Partner - Auckland

William Fotherby

William is a highly sought-after litigator with world-class expertise in investigations, fraud, and white-collar crime.

William is a highly sought-after litigator with world-class expertise in investigations, fraud, and white-collar crime.

William Fotherby


William is a trusted advisor to a wide range of public-and private-sector clients. He acts in cases involving suspected fraud and whistleblowing, money laundering and sanctions, contractual disputes, breaches of directors’ duties, and employment obligations. He has acted for national governments, financial institutions, large multinational companies, and high-net-worth individuals.

He has made hundreds of appearances, at every level of the New Zealand court system.

He holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Cambridge, with first-class honours. He previously worked as an attorney in the London office of an American law firm, in one of the world’s best white-collar-crime practices.

In 2017, he was admitted to the English Bar and is a member of Middle Temple. In 2023, he was admitted to the bar of the Pitcairn Islands.

He is the International Chamber of Commerce Fraudnet member for New Zealand and authors the New Zealand chapter of the GIR Practitioner’s Guide to Investigations.  

He is a former editor-in-chief of the Auckland University Law Review.

Recent Cases & Achievements

Fujifilm Business Innovation New Zealand Limited v Whittaker [2021] NZHC 3292

Advisor and counsel for the New Zealand subsidiaries of a large multinational company through a major internal investigation and subsequent high-profile litigation against its former directors and auditor involving allegations of massive revenue fraud.

THL (2005) v JDR Ltd [2022] NZHC 3627

Counsel for one of New Zealand’s largest construction companies in investigating and freezing the assets of past employees and contractors suspected of a long-running, multi-million-dollar invoicing fraud.


Representing a senior civil servant responding to an Auditor-General investigation and in relation to related issues, including allegations of defamation.

Successful recovery of bulk of international investors' investments following claim against New Zealand-based advisor and financial institution.

Advising and representing an international financial institution in litigation involving allegations of suspected money-laundering by its customers.


  • Admitted as NZ Barrister and Solicitor, 2009
  • Admitted as English Barrister, 2017
  • Admitted to the Bar of Pitcairn Islands, 2023
  • BA/LLB(Hons), University of Auckland, 2009
  • LLM(Hons), University of Cambridge, England, 2015
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Civil Litigation and Practice, 2017-present
  • Editor-in-chief, Auckland University Law Review, 2008
  • Leonard Coling Scholarship (Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge), 2015
  • Barrie Connell Memorial Scholarship, 2014
  • Spencer Mason Travelling Scholarship in Law, 2014
  • ICC Fraudnet Member for New Zealand, 2023

Book chapters

  • Author of the “New Zealand” chapter in J. Seddon et al (eds), The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations (GIR, Sixth ed. 2022).
  • Co-author of “The Divergent Paths of Commonwealth Privacy Torts” chapter in Prof M. Hall (ed), The Canadian Law of Obligations: Private Law for the 21st Century and Beyond (LexisNexis, 2018).
  • Co-author of “Production of Information to Authorities” chapter in J. Seddon et al (eds), The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations (GIR, First ed. 2017, Second ed. 2018, Third ed. 2019).

Published articles 

  • “Why is whistleblowing legislation so ineffective (and what can we do about it)?” Global Investigation Review (21 March 2022) (co-authored with E. Barnes)
  • “Luckin Coffee: A Chinese Fraud or Just Fraud” (2020) 31 Journal of Banking and Finance Law Practice 195, 231 (co-authored with F. Roday)
  • “A view from the least corrupt country in the world: do we care too much about the perception of corruption?” Global Investigation Review (30 March 2020) (co-authored with S. Rankin)
  • Proprietary Rights to Fish: Borwick Development Solutions Ltd v Clear Water Fisheries Ltd(2020) 9(2) Journal of Civil Litigation and Practice 80 (co-authored with B. Rorrison)
  • "Suing Unknown Defendants: Cameron v Liverpool Victoria Insurance Co Ltd” (2019) 8(2) Journal of Civil Litigation and Practice 80
  • “Apparent Authority in the Privy Council: East Asia Company Ltd v PT Satria Tirtatama Energindo” (2019) 8(3) Journal of Civil Litigation and Practice 122
  • “The RBS Rights Issue Litigation” (2017) 6(1) Journal of Civil Litigation and Practice 6
  • “Don’t Tell Me What the Papers Say: PJS v News Group Newspapers Ltd” (2016) 5(4) Journal of Civil Litigation and Practice 212 (co-authored with S. Beswick)
  • “The Right to Refuse Life-Saving Treatment and the Prohibition of Assisted Suicide” (2016) 5(1) Journal of Civil Litigation and Practice 13
  • “The Overseas Territories and the British Courts” (2016) 16(2) Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal 292
  • “Dealing with Querulous Litigants (part two)” (2013) 2 Journal of Civil Litigation and Practice 185 (co-authored with Judge Joyce QC)
  • “How to use Wrotham Park damages” (2013) 19 New Zealand Business Law Quarterly 214
  • “Dealing with Querulous Litigants (part one)” (2012) 1 Journal of Civil Litigation and Practice 66 (co-authored with Judge Joyce QC)
  • “Surveilling the Stopgap” [2011] New Zealand Law Journal 404 (co-authored with S. Beswick)
  • “Taking Self-Represented Litigants Seriously” (2010) 2(2) New Zealand Law Students’ Journal 353
  • “Law that is Pro Se (Not Poetry): Towards a System of Civil Justice that Works for Litigants without Lawyers” [2010] 15 Auckland University Law Review 53
  • “Tortious Liability of Directors: Body Corporate 202254 v Taylor” [2009] 14 Auckland University Law Review 227
  • “Foreign Princes in Far Off Lands: A Brief History of How International Law Governing Mercenaries Has Aided Colonial and Neo-Colonial Exploitation of ‘Uncivilised’ Nations” (2009) 2(1) New Zealand Law Students’ Journal 171