James Turner


Albany Office
James Turner
's Insights

Areas of Expertise

Bankruptcy & Personal Insolvency
Construction and Building Matters
Consumer and Fair Trading Claims
Criminal and Traffic Offences
Employment - Employees
Employment - Employers
Insolvency & Debt Recovery
Land and Property Disputes
Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Money Claims
Trust and Estate Litigation


I help businesses and private individuals to resolve disputes as well as issues about their current obligations such as leases, agreements, contracts, employment matters and relationships. I also represent clients in Courts and Tribunals and help them to recover moneys owing. I provide general employment advice and act as an external Human Resources resource for a number of small business clients and employees. If you are looking for a lawyer who:

  • will analyse your problem and suggest legal and practical steps to address it;
  • can communicate difficult concepts clearly and concisely; and
  • is able to apply legal concepts and the law to your scenario, to assess your risk and find solutions;

then I can help.

While litigation is sometimes the most appropriate way to resolve a dispute, in other circumstances negotiation, mediation or dialogue with the other party works just as effectively, if not better. Because I’ve had vast experience dealing with difficult disputes (both in New Zealand and overseas) I can suggest the best way forward and put my clients at ease quickly.

When I start working with a new client I like to meet in person to understand their problem and the outcome they’re looking for. I can then provide my initial appraisal of the pitfalls and risks and a suggested way forward.

I encourage full communication. I’m nearly always available on the phone and I believe it’s important to get back to people quickly. My clients tell me I give good practical, pragmatic and timely advice.

I’m very conscious of the fact that lawyers are expensive so, if you choose to work with me, I will let you know the steps involved and the likely cost.

I will keep you informed about how costs are tracking against estimate to prevent a nasty surprise.

Two of my biggest achievements were winning a High Court claim for the owner on a structurally defective home and having a Director client accused of aiding a tax default, being absolved of any penalty for personal wrong doing by the Court, as well as defending a client in a five day jury trial.


I was drawn to litigation and dispute resolution after participating in speech competitions at school. I also enjoyed advocacy at university.                    

I worked at the Crown Law Office in Wellington before joining McVeagh Fleming in 1994. I moved to London in 1996 and worked for a number of firms including Sidley Austin and Beachcrofts before moving back to New Zealand, and McVeagh Fleming, in 2004. I became a partner in 2007.

Main Practice Areas


BA, Victoria University of Wellington 1990

LLB, Victoria University of Wellington 1992

Admitted to the New Zealand Bar, 1993

Qualified as a Solicitor of England and Wales, 1998



  • Member of Auckland District Law Society
  • Member of New Zealand Law Society  
  • Member of Te Horonuku Mountain Sports Club

Examples of Transactions


  • Advising employers on staff handbooks and relevant policies.
  • Advising on health and safety issues, including dealing with a prosecution of a company following the death of an employee at work. I assisted the employer through a difficult prosecution with the Department of Labour conducting OSH investigations. We resolved this without a formal hearing.


  • Successfully represented a company to obtain judgment in a fraud matter.
  • Successfully defended employer companies on at least three occasions as Counsel in the Employment Relations Authority in Auckland (and also the Employment Tribunal in Whangarei) against personal grievance claims from employees for unjustified dismissal and wage arrears.


Some noted cases as representative or advocate;

Scandle v Far North District Council (CA) (2011)

Northbridge Holdings Ltd v Commissioner of Inland Revenue (2011) 25 NZTC 20-035

Scandle v Far North District Council 30 July 2010 High Court, Whangarei Duffy J 33 TCL 33/2

Satnam Investments Ltd v Worger (2009) 10 NZCPR 235

Wall v Malone 20 July 2010 Weathertight Homes Tribunal [2010] NZWHT Auckland 21

Evans v Commissioner of Inland Revenue (CA); Commissioner of Inland Revenue v Evans (2008) 23 NZTC 22, 013

Tempus Fugit Systems Ltd v Team Progress Ltd 3 May 2006 High Court, Auckland [2006] BCL 749

Harris v Attorney-General 5 July 2006 High Court, Auckland [2006] BCL 655; 29 TCL 31/6

McGowan v Programmed Maintenance Services Ltd 29 June 2009, Employment Relations Authority, Christchurch CA91/09

Heller v Atlas Quarries Ltd 26 July 2010, Employment Relations Authority, Auckland AA199A/10

Blake v Senate Nursing Bureau Ltd 28 October 2008, Employment Relations Authority, Auckland AA369/08

Garrett v Tempus Fugit Systems Ltd 10 April 2008 Employment Relations Authority, Auckland AA134/08

Centurion GSM Ltd (t/a Digital Mobile) v McCarthy 25 June 2007 Employment Court, Auckland AC38/07

Ward v Maccol Developments Ltd 21 August 2007, Weathertight Homes Resolution Service, Claim No 823

Don v G R International Ltd 21 December 2005, High Court, Auckland AJ Sargisson 29 TCL 9/3

Fox v Atlas Quarries Ltd 28 August 2007, Employment Relations Authority, Auckland AA265/07

Harris v Atlas Concrete Ltd 19 December 2005, Employment Relations Authority, Auckland AA488/05

Holtz v Meierhofer [2005] DCR 97

Creative Intelligence Associates v Adams Unreported Employment Court (AEC87/95)

Greenberg v Manhattan Licensing Ltd Unreported Employment Court (AEC111/95)

Outside Interests

Outside of work I enjoy general fitness activity and sports including snow skiing and social football. I also have two young children. I love spending time with them and watching them grow.