Chris Patterson
Barrister / Executive Director



I can say that I am a seasoned litigator and dispute resolution specialist.  What I prefer to say is that my primary interest is to solve the problems that get in the way of the clients who have retained me to act for them.  My clients receive, at their disposal, my broad range of skills and experience to ensure that they get the best available legal advice and representation.

I can also say that clients and colleagues regularly call upon me to provide strategic and outcome-focused advice to resolve a wide range of disputes.  What I prefer to say is that I continue to assist individuals and businesses in guiding them through the claims process to resolution.  I have built an enviable reputation on the back of taking the responsibility of obtaining excellent results in some of New Zealand's leading Court judgments and negotiated settlements.  I got to this point after working in New York in the mid-1990s, a few short years at one of New Zealand's top litigation law firms, a decade at the New South Wales bar and over 20 years at the independent bar in New Zealand.  During the past two decades, I have been counsel in over 150 witness hearings, numerous appeal hearings, including in the Supreme Court of New Zealand, and over 1,000 third-party facilitated settlements, not to mention the several thousand directly negotiated resolutions.

I hold a conjoint law and commerce degree with Honours from the University of Otago.  I was admitted as a barrister and solicitor to the High Court of New Zealand in 1997, the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 2001, the High Court of Australia in 2004, the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2009, and the Supreme Court of Tonga in 2021.  I joined the independent bar in New Zealand and also New South Wales in 2001.  I held a practising certificate in that State for over a decade.  I served the profession as an elected member of the Auckland Branch Council of the New Zealand Law Society between 2015 – 2019.

I have a Master of Laws (LLM) at the University of Melbourne, which was ranked by QS as number 6 globally during my graduating year, just behind Harvard.  By comparison, Auckland University's law school, being New Zealand's top law school, is only ranked number 33.  I was able to tailor my LLM degree across nine areas of law, all of which are directly relevant to the large majority of work I undertake for clients.  This benefits most of my clients and ensures they receive the best available legal advice and representation.  Honours is not a distinction recognised as part of Melbourne's LLM programme.  My point average was equivalent to an honours grade.

I have been an approved Legal Aid provider (Civil, Family, Appeals and Criminal PAL 1 & 2) since 1998.  A significant aspect of my practice for nearly a quarter of a century stands as proof of my commitment to access to justice.

A few aspects of my non work life

I was a board member of Basketball New Zealand from 2011 until 2018 after reaching the maximum number of terms and period of service.  In my last two years, I was the deputy chair.  I was appointed by FIBA in 2014 as one of its ten international legal commissioners and have been repointed for successive terms.  In addition to Basketball, I was a board member of Softball New Zealand (2018 – 2020).  Outside of the boardroom, I have had a lifetime interest in water sports as a surfer, scuba diver, former surf lifesaver and former water polo player.  Outside of sport, I am a qualified pilot and have, since 2006, been a part-owner of a Socata Tobago (TB-10) aircraft.  I completed eleven marathons with a current personal best of 3:30 (Auckland 2016) until a serious leg injury slowed me down.  I raised just under $4,500 in donations for the New Zealand Prostate Cancer Foundation as a result of completing the 2014 Auckland marathon.  Some of my wildlife photographs have been published in NZ Photographer magazine and, occasionally, I manage to capture and upload a reasonable photograph into Instagram: @christographnz


Vulcan Steel Ltd v McDermott

[2011] 8 NZELR 576
Confidential information - Breach of statutory duty

Wong v Weathertight Homes Tribunal

[2011] NZCCLR 5
Judicial Review – Parties
View Document

Mayne v Polychem Marketing

[2012] ERNZ 126
Employment Law – Jurisdiction
View Document

Hally Labels v Powell

[2011] ERNZ 233
Employment Law – Restraint of Trade – Breach of confidentiality
View Document

N Ltd v O

[2012] 9 NZELR 570
Employment Law - Interim Reinstatement
View Document

BFSL 2007 Ltd v Steigrad

[2014] NZLR 304
Insurance – Policy – Statutory Charge
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Powell v Ogilvy New Zealand Ltd

[2011] DCR 336
Summary judgment - Contract – Breach – Remedies - Trade Practices – Fair trading – Prohibited conduct
View Document

Simpson Grierson v Gilmour

[2009] 19 PRNZ 856 (HC)
Civil procedure – Summary judgment
View Document