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Suzanne is a leading commercial litigator who provides advocacy and advice, specialising in contract, property, company law, insolvency, equity and trust disputes.

Education

  • B. Com (Accounting)/LL.B (Hons) - University of Auckland, 1990
  • LL.M (First Class Hons) – University of Auckland, 2006
  • Commercial Applications of Equity Masters Paper - Melbourne Law School, 2016

Bio

Suzanne is a leading commercial litigator who provides advocacy and advice, specialising in contract, property, company law, insolvency, equity and trust disputes.

Suzanne has appeared as lead counsel at all levels of the New Zealand Courts, including the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High and District Courts. Suzanne also represents clients in arbitrations and mediations. She has advised on a wide range of contract, property, insolvency, trust and estate disputes.


In addition to her LLM (First class honours), Suzanne has a commerce degree (accounting major), which ensures she understands the numbers as well as the law. Suzanne brings both a legal and commercial approach to her practice to reach effective resolutions for her clients.


Suzanne was admitted to the profession in 1990. She became a member of Bankside Chambers in 2007 and took Silk in 2017.


Work Highlights

Successfully defending a High Court application for an interim injunction preventing a shareholder from dealing with his shares pending the hearing of a claim to an interest in the shares. This was especially satisfying as successfully defending the interim injunction application was closely followed by a favourable settlement of the claim.


Providing advice to and ultimately representing trustees of two related family trusts obtaining directions from the court to wind up the trusts. This involved advising on the process and alternatives for distributing the approximately $10million of trust assets held in different structures between the trusts’ eleven beneficiaries of three generations.


Acting for Mrs Spencer, the mother of an adult disabled child, in the High Court and Court of Appeal, successfully seeking compensation for the Ministry of Health’s discriminatory policy of not paying parents who provide support for their adult disabled children. This was the first case concerning a claim against the Government for compensation under the Human Rights Act 1993 and proceeded despite the government attempting to legislate against it.


Acting for the husband in complex relationship property appeals in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. The case is a leading authority on valuation of professional services businesses and the appropriateness and amount of compensation to be paid under s 15 Property (Relationships) Act 1976.

What Others Say

Suzanne is a trusted adviser and exceptional advocate. She is intellectually rigorous, a strategic thinker, great communicator and brings a high level of independent judgement and skill to any legal problem - Litigation Partner, Hawkes Bay


We have instructed Suzanne on significant commercial matters for many years. Suzanne has a formidable intellect and an ability to quickly marshal complex issues and effectively communicate them to both clients and the Court. We take great comfort in knowing we can call on Suzanne to help us and our clients achieve excellent results.

- Commercial Partner, North Auckland


We have been instructing Suzanne for our clients over a number of years for a variety of litigation work. It is great to be able to rely on Suzanne when our clients find themselves in difficult circumstances. Her calm and approachable manner helps take the tension out of the trickiest situation. She is a real team player and works hard to achieve the best result for the client. Her practical, yet tactical advice is invaluable. - Managing Partner, Auckland


We have engaged Suzanne for advice and advocacy services at all levels of the New Zealand Court system and in a complex commercial property arbitration. Without exception we have been totally impressed with Suzanne’s depth of knowledge, her grasp of complex issues, her meticulous attention to detail and her focus on achieving the best possible results in the most pragmatic and cost effective manner.  

- Property Partner, Auckland  

Publications

  • Statutory Demands and Agreements to Arbitrate [2020] CSLB 77

  • Beware Unhappy Beneficiaries, Step Conference 2019

  • Making Sense of Commercial Common Sense (2018) 49 VUWLR 279

  • Book Review: Feminist Judgments of Aotearoa New Zealand – Te Rino: A Two-Stranded Rope (2018) 49 VUWLR 413

  • Mediation Advocacy, New Zealand Bar Association Conference, September 2017

  • Claims for compensation under s15, Lexis Nexis Family Law Conference 2013

  • Calculating the Quantum of Economic Disparity, 2010 NZLJ 366

  • Litigation Strategy, New Zealand Law Society Seminar, October/November 2006

Memberships

  • New Zealand Law Society (Council member, Auckland Branch)
  • New Zealand Bar Association (Member of Law Reform Committee)
  • RITANZ