AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Arbitration, Companies and Securities Law, Competition Law, Energy Law, Insolvency Law, Insurance Law, Internet and Technology Law

YEAR OF ADMISSION TO THE BAR
1981

DIRECT DIAL
+64 4 915 9276

MOBILE
+64 21 614 831

EMAIL
mark.obrien@counsel.net.nz

Mark has practiced successfully as a commercial litigation lawyer and advocate for over 25 years. His areas of expertise include arbitration, company, competition, contract, insolvency, insurance and reinsurance, oil and gas, property, technology, and testementary estate issues.

Mark joined the independent bar in 2013.  Prior to this, he was a senior litigation partner with Bell Gully, having joined the firm in 1985 after two years with a London firm.  He became a partner with Bell Gully in 1988, was Chair of the firm’s Wellington office and Deputy Chair of the firm from 2003 to 2008.

He has appeared as counsel before all levels of the New Zealand courts, accumulating a broad experience from a variety of cases and issues. He is regularly involved in the analysis and resolution of disputes through litigation, arbitration, mediation and negotiation.

He is identified as a leading lawyer in Chambers Asia Pacific 2013, with the previous editions noting he “is well known for his regular involvement in complex commercial cases”.  Chambers has also described him as a “savvy advocate” with “good instincts” who “gets straight to the heart of thorny problems”.  He has also recognised as a leading litigation and dispute resolution lawyer by other international legal guides, including the Asia Pacific Legal 500 2013, Who’s Who Legal, PLC Which Lawyer and the IFLR1000.

QUALIFICATIONS AND CAREER
  • Bachelor of Laws, Victoria University

Recent Experience

  • Company – acting for listed and unlisted companies, and regulatory bodies, on company law, regulatory and associated matters including significant director claims and shareholder disputes;
  • Competition – acted for a prominent international airline and concluded the settlement of significant cartel proceedings in relation to surcharges in the air cargo industry; acted for one of the major trading banks on and co-led the resolution of proceedings alleging price fixing on credit card interchange fees;
  • Contract – a variety of contractual issues in various industry sectors including agriculture, banking, company, construction, energy, finance, film, mining, real estate, etc.;
  • Energy – representing leading oil and gas explorers and producers and electricity transmitters in recent cases, negotiations and regulatory issues;
  • Estates – a variety of cases for charitable institutions and individuals involving testamentary estates;
  • Film – acted for a leading NZ film company on the resolution of negotiations for a major production;
  • Insolvency – acting for liquidators and receivers on financial disputes, insolvencies and workouts, including several leading cases in the area, and was one of the initial contributing authors to Brookers ‘Insolvency Law’;
  • Insurance and reinsurance – acting on professional indemnity and D&O issues and on several matters arising from recent earthquake losses, including for a substantial lessor and for an international reinsurer on the defense of a significant summary judgment claim and ongoing issues;
  • Property – a variety of leading and other land issues;
  • Technology – advising on software and other technology related issues;
  • Trusts – acted in two leading constructive trust cases and advised on several others.