Liam McNeely

Liam is a well-respected commercial litigation and international arbitration lawyer with extensive international and local market experience.  He focuses on providing clear, strategic, and commercial solutions for his clients.  

He has particular expertise acting on trust disputes, insurance disputes, insolvency disputes, shareholder disputes, civil fraud cases and international commercial arbitrations.  

Liam was admitted in 2012 and joined the independent bar in 2024, after working in the dispute resolution team at Bell Gully and for over 5 years at a top boutique commercial litigation firm in London.  

Liam is recommended as a Future Leader in the Who’s Who Legal Guide for Commercial Litigation in New Zealand. Legal 500 (UK) also recognised Liam as an “Other Key Lawyer” for Commercial Litigation, International Arbitration and Financial Services: Contentious and Regulatory.

Work Highlights

Trust disputes

·       Acting for an overseas high-net-worth individual in defending High Court proceedings concerning their role as Protector of the New Zealand trust that held their family’s substantial assets.  

·       Acting for a Swiss law firm in protesting jurisdiction and defending High Court proceedings in relation to a success fee paid by a New Zealand trust out of a significant distribution of funds made by a Swiss family Foundation.

·       Acting for a sovereign wealth fund in successfully obtaining pre-commencement discovery and Norwich Pharmacal orders against a New Zealand trustee in relation to an alleged international fraud.  

·       Acting for a charitable trust in High Court proceedings concerning the scope of its charitable objects and an application to vary the trust under the Charitable Trusts Act.

·       Advising trustees on various issues relating to their rights and duties, including confidentiality obligations, issues arising out of failed appointments and de facto trusteeships, regulatory obligations and issues relating to winding up of trust funds.

Insolvency disputes

·       Acting for the receivers of a residential property development in High Court proceedings concerning a dispute over the $180 million secured debt.

·       Acting for the liquidators of a failed online payment/investment platform business with a creditor shortfall of over $50 million, including issuing High Court proceedings for breach of director’s duties and other global investigatory and enforcement steps.

·       Acting for both liquidators and company directors on breach of director’s duties claims arising out of company insolvencies, including related D&O insurance issues.

·       Acting for both creditors and debtors in contested liquidation and statutory demand proceedings, including disputes under the Construction Contracts Act.  

Insurance cases

·       Acting for life insurers in various High Court proceedings, including disputes over Total Disability and Trauma benefits and an insurer’s right to receive medical records and conduct medical assessments.

·       Acting for insurers in various High Court and other proceedings relating to property damage insurance claims.

·       Advising on various non-contentious insurances matters, including regulatory issues (FMCA and IPSA), and the negotiation and drafting of D&O policies, POSI policies, directors’ deeds of indemnity and Crown indemnities.

Civil fraud disputes

·       Acting for a high-net-worth individual in US $20 million civil fraud proceedings brought against him arising out of the restructuring of various alternative investment products.

·       Acting for a NASDAQ-listed company on a deceit claim brought personally against the sole director/shareholder of a New Zealand entity that it invested in.

·       Acting for a London-based music recording studio and production company in relation to a claim against former senior management concerning a conspiracy to defraud the company and divert clients, business opportunities and IP to related parties.

·       Acting for a high-net-worth individual in various English High Court proceedings relating to the nature and extent of the global freezing orders obtained against him and his companies.

International commercial arbitration

·       Acting on a shareholder dispute under the LCIA Rules in relation to a US $500 million loan made by the majority shareholder to a related party.

·       Acting on an ad hoc arbitration under the UNCITRAL Rules in relation to a derivate action arising out of alleged historical misappropriation of over US $1 billion of company funds.

·       Acting on a substantial civil fraud claim under the LCIA Rules in relation to a dispute over ownership of assets in the aviation industry.  

·       Acting in English High Court proceedings seeking to set aside an arbitral award.

General commercial litigation

·       Acting for an NZX-listed company in the High Court and Court of Appeal opposing a competitor’s application to judicially review Overseas Investment Act consent granted to purchase a significant parcel of land for residential development.

·       Acting for the minority unit title holders of a hotel in downtown Auckland in two sets of High Court proceedings against the Body Corporate and the director/owner of the majority unit title holders’ interests.

·       Acting for the Malaysian majority shareholder of an English telecommunications PLC in English High Court proceedings relating to disputed ownership of shares in the PLC.

·       Advising a FTSE 250 company on a significant potential claim against a financial institution concerning alleged market manipulation and front-running of a major derivatives transaction.

·       Acting for a major participant in the IT/healthcare sector on a substantial contractual dispute with an international healthcare conglomerate.

·       Acting for a Māori community health trust in an ongoing dispute with an IT/healthcare provider in relation to breaches of contract and privacy obligations.

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