James Cairney


James is a commercial litigation partner. He heads up Meredith Connell’s health and safety practice.  He is an experienced regulatory lawyer and acts for and advises companies, boards, and government bodies in respect of health and safety compliance and litigation. 

James is also a Teaching Fellow at the University of Auckland Law School and, on behalf of the Crown, prosecutes jury trials involving serious criminal offending.

  • Acting for companies and insureds in investigations and litigation following workplace fatalities and other serious workplace incidents.
  • Assisting companies with enforceable undertakings under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
  • Advising boards of directors, governmental bodies, and District Health Boards on compliance with health and safety laws. 
  • Acting for the Financial Markets Authority in the civil proceedings against the directors of the Hanover group of finance companies (Financial Markets Authority v Hotchin & Ors). 
  • Advising the Commerce Commission with regard to its investigations into and settlements with three major banks in respect of the alleged mis-selling of interest rate swap contracts.
  • Acting for the Commerce Commission in its current case stated in relation to peer-to-peer lending (Commerce Commission v Harmoney Limited).
  • Acting for the Crown and the Attorney-General in criminal proceedings and judicial review in relation to the Five Star group of finance companies (R v Bowden; R v Williams; Williams v District Court at Auckland).

LLB (Hons) (Senior Scholarship in Law), University of Auckland

Published work:  Finding, Freezing and Attaching Assets - A Multi-Jurisdictional Handbook (Jacobsen; 2016 Wolters Kluwer; New Zealand Chapter, Cairney and Morrison).

James has also won a number of academic prizes, including a Senior Scholarship from the University of Auckland’s Law faculty, the Brookfields Lawyers Scholarship, the Brookers Prize in Torts and Contract Law, the NZ Law Review Prize, and the Allan W Mewett Memorial Prize in Evidence.