Charlene Fairnie

Special Counsel

Charlene is a seasoned litigation lawyer in our construction and infrastructure team with a breadth of experience in disputes relating to defective buildings, including weathertightness claims.

Charlene acts for the full spectrum of parties involved in the construction of residential and commercial buildings, including owners, professionals, manufacturers and suppliers of building products, and local Government bodies, including Auckland Council.

She regularly represents her clients in a wide range of complex proceedings in the District Court, High Court and Weathertight Homes Tribunal. Charlene has also appeared in the Court of Appeal. Complementing her Court advocacy skills, Charlene acts for clients in alternative dispute resolution processes including mediation, arbitration, and judicial settlement conferences.

Charlene is a master of detail, excelling at absorbing and analysing complex and competing legal and factual material. She is a practical thinker and strategic adviser and is highly skilled in addressing substantive and procedural issues. Charlene is passionate about achieving the best results for her clients.

Prior to joining MinterEllisonRuddWatts, Charlene practised law at other top tier law firms where she gained a diverse range of legal experience in commercial settings. She has been a contributing author to Laws of New Zealand, Building and Construction, Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Act 2006 and to Building Law in New Zealand.

Career highlights

Representing New Zealand’s largest local authority, Auckland Council, in a $200m defective building claim in relation to a mixed used 40 storey high-rise building with alleged structural, fire and moisture defects: Body Corporate 366567 v Auckland Council.

Representing Auckland Council on an appeal relating to the validity of assignments and errors of law rendering the multi-unit claim a nullity: Body Corporate 180379 v Auckland Council.

Representing Auckland Council on a procedural matter before the District Court resulting in two sets of proceedings being deemed discontinued against the Council: Kelsall v Auckland Council.

Representing owners and defending developers, builders and other professionals involved in the development and construction of multi-unit developments. Includes representing the plaintiffs on appeal to successfully address defences in relation to limitation: Kay v Dickson Lonergan Ltd.

Representing manufacturers and suppliers of building products.

  • Member, Society of Construction Law New Zealand
Achievements and recognition
  • Band 1 team, Construction, Chambers Asia-Pacific
  • Tier 1 team, Construction, The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific