John McKay John McKay

John McKay


Litigation & dispute resolution

John is a senior commercial litigator specialising in construction law, product liability and insurance law.

With over 30 years' experience in commercial litigation, John appears as counsel and advises on complex and high value construction disputes, professional indemnity claims, product liability litigation and rent review arbitrations.  In all of these specialist areas, he has represented clients on some of New Zealand’s largest and most complex claims.

Throughout his career, a constant feature of John’s practice has been his interest in dispute resolution and risk management in the construction industry.  He acts for clients from all sectors, including contractors, principals, engineers, insurers, financiers, suppliers and manufacturers.  Now a consultant after 22 years as a partner in the firm, John has a major focus on continuing his work as a senior advisor to clients in this industry.

John is recognised as a Senior Statesperson for construction by Chambers Asia Pacific 2024 for construction, a Leading Lawyer for dispute resolution by Chambers Global 2024 for dispute resolution​ and in the Hall of Fame by Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2023.

Recent highlights

  • Acting for leading New Zealand and Australian engineering consultancy firms on matters in New Zealand, Australia and other Asia/Pacific jurisdictions, including appearing as counsel in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and in arbitrations.
  • Providing dispute resolution and strategic advice on numerous infrastructure projects. including tunnels, power stations, wastewater treatment plants, state highways, airports, commercial high-rise, ocean outfalls, event centres and wastewater and stormwater networks.
  • Acting as legal advisor to the Engineer to the Contract on a wide range of major projects.
  • Representing James Hardie in relation to leaky building claims and building product liability issues since 2002.
  • Representing BlueScope Steel in defending a large High Court claim relating to the sale of an ironsands mine.
  • Acted for landlords and tenants in multi-million dollar rent review arbitrations and in relation to reinstatement obligations.
  • Acting for parties to High Court litigation relating to unsuccessful takeovers involving publicly listed companies.


  • Member of the New Zealand Society of Construction Law.
  • Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand.

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