Damian Chesterman


Telephone: +64 9-307-8775

Mobile: +64 21-848-048

Fax: +64 9 307 8776

[email protected]

Post: Bankside Chambers, Level 22, 88 Shortland Street, Auckland, New Zealand 1140.

Damian is a highly experienced trial lawyer.  His practice is primarily focused on civil and commercial litigation in the High Court.
Damian has recent and extensive experience throughout New Zealand as lead counsel in claims relating to land, leases, trusts, contracts, negligence, product liability, civil fraud and employment.

Recent and Notable Cases

  • Robt. Jones Holdings Ltd v Northern Crest Investments Ltd (2010) 11 NZCPR 206 (HC); Related decision: Northern Crest Investments Ltd v Robt Jones Holdings Ltd (2009) 10 NZCLC 264,515; (2009) 19 PRNZ 258 (HC):  Counsel for Robt. Jones Holdings Limited (RJHL), in various commercial lease disputes including this High Court claim for $900,000(approx.) in which RJHL were granted Judgment as to liability and damages were then settled out of court.  RJHL is one of the largest landlords in New Zealand.
  • Duco Limited v Gordon Ramsay & Ors CIV-2010-404-7815:  Counsel for Duco Limited, in its $2.5m High Court claim against celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, for failing to attend events in New Zealand.   This claim settled in March 2012.  Duco is a prominent events and promotions company.
  • Casares v Oktobor Group Ltd [2012] NZHC 606:  Counsel for Oktobor Group Limited, in its successful defence in April 2012 of a claim in the High Court based upon quantum meruit for commission of $500,000(approx.).  Oktobor is a wholly owned subsidiary of Australian multi-national, Omnilab Media Group.
  • Registrar-General of Land v Burmeister [2012] NZCA 340; Burmeister v Registrar-General of Land [2011] 2 NZLR 678; (2011) 12 NZCPR 704 (HC).  Counsel in the Court of Appeal in May 2012 representing the Burmeisters in their statutory claim for compensation against the Registrar General of Land (‘RGL’).   The Burmeisters successfully opposed the RGL’s appeal.  This case will now proceed to a substantive hearing and is the first time a claim has been brought under s 172(b) of the Land Transfer Act.
  • Burmeister v O’Brien [2010] 2 NZLR 395; (2011) 12 NZCPR 9; (2009) 12 TCLR 539;  (HC):  Counsel for the Burmeisters in this 2-week trial in the High Court, in which claims of Land Transfer fraud, deceit, misleading and deceptive conduct; knowing receipt and accessory liability were proved against three defendants.  Related decisions include: Burmeister v O’Brien [2008] 3 NZLR 842; (2009) 9 NZBLC 102,415 (HC); Burmeister v O’Brien (2006) 7 NZCPR 440; (2006) 11 TCLR 737 (HC).
  • Bloor v IAG New Zealand Ltd HC Rotorua CIV-2004-463-425, 19 March 2010, 33 TCL 14/3:  Counsel for the plaintiff in this 2 ½ week trial in the High Court, in which damages and costs of $1m (approx.) were awarded to the Plaintiff. IAG breached its insurance contract by declining to pay out on the plaintiff’s policies after the destruction of his business by fire.

Qualifications and Career


  • LLM (Hons)(International Law) University of Cambridge, England (1999)
  • B.Com, University of Auckland, New Zealand (1996)
  • LLB (First Class Honours), University of Waikato, New Zealand (1994)

Bar Admissions:

  • New York (2003)
  • England and Wales (2001)
  • New South Wales (1998)
  • Australian Capital Territory (1998)
  • New Zealand (1995)


  • Pegasus Scholar, Inner Temple, London (1999)
  • Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholar, University of Cambridge (1998-1999)


  • 2005 – present : Barrister
  • 2000 – 2004:  Senior Associate, Chadbourne & Parke LLP, New York London (Product Liability: tobacco and pharmaceutical company defence litigation)
  • 1999: Pegasus Scholarship: mini-pupillage at 2 Crown Office Row, Inner Temple, London; mini-pupillage at Three Raymond Buildings, Gray’s Inn, London; marshalling with Judge Hyam, The Recorder of London (Senior Judge of the Old Bailey)
  • 1998:  Staff Solicitor, Browne & Co, Sydney (representation of the Australian Olympic Committee in the lead up to the 2000 Olympic Games)
  • 1996 – 1998: Crown Prosecutor, Davys Burton, Crown Solicitors, Rotorua (Criminal Law: jury trials, summary proceedings and appeals)
  • 1994 – 1996: Legal Clerk then Solicitor, Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, Auckland (Insolvency Law, Commercial law)
  • 1992-1993: Summer Clerk, Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, Auckland


  • Director of Bankside Chambers Limited
  • Fellow of Cambridge Commonwealth Society
  • Member of New Zealand Law Society
  • Member of New Zealand Bar Association
  • Faculty member of NZLS Litigation Skills Course
  • Critiquer for NZLS CLE Introduction to High Court Litigation Skills Course