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Helen joined Kensington Swan in 2005. She is special counsel in Kensington Swan’s Wellington office and is part of both the construction and litigation teams.

In the construction area Helen advises clients on a range of legal issues in relation major building projects which includes the review and preparation of contracts and tender documents. She has in-depth knowledge of the major New Zealand and international standard form contracts. Helen is experienced in drafting a range of documents required for construction projects including bespoke contracts, standard form contracts and consultant contracts.

Helen has also acted for clients in resolving construction disputes. This includes adjudications under the Construction Contracts Act 2002, District and High Court proceedings, and proceedings before the Weathertight Homes Tribunal.

In relation to her litigation practice, Helen provides advice to clients on all aspects of commercial disputes, and has appeared on several occasions in the District Court and the High Court, and regularly attends mediation and negotiations on behalf of clients. Helen’s experience in litigation has a particular focus on health law, involving advice on the operation of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act, and appearances before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal in the prosecution of health practitioners. Helen also has considerable experience advising public and private sector organisations on public law and governance issues.

Read about my experience in:

CONSTRUCTION DISPUTES: CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS ACT AND LEAKY BUILDINGS

Adjudication under the Construction Contracts Act often arises under urgency with very short timeframes to prepare claims, responses, and statements from experts and other witnesses. Helen is very experienced in advising clients on the strategic aspects of adjudications, and in preparing adjudication claims, responses, and briefing evidence regarding issues arising under construction projects including time and delay claims.

Helen has significant experience acting for both plaintiffs and defendants in proceedings involving ‘leaky buildings’. Helen has advised on residential properties, schools, and commercial buildings with claims for remedial costs worth millions of dollars. This work has involved appearances in the Weathertight Homes Tribunal and numerous mediations.

Recent work highlights:

Acted for a Wellington-based construction company in successful adjudication proceedings under the Construction Contracts Act and subsequent enforcement proceedings against a development company. This also involved advising on subsequent arbitration proceedings and defending an appeal to the High Court by the development company which was successfully defended.

We assisted our client who was a defendant in a High Court leaky building claim. We defended those proceedings which involved appearing in the Court on interlocutory matters, and working very closely with the building and quantum experts over several months. Our strategic advice assisted in achieving a satisfactory settlement for the client.

MAJOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

The drafting of contract documentation is extremely important. Helen advises clients in relation to construction contracts, consultant contracts, bonds, and conditions of tendering, and services agreements. 

Christchurch rebuild contracts
Helen has advised clients on three-party constructions contracts between insurers, homeowners, and builders for the rebuilding of residential properties in Christchurch following the 2010/2011 earthquakes. This involved identifying potential risks and providing solutions relating to the provisions around payments, variations, and insurance. 

Specialist expertise across property, construction and commercial law
Helen’s recent work includes advising a lines company on a change to the type of contract and drafting special conditions for its project, advising a development company in relation to the construction of an apartment complex including advice on consultants’ agreements, preparing the design and build contract, and related issues such as indemnities. Recently Helen has also advised a regional council in drafting conditions of tendering and special conditions of contract for the remediation work on a leaky building owned by the council. 

LITIGATION

Helen has appeared in the District Court, High Court and specialist tribunals such as the Weathertight Homes Tribunal and the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.  She advises clients on a wide-range of disputes including contractual and negligence claims, and public law issues. Helen is also experienced in other forms of dispute resolution such as mediations.

In particular, Helen has significant experience in the medico-legal area, regularly advises clients on complex governance issues, and acts in prosecutions before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal. 

Pharmacy Council of New Zealand. 
We advise the Council on governance issues arising under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act particularly in relation to the Council’s powers under that legislation. The Council also engages us as legal advisor to professional conduct committees and in the role of prosecutor of pharmacists before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.

Recently, Helen successfully prosecuted a pharmacist before the Tribunal and subsequently was successful in defending an appeal of that decision in the High Court.

District Council
Our client was party to a dispute that involved several complex issues such as obligations arising under an agreement to lease and administrative law obligations. Over several months, Helen was advising the client on dispute resolution strategy which included mediation, as well as advising on specific obligations arising under local government legislation. This advice was instrumental in the client being able to ensure that it was able to resolve commercial matters while still meeting its public law obligations.

PUBLIC AND REGULATORY LAW

Helen has an in-depth understanding of the relationship between the public and private sector and has acted on several judicial review proceedings, as well as advising public sector clients who are subject to specific regulatory framework.

Helen has significant experience in local government legislation and issues arising under the Official Information Act and Privacy Act.

The decisions of Government and regulators can often have significant impacts on individuals and on businesses. As a result, organisations in both the public and private sector need to understand the relevant public and administrative law obligations. This area of law can often be complex.

Local government clients 
Helen has acted for a district council in defending judicial review proceedings brought in relation to a bylaw that had been enacted. We have acted in for the same client in relation to advice on the impacts of a commercial agreement on consultation and other public law obligations. This involves complex commercial and public law issues as well as drafting agreements.

In relation to another local government client, Helen advises it on its bylaw making powers and related obligations such as consultation.

Lines companies
Helen has assisted clients with implementing legislative compliance programmes. This assists clients to ensure that it has identified legislation that is relevant to its business and to establish strategies to allow it to identify areas of risk and strategies to ensure appropriate monitoring of those obligations. 

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