Stephanie de Groot
Senior Associate, MinterEllisonRuddWatts
Stephanie is a senior lawyer in MinterEllisonRuddWatt’s environment practice, specialising in all aspects of environmental and resource management law. She advises on a broad range of issues from consenting, planning and regulatory compliance through to due diligence for major acquisitions and divestments and environmental dispute resolution. Her clients span both the private and public sector and include government ministries and organisations, private property owners, developers, asset managers and operators in the primary and energy sectors. Stephanie has particular expertise in climate change response and is sought after for her advice on climate change regulation, policy development and compliance with the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.
Scott is a partner in MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ construction practice and co-lead of the firm’s energy sector group. He specialises in working with clients during the project delivery phase of complex infrastructure projects and dispute resolution. He is currently leading a team involved in helping a principal deliver a complex renewable energy project. He has also been part of the core team involved in delivering Transmission Gully for the Wellington Gateway Partnership. Scott has a particular interest in delivering sustainable infrastructure and energy projects and is a valuable contributor to work being undertaken by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia and Chancery Lane Project team. Prior to joining MinterEllisonRuddWatts, he practised in the United States (Texas and Washington) as a transactions and projects specialist in the energy sector.
Managing Director of Building Disputes Tribunal, Arbitrator, Mediator and Adjudicator
John is a leading figure in dispute resolution in New Zealand. He is a Chartered Arbitrator and has extensive experience in the design and delivery of dispute resolution processes and the resolution of building, construction and infrastructure disputes.
Chief Forecaster, Infometrics
Gareth heads up the forecasting team at Infometrics, managing the preparation of the company’s regular forecast publications. Within the forecast process, he is responsible for the macroeconomic overview and building and property forecasts. Gareth has completed a range of consulting projects, many focused on the housing market and construction industry, and he regularly provides presentations that provide relevant economic information in an accessible, clear, and entertaining manner. He is also frequently sought out by the media for comment on topical economic issues.
Partner, Russell McVeagh
Michael Taylor practices in commercial litigation with a particular focus on construction, infrastructure and information technology law. He practiced at the London Commercial Bar for 15 years before joining Russell McVeagh.
Michael ranked as Leading Junior Counsel in The Legal 500 UK and Chambers & Partners UK, and now represents principals, contractors and professionals on major construction and project disputes. Michael is a committee member for the Society of Construction Law.
Senior Solicitor, Russell McVeagh
Joanna Trezise is a commercial litigator at Russell McVeagh. She acts on a broad range of matters, including construction disputes, contractual and statutory interpretation issues, applications for judicial review, and regulatory investigations. She is also the editor of Russell McVeagh’s quarterly construction disputes publication, Breaking Ground. Joanna previously worked as a prosecutor, undertaking criminal prosecutions on behalf of regulatory agencies and the Crown. She is a member of the Society of Construction Law, the National Association of Women in Construction, and the Women’s Infrastructure Network.
Executive Director, Construction Strategy Group and Chief Executive, New Zealand Building Industry Federation
Julien Leys is a very experienced communicator with over 23 years working in both the private and public sectors including the New Zealand Government. He was the legal and communications adviser to the Minister of Local Government in New Zealand’s first MMP Parliament. Julien ran his own award-winning communications consultancy PR Partners for 10 years before merging his business with Trans-Tasman consultancy SenateSHJ where he was the General Manager and a senior Partner for several years. He is a specialist in Government relations, advocacy and reputation management. Julien has provided strategic counsel to a range of New Zealand and global organisations including in the infrastructure and construction sectors. He has a particular interest in contracting procurement, solutions for housing affordability and ways to achieve consistent productivity in the construction sector. He holds a first-class Honours Master’s degree in Law and is a Qualified Member of the Auckland District Law Society. He is also the Chair of the College of Fellows, and a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (FPRINZ)
Katrina Van Houtte
Partner, Dentons Kensington Swan
Katrina in a partner in the Construction and Major Projects Team at Dentons Kensington Swan, and advises clients on both front-end and back-end construction matters. Katrina joined Dentons Kensington Swan in July 2019 from the in-house legal team at Fletcher Building. Katrina has also recently been appointed as a board member for Infrastructure New Zealand.
Katrina has significant experience advising on projects facing cost and time overruns and enjoys advising her clients on how to best set up projects for success from the outset.
Executive Director, Building Disputes Tribunal
Catherine is the Executive Director of the Building Disputes Tribunal (BDT), New Zealand Dispute Resolution Centre (NZDRC), New Zealand International Arbitration Centre (NZIAC), and the New Zealand Family Dispute Resolution Centre (FDR Centre). She also has her own practice working as a barrister, arbitrator, adjudicator, and mediator.
Prior to starting her private dispute resolution practice, Catherine gained a wide range of experience in commercial litigation matters both onshore and offshore, including with Russell McVeagh (Auckland), Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP (London), and Mourant Ozannes (Cayman Islands).
Whilst working in leading law firms both onshore and offshore, Catherine has gained extensive experience in a wide range of commercial litigation matters, including fraud, insolvency, contractual, financial services, tax avoidance and regulatory issues.
Partner, Hesketh Henry
Helen is a partner in the Hesketh Henry Litigation and Dispute Resolution team with specialist expertise in construction law. She has over 25 years of legal experience. She read law at Oxford and was admitted as a barrister in London, before moving to New York where she worked as a litigation attorney for 15 years.
Helen has developed extensive experience in the construction sector both in providing front end advice on contract drafting and in addressing issues that arise during the course of a project. Complementing this, Helen also has extensive experience in construction disputes, spanning CCA payment claim adjudications to litigation arising out of defective construction. This provides her with a comprehensive understanding of what can go wrong on a building project.
Helen also has significant experience in commercial property disputes and professional indemnity (construction) matters. She has appeared as sole counsel in the New Zealand District and High Courts.
Partner, Duncan Cotterill
Aaron specialises in commercial litigation and insurance law and has particular expertise managing large, complex disputes. He has 20 years of expertise, practicing in both New Zealand and Canada. Aaron leads, and provides advice on, a wide array of disputes, including insurance, contract, negligence, construction, director liability, and debt recovery and insolvency. He is a recommended lawyer for insurance as recognised by the Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021 legal directory, and within the construction sector he often advises on the course of general liability policies, contract works policies, and property policies.
Director, Urban Outcomes Limited
Natasha is a construction industry professional with more than 20 years’ experience in large scale construction projects for both the public and private sectors in New Zealand and abroad. Natasha’s career has developed in varied roles as a client, consultant, main contractor and subcontractor. She has established herself as a commercially astute director, with extensive strategy development experience and a successful track record of implementation, delivery and growth. Natasha now specialises in providing independent Engineer to the Contract, project recovery and advisory services on infrastructure projects. Natasha is the sole Director of Urban Outcomes Limited, a construction consultancy focusing on the outcomes of a project from the outset. She also sits on the Board of Site Safe New Zealand and the NZIOB Central Chapter Committee.
CEO, Leighs Construction
Gary Walker has a wealth of experience across a wide range of senior construction and design-related roles, both in New Zealand and internationally. He has a long history of leading large, site-based construction teams, internal departments, regional business units, multidisciplinary design teams, and multiple stakeholder environments.
As CEO of Leighs Construction, Gary is responsible for all aspects of the Leighs Construction business from setting the strategic vision and direction, to overseeing operational delivery. Gary is passionate about sustainability; his focus is on the built environment and is responsible for the overall management and wof projects nationwide, driving improvement in project delivery.
Gary actively promotes a holistic, all encapsulating, and human factor-based thinking: “I work to foster a team environment by making sure people understand one another’s roles, our principles and culture, and that innovation and idea sharing through collaboration is always encouraged and supported. It is important that our teams have the tools and technology to work as effectively and efficiently as possible, so I am focussed on ensuring that as a business we are embracing new thinking and technology in ways that will empower our staff.”
Gary is involved in several industry bodies which includes his role as Board Director of SiteSafe, and Chairman of the Construction Strategy Group (CSG). Both roles allow Gary to pursue his goals for sustainability of people and places.
Managing risk and commercial outcomes continues to be front of mind for the building and construction sector, with factors such as increased demand for people and product, hikes in the cost of building materials and delays continuing to put pressure on the building supply chain.
The 5th annual Thomson Reuters Building & Construction Law Conference will address the key legal, regulatory and compliance issues affecting the sector as we continue to navigate the new normal.
Whether you provide legal advice to the construction sector, or are part of the sector itself, understanding and proactively managing your contract risk is critical to your business success.
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