Peter is recognised internationally as one of New Zealand’s leading insurance lawyers. Over the last 10 years he has focused on property claims for earthquake damage in Canterbury and Marlborough. In 2022, Peter was appointed as the Independent Specialist Adviser to the Government’s Finance and Expenditure Select Committee in respect of the Natural Hazards Insurance Bill (which is to replace the Earthquake Commission Act 1993), a testament to his expertise.
In addition, Peter advises clients on a wide range of commercial disputes, including commercial property, company law, contract interpretation, construction (including leaky homes), defamation, franchise, insurance and intellectual property.
Peter’s insurance work includes leading cases for property damage and broader issues of insurers’ misconduct. He led the claim by Mr and Mrs Dodds against Southern Response Earthquake Services Limited, where the Court determined that Southern Response had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and it had misrepresented the amount that the Dodds were entitled under their Policy. That judgment applies to approximately 3000 claims and will mean approximately $400m is going to be paid to homeowners in Christchurch. Peter also led a successful class action against the Earthquake Commission, which led to the Commission accepting that it had not used the correct standard of repair.
Peter and his team have represented hundreds of residential and commercial property owners, including the leading reported cases for TJK (NZ) Ltd and for Emmons Developments NZ Ltd (where the total sum insured is approximately $190m).
In addition to insurance litigation, Peter has a broad international commercial litigation practice, regularly appearing in the High Court and the Court of Appeal and at arbitrations. He has also appeared before the Royal Commission into the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy and the Canterbury Earthquake Royal Commission.
Peter co-presented the NZ Law Society Seminar on “Insurance – New Challenges” and co-hosted numerous free public meetings on earthquake damage issues. He is a qualified mediator and the Chairman of The Te Kura Trust Foundation and a Trustee of The Lighthouse Vision Trust.
- The Government's Finance and Expenditure Select Committee in respect to the Natural Hazards Insurance Bill (which is to replace the Earthquake Commission Act 1993) - in the an Independent Specialist Adviser.
- Numerous commercial property owners on insurance issues arising from the Canterbury earthquakes, including in respect of BI claims, access issues, demolition requirements and insurance entitlements.
- The successful plaintiff in the leading authority TJK (NZ) Ltd v Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. Ltd, winning a multi-million dollar payment.
- An international software development company in a claim for damages in excess of $US5 million.
- The New Zealand subsidiary of a United States listed company at the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy.
- Numerous home owners in Court and the WHT for claims for leaky homes defending builders and other trades in weather-tightness claims in the WHT, District Court and High Court.
- As New Zealand Counsel in international litigation arising from alleged breaches of a supply contract where $10 million damages were claimed.
- The New Zealand subsidiaries of an Australian based multinational in an High Court proceeding where conspiracy and unjust enrichment were alleged and damages in excess of $4 million were sought.
- Asia Pacific Legal 500, Recommended Lawyer, 2017-2023
- Chambers and Partners, Ranked, 2017-2023
Bachelor of Laws (LLB), Bachelor of Science (BSc), University of Canterbury
Master of Laws (LLM) Advanced Litigation, University of Nottingham
Accredited Mediator, Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution, UK
Admission to the Bar
New Zealand, 1985
England and Wales, 1992
New Zealand Insurance Law Association, Member
Society for Construction Law, Member
Franchise Association of New Zealand, Member, Mediation Panel
Peter has presented at the ALFA International Client Seminar, New Zealand Law Society and is a trustee of the Lighthouse Vision Trust. He is the co-author of the New Zealand Chapter in ‘International Guide to Money Laundering Law and Practice’ (Third and Fourth Editions)