AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Arbitration, Civil and Commercial Litigation, Companies and Securities Law, Energy Law, Equity and Trusts, Insolvency Law, Maori and Treaty of Waitangi issues, Mediation, Public and Administrative Law

DIRECT DIAL
+64 4 260 5040

MOBILE
+64 21 429 625

EMAIL
mike.colson@stoutstreet.co.nz

Mike practises in commercial and public law litigation with a particular expertise in insolvency, energy, property and contractual disputes.  He also acts on Te Tiriti related matters.

Mike has appeared in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in a number of leading cases.

He has been consistently recommended by Chambers and Partners and other leading law directories.

QUALIFICATIONS AND CAREER

LLB, Victoria University (1991).

BCA (Accounting), Victoria University (1991).

Mike joined the independent bar in 2017 and took silk in 2021.  Prior to that he spent the majority of his career at Bell Gully including 16 years as a partner.

Mike also worked at Herbert Smith in London (1995-1996) and has lectured in banking law at Victoria University.

Insolvency

  • Acting for Harbour Asset Management Limited as representative plaintiff in a class action relating to the collapse of CBL (ongoing).
  • Acting for the liquidators of Stonewood Homes Limited in a reckless trading claim against the former directors including challenges to the litigation funding arrangements: [2019] NZHC 802.
  • Acting for the liquidators of Ross Asset Management Limited on all aspects of the liquidation including recoveries against former investors.  Ross Asset Management Limited is the largest Ponzi uncovered in New Zealand.  Mike successfully argued in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court for the liquidators’ rights to claw back “fictitious profits” from investors: [2016] 2 NZLR 783. See also (2016) 11 NZCLC 98-046 in relation to a proprietary claim by a specific investor.
  • Acting for the receivers of Kawarau Falls Station pursuing a large number of pre-sale purchasers of buildings and units within this Queenstown development.  Mike appeared in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court [2018] 1 NZLR 378.
  • Appointed amicus curiae in the Court of Appeal in relation to two appeals over the process to be followed when setting liquidator remuneration (2021). Judgment awaited.
  • Acting for certain retention creditors of Decmil seeking to have an independent receiver appointed to the retention fund (2021). Judgment awaited.
  • Acting for PwC to have them appointed as receivers of the Ebert Construction retention fund: [2018] NZHC 2934.

Energy

  • Acting for Todd Petroleum Mining Company Limited in a lengthy arbitration to set the price for Kapuni Gas (2015).
  • Acting for Todd Petroleum Mining Company Limited in relation to litigation concerning access rights to the Kapuni Gas Treatment Plant (2015-2021).
  • Acting for Cheung Kong Infrastructure on an arbitration and related High Court proceedings in New Zealand following the cancellation of a sale and purchase agreement for an iron sands mine (2009 to 2012).
  • Acting for the joint venturers of the Maui Gas Field on all matters concerning the redetermination of gas reserves in the field including High Court and Court of Appeal challenges to that determination: [2004] 1 NZLR 95; [2004] 3 NZLR 454.
  • Acting for Todd Energy in an arbitration over joint venture arrangements in regard to a large co-generation facility.
  • Acting for various and numerous industry participants on force majeure claims, petroleum and mineral licensing issues and joint venture arrangements.

Commercial and property litigation

  • Acting for Stefan Lepionka on proceedings involving the actions of mortgagees and purchasers over land in Hawke’s Bay.  This included a leading Court of Appeal decision on mortgagees’ duties ([2016] 3 NZLR 36) and related High Court proceedings including having the original developer of the land declared a vexatious litigant: [2020] NZHC 2184.
  • Acting for Sir Robert Jones and his trustee company in successfully suing his former tax advisors for negligence: [2013] 1 NZLR 166; (2011) 25 NZTC 25,834.
  • Acting for Environment Canterbury on proceedings involving the collapse of a bus company which gave rise to contractual and tortious claims against it.
  • Acting on arbitrations relating to claims arising out of sale and purchase agreements for major businesses including banks and energy companies.
  • Acting on negligence claims against auditors and lawyers. See for example (2000) 6 NZBLC 103,012.

Public law 

  • Acting for Pharmac in a coronial inquiry in relation to its funding of an anti-epilepsy drug (2021).
  • Acting for Pharmac on a range of judicial review matters including a six day judicial review of its three decisions surrounding the funding of Herceptin – see [2010] NZAR 101; a two day judicial review regarding the funding of asthma products; and a four day hearing on PHARMAC’s involvement in the Medsafe approval process: (2002) 16 PRNZ 361.
  • Acting for Anadarko in a judicial review by Greenpeace over an offshore exploration well: [2014] NZRMA 112.
  • Acting for Pharmac in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in a judicial review proceeding concerning the validity of a section 98 notice issued by the Commerce Commission against a pharmaceutical supplier: [2010] 1 NZLR 297; (2008) 12 TCLR 302.
  • Acting for Waikato DHB in a judicial review proceeding to defend the award by it of a Laboratory Services Contract: (2007) 18 PRNZ 517.
  • Acting for New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (the governing body of horse racing in New Zealand) on a number of judicial reviews and a large number of prosecutions of trainers, jockeys and other industry participants. See for example: [2017] NZAR 547.
  • Acting for Origin opposing a judicial review proceeding by a competitor seeking to set aside an exploration permit obtained from the Ministry of Economic Development (2006)

Te Tiriti

  • Acting for Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki Nui-ā-Rua Settlement Trust in a lengthy remedies claim in the Waitangi Tribunal and a subsequent High Court challenge: [2021] NZHC 654.
  • Acting for MFAT on a Waitangi Tribunal claim concerning whether it breached its obligations under Te Tiriti in entering into a free trade agreement.
  • Acting for the Attorney-General in relation to proceedings commenced  by Ngāi Tahu seeking a declaration that they hold kaitiakitanga over all South Island fresh water (ongoing).
  • Acting for the Attorney-General in relation to proceedings seeking a declaration that customary ownership in the Poroti Springs has not been extinguished (ongoing).
  • Acting for Te Arawa iwi in challenges to its Treaty settlement with the Crown including a five day trial alleging breach of fiduciary duty by the negotiators; and subsequently in High Court and Court of Appeal judicial review proceedings by the New Zealand Maori Council against the Attorney-General alleging a breach of fiduciary duty on the part of the Crown in relation to the settlement: [2008] 1 NZLR 318.
  • Acting for Tuhoe in a range of matters including the final stages of its settlement with the Crown.