Fiona is a general commercial litigation and arbitration lawyer. She has a wealth of experience working with clients both to identify and minimise risks and to resolve complex or international disputes.
Fiona advises both private and public sector clients, including statutory bodies such as the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and Fire and Emergency New Zealand. She works across a wide range of industries, advising on matters such as financial services regulatory issues, health and safety obligations, conduct and culture matters, anti-bribery and corruption issues, insurance and contractual disputes.
With a key focus on regulatory advisory work, Fiona enjoys helping her clients to identify the challenges and risks they face and recommending improvements. She builds strong relationships with clients, enabling her to get a good understanding of their organisation, including both its drivers and its needs. She is noted for delivering timely and clear advice to boards and senior management, tailored to meet those needs. Having recently completed a secondment to Maritime New Zealand, Fiona also has a valuable insight into the particular challenges and motivators for regulatory organisations.
In addition to her litigation experience in New Zealand courts, Fiona specialises in arbitration. She is an associate of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand Inc (AMINZ) and a member of the AMINZ Arbitration Appointments Panel.
Fiona has significant overseas experience, having worked at Herbert Smith (now Herbert Smith Freehills) in London and Hong Kong. She completed an LLM at Harvard Law School in 2002 and spent a year seconded by the Harvard Sussex Program working as a legal researcher at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. She worked for many years at another major New Zealand law firm.
Fiona is a member of MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ Community Investment Committee which champions the firm’s programme to support community projects, causes and organisations. Through Who Did You Help Today?, a charitable trust aiming to create positive social change, she also volunteers for Homework Club at a low decile Wellington primary school.
Advising a major bank on its response to the Financial Markets Authority/Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bank and Life Insurer Conduct and Culture reviews, including undertaking an assessment of governance, culture, and accountability.
Advising on high-value High Court litigation following earthquake damage to a commercial building arising from the Kaikoura earthquake involving a novel duty of care argument.
Assisting the Earthquake Commission (EQC) with the management of ongoing claims and litigation arising from the Canterbury 2010/2011 earthquakes.
Undertaking a health and safety review for a primary sector client, following a fatal incident, to identify current challenges and opportunities for health and safety development. Separately, undertaking a large-scale health, safety and wellbeing review for Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
Seconded to the Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) legal team to assist with public law and international issues, including advising on the application of the Maritime Rules and drafting arrangements and memoranda of understanding for MNZ interaction with other domestic and international organisations.
- Associate, Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand Inc (AMINZ)
Achievements and recognition
- Tier 1 team, Dispute Resolution, The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific