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Richard Johnstone.

LLB Hons (1985) University of Canterbury
  • LinkedIn
An introduction


My work is primarily civil litigation, professional conduct and liability, insurance and construction disputes.  

I appear regularly as lead counsel in District and High Courts, and Tribunals (including CEIT and WHT), and have conducted appeals before the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. 

My specialist areas :
  • Dispute resolution advocacy, including civil litigation and mediation

  • Building disputes and Construction Contracts Act claims

  • Insurance

    • Professional, Product and General Liability claims, actions and defence

    • Property (including cyber) and liability insurance claims, presentation and negotiation

    • General Insurance claims, negotiation and disputes

    • Natural disaster (earthquake and cyclone) insurance claims and repair/re-repair disputes

  • Professional conduct and liability

    • Lawyers’ professional conduct and discipline, ethics and negligence

    • Liability claims and complaint representation for Brokers, Financial Planners, Architects, Quantity Surveyors, Engineers and Builders

    • Partnership/director disputes and law practice leadership

    • Complaint and discipline determination and process advice for professional bodies

  • Mediation advocacy and appointment as mediator

  • Arbitrations and Determinations ( eg under REINZ/ADLS agreements for sale and purchase of land) advocacy and appointment to arbitral panel or as determiner

  • Intellectual property and invasion of privacy

  • Trusts, wills and estate litigation

  • Relationship property disputes and challenged s21 agreements

  • Privacy and information access

  • Land, access and water disputes

  • Sports law including conduct and discipline process advice and decision-making, and Incorporated Societies’ Act reforms


I am available to assist lawyers and other disciplines with training and practice development.  Some recent/prospective presentations include :

  • NZIOB legal breakfast update July 2023 and (proposed) June 2024 (Christchurch and Dunedin)

  • NZIQS presentations March 2024 (Dunedin)

  • Liability case law updates, various broking houses


Other relevant roles :

  • Member of NZ Bar Association and the NZ Law Society

  • Friends’ Panel of NZ Law Society including ‘Sensitive Matters’ panel

  • Associate member of Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of NZ (AMINZ)

  • Mentor for litigation teams and individual practitioners

  • Convenor (former) of NZLS Canterbury/Westland standards committees (9 years)

  • Life Member of New Zealand Insurance Law Association (NZILA) - former national committee member (22 years) and national president

  • Associate member of NZIOB


I will accept engagement through your existing lawyer, or I am able to arrange a specific brief with another firm to be identified and agreed with you.

In some instances, I can take instructions directly, particularly for opinions, including arbitral or determination roles, and non-dispute advice.

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