzi schemes (McIntosh v Fisk, Court of Appeal)
  • Acting in a successful claim under Deed of Company Arrangement for Solid Energy (Gibson v Mobil Oil New Zealand Ltd, High Court)
  • Obtaining urgent ex parte interim orders in relation to management of a company
  • Acting in a dispute over commission on the sale of a telecommunications business (Prophecy Networks Ltd v Revera Ltd, High Court)
  • Acting in insurance coverage dispute (Crystal Imports Ltd v Allianz NZ Ltd, Court of Appeal)
  • Acting for plaintiff in complex negligence claim (Jojaro Investments Ltd v ASB Bank Ltd, High Court)
  • Acting for engineering company in dispute over option to purchase (Technix Group Ltd v Fitzroy Engineering Group Ltd, Court of Appeal)
  • Multiple successful applications for summary judgment

Regulation and compliance:

  • Advising multinational food and beverage company on Australian and New Zealand food regulation compliance
  • Advising beverage company on regulatory compliance
  • Advising on compliance with Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009
  • Acting for Commerce Commission intervening in dispute over electricity regulation (Vector Ltd v Electricity Authority, Court of Appeal)
  • Successfully defending appeal against Commerce Commission decision on the price for Chorus' regulated copper services (Chorus Ltd v Commerce Commission, Court of Appeal)
  • Successfully defending appeal against Financial Markets Authority decision to decline application for approval as an Authorised Financial Adviser (Wood v FMA, District Court)
  • Advising on compliance with consumer legislation (including Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 and Fair Trading Act 1986)

Public and criminal law:

  • Acting for Commerce Commission in judicial review of its report on Fonterra's milk price under Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 (Open Country Dairy Ltd v Commerce Commission)
  • Successful application for judicial review of a university's decision to uphold a finding of plagiarism (Bell v Victoria University of Wellington, High Court)
  • Successful appeal to Supreme Court overturning criminal conviction for historic offences (L v R, Supreme Court)

Other matters

  • Acting for defendant in substantial dispute over deceased estate and associated trust claims
  • Advising local authority on complex issues of property law
  • Advising local authority on rating issues
  • Acting in claim under Family Protection Act 1955
  • Acting in multiple claims under Property (Relationships) Act 1976
  • Acting in proceedings under Resource Management Act 1991

Jack has experience assisting businesses and regulators with investigations and decision-making processes, including:

  • Conducting an internal fraud investigation at the Sydney office of a multinational company, resulting in immediate repayment of the firm's losses
  • Advising the Commerce Commission on complex regulatory decision-making processes in telecommunications, energy and other sectors
  • Advising market participants on regulatory design issues

Jack has been involved in a number of law reform processes, including:

  • As a member of the New Zealand Law Society's Law Reform Committee, he prepared the Society's submission on the Brokering (Weapons and Related Items) Controls Act 2018 and appeared before the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee;
  • He co-drafted a submission on the Private International Law (Choice of Law in Tort) Act 2017. All but one of the submission's recommended amendments were adopted by Parliament, and the submission was acknowledged by several members of the House;
  • He proposed an amendment to the Arbitration Amendment Bill 2019 which was described as an important amendment by the expert adviser to the Justice Committee and was adopted by the Committee and the House;
  • He has advised the Commerce Commission on legislative amendments affecting its regulatory responsibilities.
  • Books and articles:
    • The Conflict of Laws in New Zealand (LexisNexis, 2020) (with Maria Hook). This is the first comprehensive textbook on the subject in New Zealand, and has been cited with approval by the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
    • "Jurisdiction by Estoppel and Acquiescence in International Courts and Tribunals" (2016) 86 British Yearbook of International Law.
    • Multiple articles in the New Zealand Law Journal, including "Interim relief in support of foreign arbitrations and judicial proceedings" [2017] NZLJ 134; "The Employment Relations Act and its effect on contracts governed by foreign law" [2017] NZLJ 80 (with Maria Hook); "Reform of choice of law rules for tort" [2017]NZLJ 27 (with Maria Hook); "Contribution between solvent and insolvent tortfeasors" [2014] NZLJ 332.
    • "The Situs of Insurance Debts" (2014) 20(4) New Zealand Business Law Quarterly 221.
    • “The Court’s In Personam Jurisdiction in Cases Involving Foreign Land” (2014) 63(1) International and Comparative Law Quarterly 103.
    • Butterworths Student Companion: Land Law (LexisNexis, Wellington, 2013).

    Law Reviews:

    • Student Editor-in-Chief of Special Symposium Issue on International Law and Democratic Theory (2007) 38(2) Victoria University of Wellington Law Review
    • Editorial Assistant, ICSID Review—Foreign Investment Law Journal