Christchurch: CBD – (03) 379 7690 | Ferrymead – (03) 940 2435 | Hornby – (03) 349 5111

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

If you are facing a dispute, whether commercial or private, our skilled litigation and disputes resolution team aim to work with you to achieve the most favourable outcome. At the outset we advise on the most appropriate options to resolve the dispute, with a mind to achieving a cost effective solution.

Our team is experienced in the use of alternative dispute resolution including negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. However, when litigation is the only option, we are experienced over a broad range of matters in the various Tribunals, the District Court, Employment Court, Environment Court, Family Court, High Court, and Court of Appeal.

External links to further information

New Zealand Law Society publications:

We regularly act on disputes involving:

  • Mediations and arbitrations
  • Contractual disputes
  • Commercial disputes
  • Debt recovery and insolvency
  • Relationship property and family law
  • Insurance
  • Judicial review
  • Claims in tort, including negligence
  • Trust and estate litigation
  • Employment
  • Professional body disciplinary action
  • Criminal law
  • Intellectual property

Examples of our recent work

  • Christchurch District Court (decision 22 November 2016): Successful claim against a defendant denying liability under a contractual arrangement for the division of profits between business partners.
  • Successfully defending an application for summary judgment brought against a guarantor under a loan agreement in UDC Finance Limited v Rout [2015] NZHC 212.
  • Representing several clients in Adjudication under the Construction Contracts Act 2002.
  • Successfully arguing for unequal division of relationship property Mauger v Mauger [2015] NZFC 570.
  • Successfully liquidating high profile Christchurch construction company Williams & Co Ltd.
  • Representing an engineer through the IPENZ complaints process arising from the Canterbury Earthquakes.
  • Obtaining an urgent freezing order over bank accounts in a relationship property dispute in Johnson v Watling, CIV-2012-409-1425, Christchurch High Court, 13 July 2012.
  • Successfully making application for summary judgment to recall letters of administration in Lee v Archer [2012] NZHC 3308.

Get further advice from

Andrew Riches

Partner

Direct dial: +64-3-963 1457
Mobile: 021 982 115
E-mail: andrew.riches@saunders.co.nz
Assistant: Donna Lake
Office: CBD

I am a litigation specialist who joined Saunders & Co in early 2008 and became a partner in 2015.

I undertake a wide variety of civil work in the District and High Court jurisdictions, and am also well versed in employment and criminal law. I have appeared as lead counsel in the Court of Appeal on civil and criminal appeals and appear regularly in the District and High Courts on these matters. I have acted for Financial Service Providers in the High Court on appeals against decisions of the Financial Markets Authority as well as successfully advancing negligence claims and claims against insurers.

I am known for dealing with disputes in an upfront, open manner and not sugar-coating my approach. Depending on circumstances, I will either negotiate a practical solution for my client or refer their problem to be resolved in court.

I enjoy all aspects of this process, from researching and developing an argument around a case, to court work, which gets me out of the office and challenges me to think on my feet.

I am a Member of the Law Council of the Canterbury branch of the New Zealand Law society and Trustee of the St Albans Shirley Club.

I specialise in the following areas:

What My Clients Say

“I shall feel honoured if you would consider my remarks regarding Andrew Riches, worthy for something. No doubt, Andrew Riches is a brilliant asset for Saunders & Co. I have lived in the USA and Canada for more that 20 years and have had an opportunity to meet lawyers in Christchurch and abroad but this young man looked to me way ahead of his age, and he is outstanding when comparing him with other lawyers in this small city. His approach and intelligence, his demeanour at this age, is bewildering. I am a very international person so please do not take my remarks for granted, you will see it to be true, he will be a big name soon in this city. I wish him a good future.”
Muhammad Ashraf Christchurch

Cherry Mo

Lawyer

Direct dial: +64 3 265 0312
Mobile: 022 589 7224
E-mail: cherry.mo@saunders.co.nz
Office: CBD

I joined the litigation team at Saunders & Co in 2017, shortly after completing a degree in Master of Laws (with honours). I now assist the team at Saunders with an array of litigation issues including matters relating to criminal and traffic law, family law, relationship property and employment law.

I endeavour to preserve the human aspect in all litigation matters by listening and maintaining meaningful interactions with my clients.  I take a pragmatic approach in finding practical solutions to difficult problems. The skills I developed during my Masters degree have ensured I am accomplished in researching and analysing lengthy and complex law, efficiently and productively.

I have been in New Zealand since early childhood.  I am able to converse in Mandarin and Cantonese and my cultural background means I can easily understand and adapt to different commercial situations or different ways of conducting business.

I am an active member of the New Zealand Chinese Association and enjoy organising social and professional networking events for the Canterbury Chinese Young Professionals group. I am also an avid volunteer at the Community Law Centre.

I specialise in the following areas of law:

Jessica Manson

Lawyer

Direct Dial: +64 3 265 0318
Mobile: 027 585 4533
Email: jessica.manson@saunders.co.nz
Office: CBD

I joined the Saunders & Co litigation team in 2019.  My focus is on civil litigation including insurance matters, construction disputes, debt recovery and employment matters.

Prior to joining Saunders & Co, I was a litigation solicitor with a Christchurch firm.  I developed specialised knowledge in earthquake insurance matters, class action litigation, incorporated society disputes, relationship property, employment matters and alternative dispute resolution.

During my legal studies at University of Canterbury I clerked at a local barrister’s chambers. There, I gained valuable experience with top Queen’s Counsel and barristers working on insurance disputes, professional negligence and disciplinary matters, commercial, property and family disputes, public law matters, Coronial inquests and defending regulatory agency prosecutions.

I enjoy working with clients to develop pathways through complex and thorny issues.  I endeavour to help each client achieve resolutions that are suitable for their individual circumstances; whether through negotiation, Court proceedings or alternative dispute resolution.  My clients appreciate my delivery of pragmatic advice with warmth and empathy.

I am a member of Canterbury Womens Legal Association and the New Zealand Animal Law Association.  I am also a consultant to the committee of a local animal rescue organisation.

I specialise in the following areas:

Peter Tatham

Consultant

Direct Dial: +64 3 265 0915
Mobile 027 448 6336
E-mail: peter.tatham@saunders.co.nz
Assistant: Jennifer Whitbread
Office: Hornby

I am a consultant who joined Saunders & Co in 2013 from Franklin Law in Pukekohe.  There I was a Senior Solicitor practising as a civil and family court lawyer and head of the estates administration team.

Based at our Hornby office, I have an extensive general practice with an emphasis on estate administration and litigation, relationship property agreements and litigation, wills, enduring powers of attorney, and residential property conveyancing. I also have significant experience in rural legal matters, in particular, the dairying and chicken farming industries.

With a relaxed, friendly approach, I relate to a wide range of people, and am able to help individuals to solve any legal issues they may face. Relationship property makes up around half of my practice. I am known for being calm and pragmatic as I help clients navigate what can be emotionally-charged situations.

I am well organised, like to keep a tidy office, and enjoy using technology to communicate with my clients.

I specialise in the following areas:

What My Clients Say

“I am so pleased that I chose Saunders & Co for all my legal requirements. I have found that they are very professional and a pleasure to deal with.”
Marie Hansen

 

“The team that assisted me during my relationship split, proved to be professional and went above and beyond to assist me. They made the process as simple as they possible could, they also showed empathy during a very stressful time.”
Logan Gianelly

 

We would just like to thank you for all your assistance in the whole process of buying our first home. It was not smooth but with your help it was made easy. We’d be very happy to recommend you to family and friends in the future. We will be in touch if we need your service again.”
Dennis Demanawa and Marie Bulaong

 

“We were very pleased with Peter’s help in understanding our options and are pleased to now have a local Hornby contact for legal advice in the area of commercial debt recovery. We appreciated his prompt attention to questions and advice.”
Heather Ruddle, Prestige Commercial Vehicles

 

“Thank you to both of you Peter and Jennifer, for the sensitive way in which you managed to navigate our issues. I acknowledge you were often placed in an uncompromising position needing to deal with our emotional frustrations and sometimes angry outbursts. With your patient guidance and understanding we have now reached an amicable outcome.”
R Naida Glavish ONZM JP, Co-Chair Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua

Virginia Nichols

Senior Associate

Direct Dial: +64 3 963 1463
Mobile: +64 27 449 8893
E-mail: virginia.nichols@saunders.co.nz
Assistant: Michaela Combe
Office: CBD

As well as being a lawyer, I am a Registered Trans-Tasman Patent Attorney, and a Registered Australian Trade Mark Attorney.  I worked for over 10 years in specialist patent attorney and IP firms before joining the team at Saunders & Co in 2015.

I advise local clients looking to protect and exploit the intangible assets in their business.  This may include all aspects of intellectual property, from simple matters, such as protecting a company name, to the complexities of protection of designs, brands, ideas, and inventions through copyright, trademarks, and patents.  If disputes arise, I work with clients to pursue commercially realistic solutions.

I also work for international clients looking to protect and maintain their IP rights in New Zealand and Australia, and with our full commercial and litigation teams, offer support in developing their business interests in New Zealand and enforcing their rights here.

Working with our commercial teams, I have experience in licensing intangible assets, and work to cover issues with intangibles that may arise during the sale and purchase of a business, or entering a franchise or distribution agreement.  I also undertake civil litigation work in the District Court and High Court, as well as IPONZ hearings.

A key aim is to provide clients with clear communication and regular updates throughout what can be a complex and unfamiliar process.

My technical background is in a BSc(Hons) in Physics and ME(Elec) from the University of Canterbury. My post-graduate work was in the Nanostructure Engineering Science and Technology (NEST) group, focussing on the fabrication and characterisation of wide band-gap semiconductors, particularly Gallium Nitride, which was one of the first materials used to make blue LEDs, and can be used to make UV detectors.  I enjoy learning how things work, and identifying and resolving issues.

 

I specialise in the following areas:

What My Clients Say

“Welhaus engaged Virginia Nichols of Saunders & Co to work on a case where we argued another party couldn’t monopolise a generic name for a process. From the outset, Virginia’s confidence, decisiveness and expertise in the field were evident and she quickly presented us with some good, clear options for moving forward. We appreciated her evidence-based approach, specific knowledge of the subject and willingness to dig deeper into the matter. This greatly helped our decision-making process and resulted in a speedy conclusion, achieved in just a few days. The process even proved inexpensive given Virginia’s efficiency. The experience of dealing with Virginia and Saunders & Co was refreshing and I have no hesitation in recommending them to others.”
Dan Tremewan, Welhaus

 

“I’d like to take this opportunity to personally recommend Virginia Nichols, currently a Senior Associate with the Christchurch legal firm Saunders & Co. It must be said that Virginia is a unique and special person. She is not only skilled and very capable at her craft – but better still she actually listens to the client, finds out their total requirements and then efficiently moulds their needs into a strong legal format. Importantly she is not afraid to advise her clients where she believes an aspect of their demands may be unreasonable or inappropriate, doing so with caring and a gentle yet firm approach. Virginia sees herself as a regular down to earth individual with a burn to help others and make a difference. She truly does that in spades!”
Bill Rodger 

Locations:

CBD: 131 Victoria Street, Christchurch, NZ

Ferrymead: Unit 2, 987 Ferry Road, Christchurch, NZ

Hornby: 5 Goulding Avenue, Christchurch, NZ

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