Scott Thompson


Scott is an expert construction and infrastructure lawyer and co-leads the firm’s Energy sector practice. He specialises in representing clients in complex construction and infrastructure disputes. He is also passionate about the potential for New Zealand’s infrastructure to enable climate and nature positive outcomes.

Scott acts for key industry participants including principals, contractors, consultants, and government agencies. He advises on distressed infrastructure projects and subsequent litigation across diverse sectors including renewable energy, education, road, rail, sport, and water.

Often engaged during the construction phase, Scott partners with clients to provide strategic oversight and direction. He supports them to achieve their objectives by listening and providing advice through a commercial and legal lens. He advises on all manner of construction disputes, both common and novel issues, arising under the contract or in tort. In particular, he has considerable experience dealing with design defect claims and delays.

Experienced in alternative disputes resolution forums and techniques, Scott appears in arbitrations as well as in mediations and negotiations for clients.

Scott brings a genuine understanding of the commercial drivers and incentives for his clients, especially those in the energy industry. Prior to specialising in dispute resolution, he worked at Bracewell LLP in the United States advising public and private energy companies, banks, and private equity firms on energy transactions and projects. His experience negotiating and drafting complex contractual arrangements is invaluable to his disputes practice. While in the United States, Scott also gained a Masters of Law (Energy, Environment and Arbitration).

Friendly, open, and responsive, Scott builds strong and ongoing relationships with his clients. They value Scott’s strategic insights and ability to quickly identify and then focus on the key issues arising on any given project. His attention to detail ensures strong preparation of his clients’ cases and the ability to anticipate and respond to opponents’ arguments.

Scott is very active in the energy and wider construction and infrastructure industries. He ensures he is across key developments both in New Zealand and overseas through regular meetings with clients, and attending and presenting at industry events. His passion for sustainability is reflected in his involvement in MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ Zero In thought leadership series focusing on the opportunities and challenges organisations are encountering on the path to decarbonisation.

Scott is licensed in New Zealand, New York and Texas.

Career highlights

Advised Mercury on all aspects of project delivery in respect of both the wind farm development and the associated transmission line. Successfully resolved all claims between the parties under both contracts. Turitea Wind Farm is New Zealand’s largest wind farm.

Advising the contractor (a joint venture between Fulton Hogan and Taylors Contracting) of the Waimea community dam, on all aspects of project delivery and managing claims, including running adjudications and arbitration. The Waimea Community Dam is the largest dam to be built in New Zealand in over 25 years.

Advising the contractor (Wellington Gateway Partnership) of the Transmission Gully project on an array of project delivery matters, disputes, and litigation. This is the first roading project in New Zealand procured through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. It is a key component of the Wellington Northern Corridor Road of National Significance.

Represented Jacobs in High Court, arbitrations and alternative dispute resolution processes on all New Zealand based projects. Some recent highlights include: Advised Jacobs during the project delivery phase of the Clevedon water and wastewater project, and represented Jacobs in arbitration. Successfully settled all claims. Represented Jacobs on the Paremoremo prison project and successfully settled all claims. This project was delivered through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.

Numerous successes at arbitrations that have gone to a substantive hearing, including large cost recoveries for clients. Some recent highlights include: Successfully represented the Department of Internal Affairs in arbitration proceedings in respect of design defects associated with one of its newly constructed facilities. Recovery of the claimed amounts also included recovery of its legal fees. Successfully represented AECOM in defending claims brought in arbitration in respect of its design services of a projected delivered under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. AECOM was also successful in recovering its legal and expert fees.

Advised AECOM in its capacity as Independent Reviewer on the Waikeria Prison PPP project. The project involves the construction of one of New Zealand’s largest prisons. The contracts are complex, and we provided legal advice to support AECOM in its role as IR.

Advising Northpower in respect of proposed contract structures to support its investment decisions in respect of future energy developments, including solar farms.

  • Member, Infrastructure New Zealand
  • Member, Society of Construction Law New Zealand
  • Member, New Zealand Wind Energy Association
  • Member, New Zealand Hydrogen Council
Achievements and recognition
  • Band 1 team, Energy & Natural Resources, Chambers Asia-Pacific
  • Band 1 team, Construction, Chambers Asia-Pacific
  • Tier 1 team, Construction, The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific