John Burley


Auckland Office
John Burley
's Insights

Areas of Expertise

Commercial Property and Bodies Corporate
Construction and Building Matters
Employment - Employees
Employment - Employers
Insolvency & Debt Recovery
Land and Property Disputes
Litigation & Dispute Resolution


I offer my clients practical solutions to practical problems over a diverse range of areas from construction, employment and family/estate disputes through to commercial/business disputes.

My key areas of specialty are:

  • Employment Litigation – including individual and collective employment contract negotiation, personal grievance  claims, privacy and related law, and professional disciplinary matters. I have appeared in a number of important employment cases before the Court of Appeal and in the resolution of party claims on significant employment agreements.
  • Construction Litigation – including leaky building claims (residential and commercial) and Construction Contracts Act disputes.
  • Care and Protection Litigation – including applications under the Care of Children and the CYFS Acts involving children of all ages. I act for a significant Maori Trust board in this area and have assisted in the successful placement                            of many children with other family members where parents have been unable to care for them.
  • Estate and Wills Litigation – including Family Protection and Testamentary Promises claims both for Estates and Claimants seeking to challenge wills where there has been little or no provision for them.

I also provide general practice advice to a number of companies, trusts and individuals, and act for an institutional lender in domestic mortgage and recovery work.

I have built strong relationships with clients who tell me I’m a ‘good communicator’. I am a great believer in keeping clients informed and updated at all times.

I am focused on achieving workable solutions for clients by providing realistic advice, relying not only on my past and present courtroom experience, but also my commercial experience. I provide advice on how to avoid problems and on reaching sensible and manageable settlements in preference to going to Court where appropriate for the relevant client.


I spent three years working in New Zealand before moving to London in 1987. I advised on mergers, takeovers and acquisitions in the UK before returning to New Zealand in 1990. After several locum assignments I took up an in-house position advising and representing a number of large health industry unions, before becoming part of the legal team at the Employers & Manufacturers Association through to 1996, when I returned to private practice.

I joined Callaghan & Co in 2004 prior to its merger with McVeagh Fleming in December 2011.

Main Practice Areas


LLB, University of Canterbury 1984

Admitted in New Zealand 1988

Admitted in England and Wales 1988


Examples of Transactions

Outside Interests

These are varied, although I do have a passion for the outdoors. I have three active daughters whose love of skiing and sailing I also  share.