A road range of experience and expertise as a commercial litigator, including in employment law, education law and property disputes. Prior to joining Bankside Chambers, was senior litigation partner in global law firm DLA Piper.


  • LL.B. (Hons) (First Class) – Victoria University of Wellington, 1977
  • B.A. – Victoria University of Wellington, 1975
  • Diploma Leading Best Practice: Team leader and Client Relationship Management program - Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) Sydney, 2003
  • Advanced LEADR Mediation Training – Full Panel Member , 2002
  • Leadr Mediator - LEADR, 2000
  • Certificate in Project Management: University of Auckland Business School, 2002
  • Certificate in Company Direction - Institute of Directors 2017


A broad range of experience and expertise as a commercial litigator including in employment law, education law and property disputes. Prior to joining Bankside Chambers, was senior litigation partner in global law firm DLA Piper.

Employment law expert: regularly ranked as a leading individual in Chambers and Legal 500 Directories. Has acted for significant unions, for major national and international employers, and for individuals at CEO and C-suite level. Much experience of cross-border employment issues as a partner in global law firm DLA Piper. Recent work includes major sexual harassment and #metoo investigations.

Lease and property law disputes, and trust law issues; acted extensively for the Cornwall Park Trust Board, notably in relation to ground leases (“Glasgow Leases”), disputed rent reviews and other property law issues. Also acted for body corporates and acts in Land Valuation Tribunal litigation relating to Public Works Act 1981 compensation for significant property takings by NZTA.

Commercial litigation has involved major fraud recovery work involving numerous multi-million dollar claims, successful applications for and execution of applications for Search Orders and Freezing Orders, securities enforcement, various commercial disputes involving sales or purchases of businesses, and commercial contracts.

Intellectual property law experience includes copyright, trade marks, passing off, and fair trading.

Privacy law work includes advising many clients on privacy compliance and disputes, including the application of the GDPR to New Zealand entities.

Specialist in Education Law. Advice on governance, employment, enrolment schemes, student discipline including suspension, stand downs, exclusion and expulsion, discrimination and privacy complaints.

Arbitration, Mediation and Tribunal experience. Deputy Chair, New Zealand Teaching Council Disciplinary Tribunal 2011-2020. John is a trained mediator.

Council member Manukau Institute of Technology 2010-2020. A qualified company director holding IoD Certificate in Company Direction. He has assisted in the resolution of many difficult issues at governance/chair/CEO level.

Case Highlights

Cornwall Park trust Board

Litigation relating to Glasgow leases.

Major litigation running through to Court of Appeal as to application and interpretation of perpetually renewable ground rent leases.


Litigation relating to union access. Leading case in Court of Appeal on union access to workplaces.

Holmes Consulting

Representation in Christchurch Earthquakes Royal Commission of Enquiry. Extensive appearances through the Royal Commission on issues relating to building design and inspection, including CTV building collapse.

What Others Say



  • 2013 - New Zealand Law Society Employment Law Committee - Member
  • 2010 - Legal Research Foundation - Council member
  • 1999- Medico - Legal Society
  • 1998- ANZELA (Australia New Zealand Education Law Association)
  • 1996- Employment Law Institute
  • 1993- Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance