• LLM - Harvard Law School (“Honours” average and Dean’s Scholar Prize in constitutional law)
  • LLB (Hons) – University of Auckland (Senior Scholar)
  • BCom (Econ) – University of Auckland (Senior Scholar)


Tiaan is a civil and commercial barrister. He has particular expertise in disputes involving companies, contracts, negligence, insolvency, insurance, property developments, and trusts. Ultimately, however, he is focused on helping people and businesses resolve disputes. He has experience doing so across a broad range of legal issues and is always alert to the practical and commercial dynamics at play.


Tiaan’s recent instructions as sole counsel include acting for a beneficiary in a complex multi-million dollar trust dispute (which span across three High Court proceedings); acting for a property developer in a dispute with a non-bank financier; acting for a group of shareholders in a company dispute involving several retail businesses; and acting for the vendor company in a dispute involving the sale of several hospitality businesses.  

Tiaan otherwise regularly acts with King’s Counsel and other senior counsel. Recent examples include acting for the purchasers of a farm on a negligence and deceit claim against a major real estate company; acting for the liquidator in a trial and appeal about a claim against directors and the effect of a settlement reached by shareholders; and acting for the mezzanine-financier defendants on a claim for alleged breaches of contractual (joint venture) and fiduciary duties concerning a large property development.

He is also interested in judicial review, having acted in several high-profile claims concerning public interest and New Zealand Bill of Rights Act issues.  


Tiaan is an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Auckland Faculty of Law, where he is teaching a course on contemporary commercial litigation to fourth and fifth year students.  He covers a range of topical issues across many areas of law, but does so in an innovative way, focused on equipping students with the practical skills required to navigate those issues in litigation practice.  


Tiaan holds an LLM from Harvard Law School, which he obtained on William Georgetti and Spencer Mason Scholarships. He completed advanced study in arbitration, company law, constitutional law, contract law, negotiation, negligence and trusts.  Before that, he worked as a barrister in Auckland and as a Judges’ Clerk at the High Court.  He also holds LLB (Hons) and BCom (Econ) degrees from the University of Auckland, where he graduated with Senior Scholar Awards in both law and economics, a Dean’s Academic Excellence Award, and six First in Course Awards. He excelled in advocacy competitions, winning the Stout Shield (best oralist), the national junior and senior mooting championships, the John Haigh QC Memorial Moot and the Bell Gully Auckland Junior Moot. Tiaan also represented New Zealand at the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot, where his team won the prize for best applicant team in the world.

Case Highlights

Company and insolvency – High Court and Court of Appeal

Acted for the liquidator in a trial and appeal about a claim against directors, the effect of a settlement reached by shareholders and the reasonableness of the liquidator’s conduct (with Greg Blanchard QC).

Negligence, Fair Trading Act and deceit – High Court and Court of Appeal

Acted for the plaintiffs (purchasers) on a negligence claim against a major real estate company (with Jack Hodder QC and Daniel Kalderimis).

Arbitration, insolvency and statutory demands – Court of Appeal

Acted for a property developer on an appeal concerning a challenge to a statutory demand and the enforcement of an arbitration agreement in the statutory demand process (with Greg Blanchard QC).

Company and contract – High Court

Acted for the plaintiffs against the directors and shareholders of a company in relation to unfairly prejudicial conduct in the forced acquisition of the plaintiffs’ shares (with Greg Blanchard QC).

Contract, fiduciary duties and trusts – High Court

Acted for the mezzanine-financier defendants on a claim for alleged breaches of contractual (joint venture) and fiduciary duties concerning a large property development (with Graham Kohler QC).

Judicial review – High Court

Acted for public interest groups on judicial review claims relating to free speech rights and compensation for the expropriation of property (with Jack Hodder QC).

What Others Say


  • T Nelson “Negligence, Negligent Misstatements and Leaky Buildings: Southland Indoor Leisure Centre Charitable Trust v Invercargill City Council” (2018) 24 Auckland U L Rev 294.
  • K Davenport QC and T Nelson “The Court’s Role in Assisting Trustees: Re Beddoe” (2017) 23 Trusts and Trustees 343.
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