- Peter Woods
- Litigation | Insurance
Peter is recognised internationally as one of New Zealand’s leading insurance lawyers. Over the last 10 years he has focused on property claims for earthquake damage in Canterbury and Marlborough. In addition, Peter advises clients on a wide range of commercial disputes, including commercial property, company law, contract interpretation, construction (including leaky homes), defamation, franchise, insurance and intellectual property.
Peter’s insurance work includes leading cases for property damage and broader issues of insurers’ misconduct. He led the claim by Mr and Mrs Dodds against Southern Response Earthquake Services Limited, where the Court determined that Southern Response had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and it had misrepresented the amount that the Dodds were entitled under their Policy. That judgment applies to approximately 3000 claims and will mean approximately $400m is going to be paid to homeowners in Christchurch. Peter also led a successful class action against the Earthquake Commission, which led to the Commission accepting that it had not used the correct standard of repair.
Peter and his team have represented hundreds of residential and commercial property owners, including the leading reported cases for TJK (NZ) Ltd and for Emmons Developments NZ Ltd (where the total sum insured is approximately $190m).
In addition to insurance litigation, Peter has a broad international commercial litigation practice, regularly appearing in the High Court and the Court of Appeal and at arbitrations. He has also appeared before the Royal Commission into the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy and the Canterbury Earthquake Royal Commission.
Peter co-presented the NZ Law Society Seminar on “Insurance – New Challenges” and co-hosted numerous free public meetings on earthquake damage issues. He is a qualified mediator and the Chairman of The Te Kura Trust Foundation and a Trustee of The Lighthouse Vision Trust.
- He is also recommended in the 2017 - 2021 Legal 500 Asia Pacific Guides where clients recommend him for his 'forthright and extremely approachable' manner. He is well regarded for his handling of construction and insurance disputes, and he led the team in several High Court disputes involving property damage in Christchurch, acting for the property owner against the insurer.
- Peter is described, Chambers and Partner's directories as 'probably the most commercial litigation partner that I have come across' 'with Peter, there was no ego involved and he wasn't trying to score points'. Peter is recommended in the 2017 - 2021 Chambers and Partners Directories (Asia Pacific and Global) that notes 'respected commercial litigator with particular expertise in insurance disputes'. A client notes: 'I have found him excellent to deal with, he explains situations well and is a good strategic thinker.' He is an active figure in insurance work related to the Christchurch earthquakes, leading claims against the Earthquake Commission for the defective assessment of damages and the quality of repair.'
- Advising numerous commercial property owners on insurance issues arising from the Canterbury earthquakes, including in respect of BI claims, access issues, demolition requirements and insurance entitlements.
- Represented the successful plaintiff in the leading authority TJK (NZ) Ltd v Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. Ltd, winning a multi-million dollar payment.
- Acting as New Zealand Counsel in international litigation arising from alleged breaches of a supply contract where $10 million damages were claimed.
- Representing an international software development company in a claim for damages in excess of $US5 million.
- Representing the New Zealand subsidiary of a United States listed company at the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy.
- Defending the New Zealand subsidiaries of an Australian based multi-national in an High Court proceeding where conspiracy and unjust enrichment were alleged and damages in excess of $4 million were sought.
- Representing numerous home owners in Court and the WHT for claims for leaky homes defending builders and other trades in weather-tightness claims in the WHT, District Court and High Court.
- BSC/LLB, University of Canterbury
- LLM (Advanced Litigation), Nottingham University
- Accredited Mediator, CEDR, UK
- 1985 (New Zealand)
- 1992 (England and Wales)
- New Zealand Insurance Law Association
- Society for Construction Law
- Member of Franchise Association of New Zealand mediation panel
- Accredited mediator with CEDR (2000)
- He is the co-author of the New Zealand Chapter in 'International Guide to Money Laundering Law and Practice' (Third and Fourth Editions)
- Peter has presented at the ALFA International Client Seminar, New Zealand Law Society and is a trustee of the Lighthouse Vision Trust