28 April 2022
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Catherine (or Cath) is a lawyer in Young Hunter’s litigation and dispute resolution team. She provides advice about insurance issues, and acts on negligence and contract disputes.
Why our clients choose Cath: Our clients recognise Cath’s dedication to assisting them and they value her availability and responsiveness. Cath’s ability to identify the important facts and absorb them quickly gives clients confidence in the legal advice she gives. They value her attention to detail, her considered, insightful approach to problem solving, and her tenacity.
Cath’s journey: Cath graduated from Victoria University in 1982. She had grown up in Canterbury, but the first part of her career was spent in the North Island. In Taupo, she acquired great early experience, through a broad spread of civil and criminal court work. After travelling, she moved to Wellington and turned to general civil litigation. She specialised in employment, judicial review and defamation.
Cath put a hold on this busy and demanding work while her children were young, and the family moved to rural Canterbury. There she immersed herself in family, farm and community, including chairing the school board of trustees for several years.
In 2004, Cath was ready to return to her desk and she joined us at Young Hunter to become a member of our litigation team where she has specialised in insurance litigation. She has frequently advised and acted on disputes about insurance cover, and has represented IAG NZ and its insureds in many and varied liability disputes.
Cath became a partner in 2010. One or two rather large earthquakes followed… and the numerous insurance issues that arose out them became a big part of her practice in the years following.
In 2022, she has retired from the partnership and become a consultant. She continues to practice in her specialist areas of insurance (including earthquake litigation), and contract and negligence disputes.
Cath’s values: Cath commits her high energy to every case she deals with. She strives for the best result for her client, always recognising their personal or business priorities and the importance of the big picture. She works with care and brings honesty and integrity to all she does.
Since the Canterbury earthquakes, and especially between 2016 and 2020, Cath has been involved in very high numbers of contested residential insurance claims, successfully resolving most by negotiation or mediation. Two have required a full hearing: Fitzgerald v IAG NZ Ltd  NZHC 3447, in which her client, IAG NZ, was successful in clarifying that decisions about applicable consent requirements for earthquake repairs sit with the local council; and Birchs Road Ltd v EQC and IAG NZ Ltd CEIT - 0051 – 2019, in which the owners’ claim for a full rebuild failed, and the home was found to be readily repairable.
Between 2010 and 2017, Cath was heavily involved in successful litigation arising out of the collapse of Stadium Southland. The roof had been defectively constructed and it collapsed under snow in 2010. The Supreme Court confirmed that the Council had owed the owners of the stadium a duty of care when issuing the code of compliance certificate for the Stadium in 2003, and had breached it: Southland Indoor Leisure Centre Charitable Trust v Invercargill City Council  NZHC 1983;  NZCA 68;  NZSC 190.
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Level 2 Young Hunter House
134 Victoria Street