Cathy Murphy

Smart, cost-effective dispute resolution

High St Chambers



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About High St Chambers

Commercial Dispute Resolution/Advocacy

I am an experienced general commercial litigator. I have represented commercial clients in all levels of the New Zealand courts from the District Court to the Supreme Court. I have also appeared in the Privy Council.

I obtained a Masters in Law from Cambridge University and have practised at senior levels  in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

My skills in commercial litigation include dealing with the following:

  • contract enforcement

  • property disputes

  • shareholder disputes

  • corporate governance issues

  • insolvency (personal and corporate)

  • negligence

  • building/construction disputes

  • protection of confidential information

  • debt recovery

  • alternative dispute resolution (arbitration and mediation)

Legal matters can be complicated and time-consuming. I fully appreciate the commercial acumen needed to assess and cost-effectively manage problems which are interfering with the efficient operation of day to day business. I am accustomed to working across a varierty of different industries and have the ability to rapidly absorb information which is unique to my clients' situations.


Practice Areas

Professional Representation

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Contractual Disputes

High St Chambers has the legal knowledge, skills, and experience to advise clients on all manner of contractual disputes.

Whether you are pursuing the enforcement of contractual rights or defending a claim, I can assist you to assess risk, manage cost and strategise to achieve efficient resolution.

Sample matters include:

  • pursuing damages in relation to the bad faith termination of a major public services contract

  • pursuing enforcement of oral contract in connection with regulatory earthquake construction works

  • advising a trust on rights and obligations in connection with failed negotiations for purchase of regional health organisation (elements necessary for binding agreement)

  • defending damages claim by reference to partly performed oral contract for purchase of land

Corporate Governance/Shareholder Disputes

The fluent management of a board of directors or the relationships between directors can become problematic from time to time.

I can assist you to put structures in place to arrest the impact of any discord and protect the business from increasing harm.

Sample matters include:

  • defending s174 claim relating to alleged prejudice to minority shareholder and negotiating corporate ‘divorce’

  • advising healthcare provider on rights and enforcement options following alleged abuse of position and use of confidential information by CEO to establish rival business

  • second counsel on directors' liability proceedings in High Court & Court of Appeal (plus successful opposition for leave to appeal to Supreme Court) - Mason v Lewis [2009] NZCA 306

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I represent clients as counsel in relation to both corporate insolvency (receiverships and liquidations) and personal insolvency.

I also act for creditors who are looking to preserve payments made to them by insolvent entities. I am experienced in dealing with cross-border insolvency issues and asset-tracking.

Sample matters include:

  • advising liquidators on recovery actions relating to antecedent payments, current accounts and voidable charges (sole counsel on NZ’s leading authority)

  • advising receivers on validity and enforceability of securities, including how to oppose application to set aside a secured charge

  • representing Australian client in connection with obtaining Cross-Border Insolvency Act main proceeding recognition

  • defending directors against claims relating to breach of duty and voidable transfers

Property Disputes

I have represented clients in a variety of property disputes from the sale and purchase of residential or commerical land to the issues that can arise in connection with commercial leasing.

Some samples include:

  • acting for commercial landlords in breach of lease and failure to make good

  • advising on cancellation of subdivision contracts due to underlying geotechnical issues

  • advising off the plan purchasers on rights after significant changes by developers


Debt Recovery

Cost-effective debt recovery is an important element of any commercial operation. I have acted for both creditors and debtors in connection with the rights and obligations associated with monetary claims.  I appreciate the importance of managing cost to ensure efficient results.

Some samples include:

  • advising on the recovery of directors' current accounts

  • using summary judgment and court proceedings to recovery unpaid contractual obligations

  • pursuing & defending guarantors in relation to unpaid principal debts

  • managing the recovery of unpaid mortgage amounts

  • advising US creditors on debt enforcement options and Part 5 compromise proposal

  • enforcing debt claims related to judgment obtained in the Isle of Wight


Get in Touch

PO Box 2561

Shortland Street

Auckland, 1140

New Zealand


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