LLB, BA (Victoria University)
Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand
Admitted to practise in England and Wales
Michael is a highly experienced commercial litigator with extensive experience as an advocate appearing in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Michael also appears before arbitrators and tribunals and regularly represents clients in mediations. Prior to joining Morrison Mallett in late 2016, he headed the commercial litigation department at a leading New Zealand commercial law firm, having previously worked in London as a Senior Associate in the dispute resolution department at Baker & McKenzie. In addition to Michael’s legal experience, he has played cricket to regional representative level in New Zealand and at premiere club level in the UK. Michael retains an involvement in cricket through his chairmanship of the Cornwall Cricket Development Foundation and is also an active and participating sailor at the Wakatere Boating Club on the North Shore in Auckland.
- Dispute Resolution and Commercial Litigation.
- Corporate Insolvency and Debt Recovery including Personal Property Securities Act 1999.
- Property and conveyancing related disputes.
- Trusts (domestic and NZ foreign/ managed trusts and trust law based litigation) and civil fraud.
- Company and Directors Duties.
- Professional Negligence.
- Trade Practices.
- Securities Law.
IMPORTANT RECENT CASES INCLUDE:
- Northlake Investments Ltd v Wanaka Medical Centre Ltd  NZHC 3443 – successfully defended four causes of action at the Invercargill High Court over two weeks regarding a proposed agreement to lease, including equitable estoppel and quantum meruit claims and obtained increased costs award.
- Re Farmers Trading Co Ltd  NZHC 2987 – successfully obtained orders under ss 66 and 73 of the Trustee Act 1956 in respect of a trust established in 1927 for company employees and the resettlement of trust assets into an incorporated society.
- Mudajaya Corporation Berhad v Keng  NZHC 1436, 1693 – acted for a Malaysian multinational corporation to successfully obtain interim freezing orders to secure substantial funds allegedly misappropriated to New Zealand.
- SKP Incorporated v Auckland Council  NZHC 900 – acted for Kennedy Point Boatharbour Ltd in successfully opposing an application to appeal the Environment Court granted consent for a major marina on Waiheke Island.
- Priest v Ross Asset Management Ltd  NZHC 1803 – acted for successful plaintiffs in respect of their claims to recover shares held by two companies formerly owned and managed by Mr David Ross, involving complex issues as to bare trusts, equitable tracing, competing equities and corporate insolvency.
- BDM Grange Limited v Trimex Ltd  NZHC 2469,  NZCA 12,  NZHC 1259 – acted for defendant in its successful defence of claims brought following the termination of a long term distribution agreement based on allegations of partnership and/or joint venture with alleged breaches of fiduciary duties. Counterclaims were also successfully pursued seeking recovery of unpaid royalties. A second proceeding was also successfully struck out and the plaintiff company liquidated.
- Messenger v Stanaway Real Estate Ltd  NZHC 1795 – acted for successful plaintiffs in pursuing negligence claims against their real estate agent.
- Official Assignee v Kingston  NZHC 1416 and  NZCA 415 – acted for defendant in complex property dispute concerning issues as to settlement procedures and futility of tender.
- StockCo Ltd v Gibson  11 NZCLC 98-010 – acted for StockCo against receivers of the Crafar Group of companies appointed by Group’s lenders, Westpac, Rabobank and PGG Wrightson, in respect of complex issues as to the correct priority of competing security interests registered over livestock under the Personal Property Securities Act 1999.
- Diver v Loktronic Industries Ltd  2 NZLR 388 – acted for successful appellant in overturning a High Court judgment finding liability in respect of the intentional economic torts of inducing breach of contract, interference with business by unlawful means and conspiracy by unlawful means.
- New Technology Business Solutions Group Ltd v Appello Services Ltd  NZHC 1024 – acted for successful defendant in High Court proceedings defending against injunctive relief seeking to terminate various software licences.
- Rabobank New Zealand Ltd v StockCo Ltd  13 TCLR 191 – acted for the successful defendant and counterclaimant, StockCo, in defeating Rabobank’s claims to priority under the PPSA of its security interests over livestock. The case raised complex issues as to registration requirements on the PPSR, competing priorities and bank releases of security interests.
- Acted for the Financial Markets Authority in respect of civil claims for recovery of compensation and penalties under Sections 55-57 of the Securities Act 1978 against directors of a major failed finance company.
- Acted for Berkshire Fund III in respect of the $260 million claim brought by the Securities Commission alleging insider trading in the shares of Tranzrail.
- Represented four of the Indian-based directors in responding to the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy.