Dan Hughes



+64 9 920 6472

+64 21 773 958


Dan Hughes is head of our litigation practice and is an experienced commercial litigator with 20 years experience. His experience in insolvency has led to achievements in unchartered areas for New Zealand law, including being the first to apply and successfully obtain recognition of a U.S. bankruptcy in New Zealand and to also have New Zealand liquidators recognised and appointed in Australia.

Dan also has numerous reported decisions in leading construction cases which interface with insolvency law. Dan also has extensive experience in general commercial litigation having represented large organisations, including listed companies and institutional Banks both here and those based in Australia.

He has successfully appeared in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, Maori Appellate Court, Maori Land Court and of course the District Court. He has also assisted clients in the Sydney Federal Court and the Circuit Courts in the United States.

Dan is regularly highly regarded in the international directories with comments including:

‘The firm is nimble, creative and extremely good with clients and advocacy alike. Dan Hughes is the stand out performer.’

‘Dan Hughes is a tough but sensible litigator. He is responsive, efficient and clearly well liked and respected by his clients. He can see clearly the right route for successfully resolving problems, and is decisive.’

Key Transactions

Advised and Acted:

  • For banks and major credit organisations.
  • For liquidators, receivers and administrators both here and in Australia.
  • For creditors against liquidators and receivers.
  • For large and small businesses in commercial disputes.
  • For government in-roading and property disputes.
  • For creditors in recovery actions.


  • Asia Pacific Legal 500, Dispute Resolution, Restructuring and Insolvency, Leading Individual, 2020-2024
  • IFLR1000, Restructuring and Insolvency, Highly Regarded, 2022-2023
  • Asialaw Profiles, Leading Lawyer/Individual
  • New Zealand Lawyer Magazine, 'Hot List'


  • Bachelor of Laws (LLB), Bachelor of Arts (BA), Victoria University of Wellington
  • Master of Laws (LLM) (Hons), University of Auckland

Admission to the Bar

  • New Zealand, 2002

Professional Memberships

  • New Zealand Credit and Finance Institute, Member
  • INSOL New Zealand, Member
  • Insolvency Practitioners Association of Australia, Member
  • Insolvency Committee of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association, Vice-Chair

Contributed Articles

  • Mainzeal – Supreme Court recognises two “new” causes of action for creditors

    The Supreme Court recently released its decision in relation to the long-running directors’ duty case, Yan v Mainzeal Property and Construction Limited (in liquidation) [2023] NZSC 113 (Mainzeal). In the wake of the release, there have been a flurry of articles and hot-takes from journalists and legal commentators that canvass the main factual and legal […]

  • What will happen to my scheduled Court case?

    This FAQ is intended to clarify some of the uncertainty about proceedings that are currently on-foot (i.e. filed before or during the Level 4 alert restrictions).   The information contained in this FAQ is focused primarily on proceedings filed in the High Court. However, there will also be a degree of carryover to proceedings in […]

  • Safe harbour for directors – Relief for businesses or storm brewing?

    Parliament is introducing legislation to amend the Companies Act to assist companies facing solvency issues as a result of COVID-19. The hope is that this will assist companies to trade through and keep employees on board during this time of crisis. The proposed changes The proposed changes are temporary and will include the following: Giving […]

  • Court proceedings under COVID-19 alert level four

    At midnight on Wednesday 25 March 2020 New Zealand moved into COVID-19 alert level 4, after which, only essential services remain operating.   The Ministry of Justice has advised that the Courts will be closed to the public, and only essential and critical Courts will be operating (including parts of the Criminal and Family Courts). […]

  • The ‘Clean Slate’ Act – What you need to know

    Like many millennials, the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 (Act) remains widely misunderstood. It seems that people either grossly exaggerate its power and scope, or reduce its operation to a twink pen for drink driving convictions. Misconceptions about the Act have made both reliance and compliance a fraught process. This article attempts to clear […]