Simon joined Bankside Chambers in 2002 prior to that he spent five years at Russell McVeagh.
Simon has practiced as a barrister sole since 2002 and was appointed Queen's Counsel in December 2019. Prior to joining the independent bar, he spent five years as a litigator at Russell McVeagh, two years with the International Arbitration Team at Clifford Chance at London and three years as a Crown Prosecutor.
Simon's practice is focused on commercial and civil litigation and arbitration, but also encompasses public law and the prosecution of criminal jury trials. Simon graduated with a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington in 2020. His thesis, “The Bona Fide Investor: Corporate Nationality and Treaty Shopping in Investment Treaty Law” was published by Wolters Kluwer in its International Arbitration Law Library Series in 2022.
Simon has particular experience in complex construction and engineering disputes, notably in respect of power station construction, performance and operation, construction of large multi-level buildings, and earthquake litigation for insurers. He has conducted trials and arbitral hearings about primary industry disputes including dairy, chicken, arable and deer farms and fruit tree orchards. He has acted in numerous shareholder and joint venture disputes; for a national shipping register, for boat builders, marine operators and a major offshore fishing company. He has acted for purchasers, vendors, lessors and lessees in land disputes and for private clients in estate, defamation, family protection and family trust matters.
Simon has a particular interest in investment treaty arbitration and has been claimant's counsel in an investment treaty claim against Australia as well as advising corporates on investment treaty issues. Simon has been appointed as arbitrator in domestic and international arbitrations and delivered three major decisions in 2022 about intellectual property licensing of fruit varieties and cultivars as Chair of the Ministry for Primary Industry Independent Compensation Review Panel.
Simon's public law experience includes appearing for the New Zealand Bar Association as an intervener in the Supreme Court regarding the eligibility of self-represented lawyers and litigants in person for awards of costs. In 2020, Simon was counsel in several judicial review cases challenging Government decisions under Covid-19 legislation.
Simon is a member of the Crown Prosecutor Panel for Manukau. From 2017–2021, he was the lead Crown Prosecutor in respect of indecent assault and obstruction of justice charges brought against a prominent New Zealand businessman and two associates which culminated in a month long jury trial in the High Court at Auckland in 2021.
Simon is ranked as a Leading Silk in the Legal 500 Asia Rankings 2024 for commercial disputes. He is ranked Band 2: Silks in the 2024 Chambers and Partners Asia Pacific Rankings for Dispute Resolution – The Bar.
Simon was a Council member of the New Zealand Bar Association from 2015–2023 and Vice President (Auckland) of the Association from 2020–2023.
Irrigation dam construction arbitration (2022–)
Lead Counsel for a major New Zealand construction company regarding complex and lengthy construction of irrigation dam in the South Island.
Chicken Farm arbitration (2021–2022)
Lead Counsel for a group of 90 chicken farmers regarding a contractual dispute with their processing company.
Ministry for Primary Industry Independent Compensation Review Panel (2022)
Chair of MPIICRP regarding review of compensation decisions totalling approximately NZD20 million regarding compensation for fruit trees and intellectual property in fruit production and tree cultivars. Three decisions delivered 2022.
Laboyrie v Mills (2019–2021)
Lead Counsel for plaintiffs in High Court trial (2019) and Court of Appeal hearing (2021) regarding a family dispute over estate property in Hamilton, which concerned common intention constructive trusts and the Pallant v Morgan equity in New Zealand.
R v W, X and Y (2021)
Crown Prosecutor in one month High Court jury trial in respect of indecent assault and obstruction of justice charges brought against a prominent New Zealand businessman and two associates.
Christiansen v Director-General of Health (2020)
Judicial review proceedings concerning the exercise of the Director-General’s discretion to grant exemptions to managed isolation on compassionate grounds.
Argos Froyanes v Chief Executive of Immigration NZ (2020)
Judicial review proceedings concerning the refusal of Immigration NZ to permit foreign fisherman to enter NZ during COVID restrictions to man Argos' Ross Sea Patagonian toothfish fishing fleet.
Sky Scrapers v Zoono (2020–2022)
Counsel for Sky Scrapers regarding specific performance of contract for exclusive distribution of Zoono sanitiser products in the Middle East.
McGuire v Secretary for Justice (2019)
Lead Counsel for the New Zealand Bar Association in the Supreme Court hearing concerning costs awards for self represented litigants.
Canam Construction v Auckland Trotting Club (2019–2020)
Counsel (with Tom Weston KC) in litigation and arbitration proceedings for Auckland Trotting Club concerning a commercial and residential development at Alexandra Park, Auckland.
McConnell Dowell and Others v Toshiba International
International commercial arbitration concerning Te Mihi Geothermal Power Plant near Taupo, New Zealand. Simon acted for Toshiba with Tom Weston KC.
92 Lichfield v AAI Insurance
Lead Counsel for AAI in Court of Appeal hearing concerning “interested parties” to insurance policies, binding settlement agreements and statutory demands.
Prattley Enterprises v Vero Insurance
Christchurch earthquake case in the High Court concerning the Britten Motorcycle Museum. Simon acted for Vero Insurance with David Goddard KC. Simon was responsible for technical structural engineering and earthquake modelling aspects of the case.
Philip Morris Asia v Australia
Simon was one of Philip Morris' counsel in an investment treaty arbitration against Australia concerning the plain packaging of tobacco products.
Carter Holt Harvey v Genesis Power and Rolls-Royce
Simon acted for Genesis Power (with Tom Weston KC) in a 10 month long High Court trial concerning the co-generation power plant at Carter Holt's Kinleith Pulp and Paper Mill.
Legal 500 Asia Pacific Ranking 2024 for commercial disputes – Leading Silk: "“An incredibly articulate silk, very persuasive with an excellent legal mind.”
Chambers and Partners Global and Asia-Pacific 2023 and 2024 say: "Simon Foote KC of Bankside Chambers is well regarded for his expertise in engineering and construction disputes and is widely considered to be a respected figure in the area of commercial arbitration." Comments and recommendations include:
"He is very perceptive, he listens intently when being briefed, cleverly ties threads together and identifies issues and ways to address them."
"Simon is incredibly personable. He is a superb lawyer."
"Simon is a skilled advocate. He is an excellent all-round barrister, is great on his feet, has a very quick mind and is a pleasure to deal with."
"An excellent barrister - pragmatic, thoughtful and fast on his feet."
"Simon is getting some very good instructions."
Doyles Guide: Recommended Queen’s Counsel in Construction Law in New Zealand
The Bona Fide Investor: Corporate Nationality and Treaty Shopping in Investment Treaty Law is the first detailed exploration of a substantive legal basis by which to assess the bona fides of a corporate investor’s nationality.