Bell Gully

Dispute Resolution

6 ranked lawyersBand 1New ZealandAsia-Pacific 2021 View ranking table
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department information
Ranked Lawyers
chambers review
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Ranked Lawyers

Chambers Review

Chambers Research is conducted by 200 Research Analysts, across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually we collect hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Learn more about our methodology.

What the team is known for

Committed team advising on high-profile and complex cases in New Zealand, and a distinguished leader in defence of class action proceedings. Works with a top clientele, including financial and government institutions as well as corporations. Other areas of impressive capability include contentious insolvency proceedings, defective product claims, tax disputes and regulatory investigations and litigation. Further proficiency in ADR proceedings such as arbitration and expert determinations.


The team's case management skills constitute its key asset, in the opinion of a client who reports: "They are always exceptionally well prepared for litigation, a definite strength that I have seen pay dividends on numerous occasions when they have won some very tough cases and won well. I would not consider going elsewhere."

Another client particularly values the practice's mastery of complexity, speaking of Bell Gully as "the sort of firm you want to deal with for complicated or cutting-edge legal issues; they're our go-to for those."

Work highlights

Acted for Asia Pacific Village Group with regard to a dispute with Metlifecare arising out of the former's termination of its NZD1.5 billion acquisition of the latter on the grounds that the COVID-19 pandemic constituted a material adverse change, justifying withdrawal from the deal.

Notable practitioners

Practice head David Friar offers over 20 years' experience as a commercial litigator in a variety of complex commercial cases, including notable insolvency and insurance-related disputes. A client identifies him as an "exceptionally well-prepared lawyer with an exceptional intellect" who "won an incredibly challenging case for us," while a market source speaks of him as a partner who attracts "a hell of a lot of good-quality work."

Jenny Stevens is a "really good" litigator, singled out by a number of interviewees as a practitioner deserving of wider recognition. Particularly well known for her competition-related expertise, she is also active across a wide range of commercial matters, including consumer issues and potentially contentious matters in the banking and energy sectors.

Jesse Wilson is explicitly identified as an "up-and-coming" practitioner by a number of interviewees, with sources further characterising him as "superbly talented" and as "solid, clever and good to deal with." He acts particularly prominently on corporate and construction disputes.

Simon Ladd maintains an impressive disputes practice, embracing both litigation and ADR disciplines and extending across a variety of business sectors, including those of aviation, construction, energy and insurance. Interviewees acknowledge him as an increasingly prominent figure in the market who "gets good work."

Interviewees acknowledge Sophie East as a "well-known individual in the market" who is developing a "fantastic reputation" as a partner likely to be seen at the helm of high-profile pieces of litigation. Her areas of particular expertise, within a wide-ranging commercial disputes capability, include class actions, banking and finance disputes and arbitrations.

Interviewees describe Tim Smith as both "good and smart" and "an exceptionally good lawyer."Able to draw on experience, not only of having acted for the Crown in many domestic cases, but also of having served as a barrister in London, he focuses principally on matters arising in the competition, energy, insolvency and tax spheres and on public law litigation.

Department Information

This content is provided by Bell Gully.


​​We have New Zealand's leading litigation and dispute resolution practice. We won Benchmark Litigation's New Zealand Litigation 2020 Firm of the Year award, and both Chambers Asia Pacific and The Legal 500 Asia Pacific rank us in the top tier, Band 1, for litigation.

We are known for the depth and breadth of our litigation practice, our strong advocacy skills, and our strategic commercial advice.

Our expertise

Our team has significant expertise and experience in dealing with complex and contentious disputes in a wide range of commercial and public fields, including:​

  • Banking and financial disputes​
  • Class actions​​
  • Commercial and contract disputes
  • Competition law​​​
  • Construction disputes
  • Corporate and securities disputes​
  • Defamation and media disputes​​
  • Employment disputes​
  • Insolvency disputes​
  • ​Insurance and professional liability disputes
  • Intellectual property disputes
  • Maori legal issues
  • Product and consumer disputes
  • Property disputes
  • Public law
  • Tax disputes
  • Trust and equity disputes​

We have extensive experience acting in trials and on appeal at all levels of the New Zealand court system. We also regularly represent clients in arbitrations, mediations and other forms of dispute resolution.

In addition, our team also has substantial experience and expertise representing clients in regulatory investigations, proceedings and inquiries, including:

  • Commerce Commission
  • Financial Markets Authority
  • Serious Fraud Office
  • WorkSafe
  • Labour Inspectorate
  • Commissions of Inquiry


Air New Zealand



NZX Limited

Pacific Alliance Group

Pernod Ricard



Vero Insurance

Dispute Resolution Department

Bell Gully

Department location

Vero Centre

48 Shortland Street

PO Box 4199



New Zealand


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Articles, Highlights and Press Releases

Total 5 Articles, Highlights and Press Releases

Ranked Lawyers

Chambers Research is conducted by 200 Research Analysts, across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually we collect hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Learn more about our methodology.

New Zealand

Dispute Resolution

David Friar
Band 3
Jenny Stevens
Band 3
Jesse Wilson
Up and Coming
Sophie East
Band 4
Tim Smith
Band 4