Emma Hughes

Senior Associate


+64 9 920 9264

+64 27 379 3787


Emma is a commercial litigator and construction law advocate. As an expert construction lawyer, Emma acts for and advises her construction clients on delay and disruption claims, variation disputes, and defective building work.

Emma’s construction law expertise includes advising on the nuances of construction contracts, mitigating project risks, and seeking resolution through adjudication, arbitration, and court proceedings. She has appeared in the High Court and Court of Appeal.

In addition, Emma acts for private clients in proceedings in a range of matters including defamation, relationship property, trusts and estates. She also regularly works alongside senior barristers and King’s Counsel.

Clients highly value Emma’s expertise, complemented by her calm, trustworthy nature. She is an effective communicator and works diligently to ensure her clients are guided through the complexities of their case.

Client feedback includes:

  • “When it comes to quantity, Emma delivers an impressive volume of work without compromising on quality. She has an unwavering work ethic, and most recently was critical in the successful resolution of a dispute with a major sub-contractor who was facing liquidation proceedings.”
  • “Emma’s attention to quality has helped us avoid potential legal pitfalls and has been instrumental in safeguarding our interests.”
  • “Emma has consistently proven herself to be an invaluable asset and a true professional in her field…Emma’s commitment to achieving a positive outcome and her genuine care for her clients exemplify the qualities of an exceptional lawyer. I am incredibly grateful for her guidance and representation during this challenging and ongoing legal battle.”

Key Transactions

Advised and acted for:

  • New Zealand's largest construction company on construction disputes relating to major projects in New Zealand, in particular providing contract advice and interpretation, facilitating/driving alternative dispute resolution processes and arbitration.
  • A large construction client on a range of construction disputes, including significant delay cost claims against New Zealand and overseas entities, and assisting in adjudication and High Court proceedings.
  • Various clients in relation to defective building claims ranging from individuals to multi-party claims in the High Court.
  • Principals, contractors, developers on various projects, including earthworks and multi-unit apartments complexes. Emma has acted for these clients in various forums (arbitration, adjudication and court) addressing disputes relating to extensions of time, delay/disruption and variations. Emma regularly provides contract advice throughout the running of these projects to manage conflicts and avoid litigation.
  • Private clients in disputes over relationship property, seeking spousal maintenance, protection orders and parenting orders.
  • Defamation proceedings in the High Court.



  • Bachelor of Laws (LLB) (Hons), Bachelor of Arts (BA), University of Waikato

Admission to the Bar

  • New Zealand, 2012