Philip Skelton KC is a barrister specialising in commercial litigation, employment law, shareholder disputes and public inquiries.


  • BCom / LLB
  • BCL (Oxon)


Philip Skelton KC is a barrister specialising in commercial litigation, employment law, shareholder disputes and public inquiries.

Philip is one of the leading class action lawyers in New Zealand. His interest in group litigation began in 2001 while he was a partner at Russell McVeagh when he acted for a plaintiff group to successfully pursue claims against various global pharmaceutical companies involved in a multi-national vitamin price fixing cartel.

Currently Philip is acting as Senior Counsel in relation to the:

  • CBL Corporation Limited (Shareholder Class Action) — on instructions from Glaister Ennor, who act for a group of institutional and retail investors. The claim is funded by IMF Bentham.
  • Southern Response Opt Out Class Action — on instructions from Grant Cameron of GCA Lawyers, who are acting for Mr & Mrs Ross who represent a group of approximately 3000 policy holders who are pursuing claims against Southern Response in relation to alleged misleading and deceptive conduct. This litigation is fully funded by Claims Funding Australia.

Philip’s Inquiry experience includes:

  • counsel assisting Justice Toogood KC’s independent investigation into the death of a student in a hall of residence at the University of Canterbury;
  • senior counsel assisting the Government Inquiry into Auckland’s fuel disruption;
  • conducting an independent inquiry into the death of an air traffic controller on behalf of Airways Corporation; and
  • numerous employment related investigations whether on behalf of employers, employees or in the role of independent investigator.

Philip was admitted to the Bar in 1983 and commenced practice as a barrister sole in 2006 after 14 years as a Russell McVeagh partner. He was made a QC in 2013.

Philip’s litigation experience includes frequent appearances in the Employment Court, High Court, Court of Appeal and in the Supreme Court.

Case Highlights

CBL Corporation Limited (funded investor class action proceedings)  

Acting as senior counsel for plaintiff group in an investor class action alleging failure to make proper disclosure, breaches of the Financial Market Conducts Act and misleading and deceptive conduct.

Redwood Group Limited v Queenstown Gateway (5M) Limited [2018] NZHC 3439 (20 December 2018) Van Bohemen J

Acting as senior counsel for the defendants on instructions from Harmos Horton Lusk in relation to a joint venture shareholder dispute – resolving dispute at mediation following receipt of a favourable judgment from the High Court on various interlocutory applications.

Johnstone v Kinetic Employment Limited [2019] NZEmpC 91

Acting for Kinetic to successfully defend challenge by Ms Johnstone to the jurisdiction of the Employment Relations Authority to issue summonses to search and review documentation on ex-employee’s computer system.

Independent Inquiry into the death of a University of Canterbury student (2019)

Acting as counsel assisting Justice Kit Toogood KC.

What Others Say

Chambers and Partners Asia-Pacific 2024 Dispute Resolution – The Bar: "Philip Skelton KC is a vastly experienced barrister who brings over a decade of experience as a partner at a prominent law firm. He is well known for representing clients in sizeable class actions as well as employment disputes."


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