Mathew specialises in professional negligence and disciplinary proceedings for a wide range of professionals, including solicitors, valuers, construction professionals, and brokers. He also has significant experience in product and general liability matters, ISR (plant and heavy auto), defamation, and subrogated recoveries.

He often advises on complex indemnity disputes and has acted in litigated indemnity claims under Property, Political Risk, FI, Bond, PI and GL policies. He was involved in a number of complex multi-jurisdictional Directors & Officers and financial institution (liability and bond) indemnity claims arising out of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

Spending a significant period working in the UK, Mathew is well acquainted with London market practices, including excess layer, facultative and captive arrangements.

Mathew has been ranked as a “leading practitioner” by The Asia-Pacific Legal 500 since 2017, and a “recognised practitioner” by Chambers & Partners Asia Pacific, since 2018. He is admitted to practice in New Zealand and England & Wales.

Insurance Litigation

  • Successfully representing overseas insurers in opposing claims for joinder to NZ proceedings under s.9 Law Reform Act 1936 (the statutory charge) on jurisdictional grounds. This left the insurers free to defend/settle the indemnity claims directly with insureds and in one instance, avoid cover for fraudulent non-disclosure.
  • Defending an indemnity claim under a political risk policy in High Court proceedings and on appeal (regarding arbitration rights) to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court decision is now the leading authority on the question of precedence between summary judgment applications and arbitration agreements.
  • Successfully defending the PI insurers of a multinational construction company on an indemnity claim by the company liquidators and co-defendants for a leaky building liability. At the time the judgment against the company ($25 million) was the largest “leaky” judgment in NZ. The insurers declinature under a workmanship exclusion was upheld.
  • Acted for a property insurer facing a c$1 million claim for arson to plant.  It was suspected the arson was the intentional act of the insured.  Cover was successfully avoided for fraudulent non-disclosure of a moral hazard (prior convictions).

Professional Liability

  • Acts for New Zealand’s largest valuation firms on liability claims and disciplinary matters. Has defended numerous charges before the Valuers Registration Board including having undervaluation charges on a commercial property dismissed mid-hearing. Has also defended liability claims for undervaluation, breach of agency, breach of confidence and conflict of interest.
  • Regularly acts for solicitors on liability and disciplinary matters. Has defended claims in respect of conveyancing, commercial business sales, trust management, trustee liability, and conduct of litigation.  Has defended solicitors before the Standards Committee and Disciplinary Tribunal on a range of charges including fraudulent trust account certification, assistance (unintentional) in committing fraud, conflict of interest and negligence.
  • Defended claims against architects and engineers for faulty draughtsmanship, leaky buildings, subsidence issues, failures with building services and failed Canterbury earthquake repairs.

Product Liability + Recall

  • Advising on product liability cases including failed marine fittings which resulted in the subsequent loss of a yacht, MAF export labels, industrial and agricultural plant, and horticulture products leading to crop loss and labour claims.
  • Acted for a fuel company in the successful defence of High Court proceedings alleging the fuel provided to historic race cars was not fit for purpose.

Recoveries

  • Conducted a successful recovering against a dishonest employee under a fidelity claim. Managed to obtain freezing orders over bank accounts and charges against property held by the employee to affect a full recovery, including costs, so that net loss to insurers and insured was nil.
  • Successfully brought recovery proceedings for the hull and business interruption losses following the widely publicised Auckland viaduct helicopter crash.
  • Has conducted a number of recoveries for insurers in relation to property damage, fidelity claims and motor losses.
Areas of Expertise
  • Defamation
  • Directors + Officers Liability
  • Fidelity + Crime
  • Financial Institutions
  • Industrial Special Risks
  • Management Liability
  • Political Risk
  • Product Liability + Recall
  • Professional Liability
  • Subrogated Recoveries

Industry Representation
  • Agriculture
  • Construction + Infrastructure
  • Financial Institutions + Services
  • Industrial + Commercial Property
  • Manufacturing + Consumer Goods
  • Professionals + Business Services

Professional Affiliations
  • New Zealand Insurance Law Association