Tom Richards Tom Richards

Tom Richards
Senior Solicitor

Litigation & dispute resolution

Tom acts on a variety of commercial litigation matters including contractual issues, tort claims, and international trust disputes.

His work routinely involves drafting court pleadings, evidence and submissions, and Tom has appeared in the High Court and the Land Valuation Tribunal (as sole counsel) and assisted with matters before the Court of Appeal.

With a special interest is construction law, Tom works for principals and contractors on major infrastructure and commercial projects. His work on buildability issues was published in the International Bar Association’s Construction Law International publication.

He has particular strengths in tackling difficult legal problems and complex factual situations, teasing out what really matters in terms of legal propositions and relevant evidence. He tends to see complexity as a worthy challenge and not as a daunting obstacle.

Recent highlights

  • Successfully defending, as sole counsel, objections against independent valuations of Māori freehold land forestry blocks. Significantly, the judgment accepted that Mangatu deductions remain appropriate despite amendments to the Māori Freehold Land regime.
  • Routinely advising and acting for the Crown in multi-million dollar variation and delay disputes arising out of essential infrastructure projects.
  • Advising a Crown entity on threatened class action claims connected with major infrastructural works.
  • Representing the beneficiary of a New Zealand foreign trust in an eight-figure claim, for breach of trust and conspiracy, against six defendants in three jurisdictions.
  • Acting for a major contractor in High Court proceedings, defending against claims made by unsuccessful subcontract tenderers in equity and under the Fair Trading Act.
  • Preparing submissions opposing, and appearing as junior counsel for, a High Court hearing on an opposing party’s application for leave to amend their defence out of time.


  • Arbitrators & Mediators Institute of New Zealand.
  • New Zealand Society of Construction Law.

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