Arbitration, Civil and Commercial Litigation, Companies and Securities Law, Competition Law, Construction Law, Energy Law, Equity and Trusts, Insurance Law, Intellectual Property, Public and Administrative Law


+64 4 917 1080

+64 4 917 1081

+64 21 332 512


Justin Smith is a leading Wellington based barrister who handles general commercial litigation at all levels.  He is a former Crown Prosecutor (1982-1986), was a partner at Kensington Swan at Wellington and Auckland (1988-1994) and a partner at Russell McVeagh in Wellington (1994-2007).

He was a member of Russell McVeagh’s Board of Management from 2001 to 2004 and the Chairman of that Board from 2004-2006.  He went to the independent bar in 2007 and was appointed King's Counsel in 2013.  He is a Council member of the New Zealand Bar Association.  He has represented numerous clients (individuals, voluntary associations, small businesses to the largest national and international corporates) at all levels (including tribunals, arbitral tribunals, select committees, ministerial inquiries, High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court).

  • Bachelor of Laws, Canterbury University

General Experience

  • general corporate and commercial litigation
  • securities litigation and regulatory claims (misleading prospectuses, insider trading, market manipulation, substantial security holder obligations)
  • companies and companies insolvency litigation (oppression, preferences, duties of receivers and liquidators, directors’ duties, claims on behalf of insolvent companies against third party advisors, eg auditors and valuers)
  • Commerce Act and Fair Trading Act cases
  • tax litigation
  • valuation arbitrations and litigation
  • construction
  • health and safety litigation for major corporates
  • professional indemnity cases involving solicitors, auditors, valuers and other professional constructive trust claims
  • judicial review of decisions of statutory bodies
  • choice of venue/forum non conveniens disputes
  • civil proceedings in negligent misrepresentation and fraud
  • professional disciplinary matters (Law Society, Quantity Surveyors Association, and others)
  • RMA and related resource consent litigation
  • property litigation
  • defamation
  • litigation involving infringement of copyright, trademarks, passing off, fair trading, business software piracy.
  • IT litigation

Client / Directory Comments

  • Listed in directories, e.g. Chambers, Expert Guides, Doyles

Appointments / Professional Work

  • Member AMINZ
  • NZLS Litigation Skills Faculty member, NZLS Expert Witness advocacy programme Faculty member, NZLS Advanced Litigation Skills advocacy programme Faculty Member
  • Board of Management Member Russell McVeagh 2001 – 2003
  • Chairman of Board of Management Russell McVeagh 2004 – 2005