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Simon joined Bankside Chambers in 2002 prior to that he spent 5 years at Russell McVeagh.


  • PhD in International Law, Victoria University of Wellington, 2020
  • LLB (Hons) - University of Canterbury, 1992
  • Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration (DipICArb, UK), 2010


Simon Foote is a commercial litigator focused on commercial and civil litigation and arbitration. He has particular expertise in complex construction and engineering disputes, shareholder disputes and international arbitration. Simon graduated with a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington in 2020. His thesis addresses the concept of corporate nationality in investment treaty law.

Simon has practiced as a barrister sole since 2002 and took silk in 2019. Prior to this, 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 construction experience includes three major cases about large power stations.

Simon is regularly briefed by insurance companies, including in respect of disputes arising out of the Christchurch earthquakes. He also acts for builders, architects, project managers and home owners in leaky building litigation.

Simon has broad experience in other commercial litigation. He has conducted trials and arbitral hearings about dairy, arable and deer farms. He has acted in numerous shareholder disputes; for a national shipping register; for boat builders, marina operators and a major offshore fishing company. He has acted for lessors and lessees in lease disputes and for private clients in defamation, family protection and family trust matters. Simon also has significant public law/public interest experience: Simon appeared as lead counsel for the New Zealand Bar Association in the Supreme Court in a case concerning the eligibility of self-represented lawyers and litigants in person for awards of costs, and was recently lead counsel in two COVID related judicial review proceedings against the Director-General of Health regarding compassionate exemptions to managed isolation.

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 also conducts criminal jury trials as a member of the Manukau Crown Solicitor’s Crown Panel. He is currently Vice-President, (Auckland) of the New Zealand Bar Association.

Work Highlights

Christiansen v Director-General of Health

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

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.

McGuire v Secretary for Justice

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

Counsel (with Tom Weston QC) in litigation and arbitration proceedings for Auckland Trotting Club concerning a commercial and residential development at Alexandra Park, Auckland.

McCloy v Gapes

Lead counsel for liquidator regarding ownership of equitable interests in a large commercial development in Queenstown.

Laboyrie v Mills

Lead counsel for plaintiffs in High Court trial regarding a family dispute over estate property in Hamilton, which concerned common intention constructive trusts and the Pallant v Morgan equity in New Zealand.

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 QC.

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 QC. Simon was responsible for technical structural engineering and earthquake modelling aspects of the case.

Aldrie Holdings v Prout

Lead counsel for plaintiff in a High Court trial concerning misrepresentation in the sale and purchase of a North Auckland dairy farm.

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 QC) in a 10 month long High Court trial concerning the co-generation power plant at Carter Holt's Kinleith Pulp and Paper Mill.

What Others Say

Chambers and Partners Global and Asia-Pacific say:

Simon Foote QC 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 include:

"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


  • PhD Thesis, University of Wellington, 2020: The Bona Fide Investor: Corporate Nationality and Treaty Shopping in Investment Treaty Law

  • Co-author of the New Zealand Bar Association Report on Access to Justice, 2018 (with Maria Dew QC and Gretta Schumacher).

  • David AR Williams QC and Simon Foote, Recent Developments in the Approach to Identifying an ‘Investment’ Pursuant to Article 25(1) of the ICSID Convention, Evolution in Investment Treaty Law and Arbitration, Cambridge University Press, 2011

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the TPPA; What you need to know about investment protections and investor state dispute resolution, Simon Foote and Sam Jeffs, At the Bar, September 2016.

  • The Obligation of Arbitrators to Address all Issues Which Fall for Determination But No More, Asian International Arbitration Journal, 2014 (10), p.47, Simon Foote and James Herbert.

  • New Zealand: Appeal Court Affirms Pro-enforcement Approach, Global Arbitration Review, 27 February 2013, David AR Williams QC and Simon Foote.

  • Agreements to Arbitrate: the Severability of Illegal Contractual Promises, NZ Lawyer, Issue 203, 12, Simon Foote and Anja Borchardt

  • Reflections on a Marathon Trial [2010] NZLJ 213, Tom Weston QC and Simon Foote.

  • Limitation Clauses [2010] NZLJ 317, Tom Weston QC and Simon Foote.

  • Caveat Mediator: Exceptions to Privilege for Settlement Negotiations, NZ Lawyer, Issue 170, 17, Simon Foote and Anja Borchardt.


  • Vice-President (Auckland), New Zealand Bar Association 2020-present
  • New Zealand Bar Association Council Member 2015- present
  • Member of Bankside’s Singapore Chambers
  • Member of the Crown Panel for Manukau City
  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb)
  • Fellow of the Arbitrators' and Mediators Institute of New Zealand (FAMINZ)
  • Deputy Chair of the Organising Committee for the World Bar Conference held at Queenstown in September, 2014
  • Chair of the organising committee for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 New Zealand Bar Association annual conferences.
  • Simon was a director of Bankside Chambers Limited, Auckland from 2012 – 2014 and Chairman in 2015.