What do you love about contract law?
Contract law is ubiquitous – it has such widespread application that it gives rise to a variety of interesting issues. Despite its long history, new issues continue to arise.
Why is knowledge of ‘Indemnities and exclusion clauses’ so important for lawyers at the moment?
The allocation of risk is fundamental to drafting (and enforcing) contracts. Allocation of risk cannot be understood properly without knowing the scope and effect of indemnity and exclusion clauses.
In your experience, what is the biggest mistake that people make when drafting contracts?
Failing to take into account general legal principles when drafting contracts. For example, if underlying common law principles are not taken into consideration when drafting contracts, it is often unclear whether certain clauses are intended to alter or merely restate the position at common law.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (work or personal)?
Don't worry about the things you can't control.
What do you think is the most significant area of development in terms of contract law at the moment?
The extensive amendments to much of New Zealand's consumer law legislation, including the Fair Trading Act 1986, Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 and the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 (among others).
What do you love about your job?
The wide variety of issues that arise on a daily basis. It always keeps you on your toes.
What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
While working in London, our team acted for the ICC in relation to the alleged tampering of a cricket ball during a test match between England and Pakistan. During the test the umpires had ruled that Pakistan had tampered with the ball, the Pakistan players left the field in protest and England was declared the winner. During the subsequent enquiry, the infamous ball was held at our offices and inspected by several former cricketers to enable them to provide their opinions on whether or not it had been tampered with.