recognised leaders in the development of the law of negligence


In August 1928 Mae Donoghue met a friend at a cafe in Paisley, Scotland. What happened there – and the court case it led to – forever changed the law of negligence.

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Our expertise

There have been landmark negligence cases in New Zealand too - and the lawyers at Heaney & Partners were there. Our clients sought our representation because of our expertise in the area. We are recognised leaders in the development of the law of negligence.


We understand that being a party to litigation is an expensive and stressful experience.  We work closely with our clients to guide them through the process including obtaining the best expert advice. We are strong advocates in a mediation setting and have an excellent settlement success rate.

More recently we have been involved in arbitration work including an international reinsurance arbitration arising out of the Christchurch earthquakes.

Sometimes our clients want matters to proceed to trial for important precedent or strategic reasons.  Our lawyers are experienced litigators who have appeared at every level of the courts in New Zealand.  We think our repertoire of reported cases speaks for itself and proves why we are recognised leaders in the development of the law of negligence.

For over thirty years members of our team have been successfully working with insurers. We provide advice on indemnity and liability and work closely with our clients to resolve claims quickly and effectively.  

We have acted on insurer’s instructions in professional, public, statutory and bailee liability claims. We also have experience in marine insurance and carriage of goods.

More recently we have been involved in managing reinsurance disputes - which are rare in New Zealand. In the context of the Canterbury earthquakes we acted for an insurer that successfully applied for summary judgment against a reinsurer and arbitrated disputes with international reinsurers pursuant to reinsurance contracts.

Heaney & Partners provide employment advice to employers and employees across New Zealand for both contentious and non-contentious matters.  We regularly assist our clients with potential grievances arising from issues such as redundancies and restructures, unjustified and constructive dismissals, claims involving unjustified disadvantage and workplace investigations.

Our lawyers regularly attend mediations and appear before the Employment Relations Authority, Employment Court and the Human Rights Review Tribunal.  We advise our clients on legislation including the Employment Relations Act, Privacy Act, Official Information Act, Health and Safety at Work Act and the Human Rights Act.

The team at Heaney & Partners have been working for local government for over thirty years.  We understand the challenges and constraints that face our clients and are well equipped to provide advice on the myriads of statutes and regulations that local government operates within. Some recent examples of advice topics include:

  • • Tiny Homes
  • • Earthquake Prone Buildings
  • • Recognised Seasonal Employers Scheme accommodation
  • • Building Act prosecutions
  • • Residential pool safety
  • • Producer statements
  • • Building warrants of fitness
  • • LIM wording
  • • MBIE determination process

We have acted for clients challenging the decision making of central government and defending the decision making of local government.  We also provide advice on decision making processes to ensure that they stand up under scrutiny.

We have lawyers who specialise in recovering sums of money owed to our clients.  They can provide advice on creditors’ remedies including liquidations, bankruptcies, security enforcements, charging orders, writs of sales and attachment orders.

We are happy to review our clients’ practices and provide advice on ways to mitigate risk.

At the conclusion of claims we offer a free debrief - where we analyse where things went wrong in the lead up to the claim and the lessons that can be taken from the experience - so similar claims can be avoided in the future.

We also partner with our clients in times of crisis to assist them to manage the situation including locating external experts.  Once the crisis has been averted we work with our clients to reflect back on what can be learnt from the experience.

The construction industry is a significant sector in the New Zealand economy, with disputes being common place from the tendering and design stages to the post-construction stage. 
Heaney & Partners have experience in a range of construction disputes and are well placed to act for all parties (from principals, contractors, subcontractors to consultants) involved in construction projects.

Thousands of properties in New Zealand are bought and sold each year with a significant number of properties also managed by designated property managers. With the sheer number of properties bought, sold and managed, there are often times when things might not go according to plan.

Heaney & Partners have extensive experience in a range of real estate disputes. We act for real estate agents, business owners & directors, auctioneers and property managers in a vast variety of claims and disputes before the District and High Courts, Disputes and Tenancy Tribunals, Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal and the Real Estate Authority.  

Our lawyers regularly present to our clients and members of the legal profession on our areas of expertise.  We write for a number of publications including Local Government Magazine, Civil Contractors Magazine, Employment Today, Straight Up and the Building Official’s Handbook.