AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Civil and Commercial Litigation, Companies and Securities Law, Competition Law, Construction Law, Employment Law, Environment and Local Government Law, Insurance Law, Maritime Law

YEAR OF ADMISSION TO THE BAR
1982

DIRECT DIAL
+64 4 917 1088

FAX
+64 4 917 1089

MOBILE
+64 21 663 753

EMAIL
les.taylor@stoutstreet.co.nz

I have practised as a commercial litigator for over 30 years. I have acted as Senior Counsel in various jurisdictions including the High Court, Court of Appeal, Privy Council, Supreme Court, Environment Court and Employment Court.

I have acted extensively for insurers (QBE, Vero, Lumley and NZI) advising on indemnity issues and defending insured claims including professional indemnity (solicitors, accountants, valuers, engineers and architects), public liability (building contractors, local authorities), Directors and Officers Liability and statutory liability (Occupational Safety and Health prosecutions). I also have considerable experience in:

  • Construction law (NZ counsel for contractor joint venture for construction of 9 km hydro tunnel, defence of various “leaky building” claims and defence of claims against architects and engineers)
  • Environment law (acted as Senior Counsel in Environment Court appeals) including consent for 100 turbine Mahinerangi wind farm
  • Shipping law (including successful defence of wrongful arrest claim for $5m).
  • Energy law (have acted in various arbitrations, High Court and Court of Appeal proceedings involving joint venture disputes in the oil and gas production industry including successful defence of $300m damages claim by Todd Pohokura Ltd against Shell New Zealand and OMV (now subject to appeal)
  • Commerce Act and Securities Act issues
  • Employment law (as Senior Counsel in the Employment Court)

In addition to the cases referred to below I have acted as senior counsel in numerous other cases primarily in the High Court and Court of Appeal and in arbitrations. I have also negotiated and settled hundreds of cases and have been involved in numerous mediations both as counsel and as a mediator.

QUALIFICATIONS AND CAREER

Qualifications

  • LLB (Hons), University of Canterbury 1980

Career

  • 2008 - present   Barrister sole, Stout Street Chambers
  • 2002 - 2007     Litigation Partner, Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, New Zealand
  • 1999 - 2001     Barrister sole, New Zealand
  • 1987 - 1999     Litigation Partner, Bell Gully, New Zealand
  • 1981 - 1987     Solicitor, Bell Gully, New Zealand
RECENT AND NOTABLE CASES
  • Todd Pohokura Ltd v Shell Exploration NZ Ltd and OMV High Court (successful defence of $300m claim, joint venture contract interpretation and Commerce Act issues, 10 week trial – subject to appeal)
  • Hunter Grain v J Swap Contractors Ltd – (fiduciary duty, knowing assistance, and conspiracy claims – 5 week trial)
  • Arrow International Ltd v QBE (Public Liability Policy – application to leaky buildings High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court)
  • Sir Robert Jones and Ors v WHK Sherwin Chan & Walshe & Ors (defence of damages claim against accountancy firm – one week trial)
  • Murray & Ors v Morel & Ors (Securities Act and Limitation Act issues, High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court)
  • Saxmere Co Ltd v Wool Board Disestablishment Co Ltd (No 2) (Supreme Court, 2009 second application relating to apprehension of bias of Court of Appeal Judge)
  • Department of Agriculture and Fisheries v Heli Harvest (successful defence of prosecution of helicopter operator including full recovery of costs of defence)
  • Commerce Commission v Shell New Zealand (successful defence of Commerce Commission prosecution relating to a Shell advertising campaign)
  • Harley v McDonald, (Solicitors liability for costs, Privy Council)
  • Gilbert v Shanahan Partners (Solicitors Negligence/Fiduciary Duty and Limitation Act, High Court and Court of Appeal)
  • Richmond Ltd v PPCS Ltd and Hawkes Bay Meat Ltd (Securities Act, Companies Act, High Court)
  • New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd v Greymouth Petroleum Ltd (Joint Venture dispute, High Court)
  • Stringer v Peat Marwick, High Court (Auditor’s duty of care)
  • University of Auckland v Tertiary Education Commission, High Court (judicial review)
  • General Distributors Ltd v Hailes (High Court Defendant’s summary judgment regarding alleged agreement to lease)
  • Ocean Towing & Salvage (Vanuatu) Ltd v Custom Fleet (NZ) Ltd (Alleged wrongful arrest of ship, High Court)
  • Bendall v Marshall & Ors (Minority Shareholders claim, Companies Act, High Court)
  • Twin Bright Shipping Co (Jody F Millenium) and anor v Tauwhareparae Farms Limited & Ors (statutory duty, duty of care, High Court and Court of Appeal)
  • Bryson v Three Foot Six Ltd (Employee/Independent Contractor, Supreme Court)
  • Erwood v Glasgow Harley, (Court of Appeal, Appeal of summary judgment as to liability. What constitutes “appearance” by defendant)
  • Clapperton v Orion New Zealand (contract, tort, Limitation Act Issues, High Court, Court of Appeal) – successful defence of $5m claim following 2 week trial)
  • Todd Petroleum Mining Company Ltd v Shell (Petroleum Mining) Company Ltd & Ors (Interpretation of Joint Venture Agreement, Commerce Act, High Court and Court of Appeal)
  • Commerce Commission v Fletcher Challenge, Court of Appeal (particulars required for claim by Commerce Commission – applicability of Commerce Act divestment provisions)
  • Living Word Distributors Ltd v Human Rights Action Group (Court of Appeal, Bill of Rights ct 1990 – freedom from discrimination v freedom of expression. Interpretation of Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993)
  • The Ship “Betty Ott” v General Bills Ltd (Court of Appeal, conflict of laws, priority of ships mortgages, equitable estoppel)
  • Ashburton Acclimatisation Society v Federated Farmers of New Zealand Inc (Court of Appeal. Interpretation of Water and Soil Conservation Act)
  • J J Geddes & Ors v Livestock Improvement Corporation Ltd & Ors (Tort, Fair Trading Act, Court of Appeal)
  • Comalco New Zealand Ltd v Television New Zealand Ltd (Court of Appeal and High Court)
  • Todd Energy Ltd v Taranaki District Council and Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd (Environment Court appeal re consents for proposed dual fuel energy centre)
  • Davies v Dulux NZ Ltd (Employment Court. Wages Protection Act – unlawfulness of deducting superannuation contributions)
  • Chief Executive of the Ministry of Maori Development v Travers-Jones, (Employment Court, unjustified dismissal and disadvantage claim – challenge to determination of the ERA of unjustified dismissal and award of reinstatement. Whether serious misconduct allegations made out. Effect of defendant’s conduct on reinstatement remedy)
  • Daly v Chief Executive of the Department of Corrections (Employment Court)
  • Chief Executive, Department of Corrections v Harris (Employment Court)
  • Goodall v Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Corrections (Employment Court)
  • Unilever New Zealand Ltd (formerly Lever Rexona New Zealand Ltd) v Macdonald (Employment Court)
  • New Zealand Seafearers Union Inc v Silver Fern Shipping Ltd (Employment Court, collective employment contract – unilateral reduction in wages and genuiness of redundancy. Attempt to employ non union labour/true employer, piercing corporate veil)