John was born and raised in Auckland. He gained a university junior scholarship in his final year at school and attended Auckland University, graduating LLB(Hons) in 1977, with a senior prize in law.
After graduating he began his legal career as a law clerk at Russell McVeagh and later spent 18 years as a litigation partner with Buddle Findlay in Auckland. During that period he appeared as counsel in over 40 reported cases and numerous unreported ones, in the High Court, Court of Appeal and on three occasions before the Privy Council.
He subsequently lived and practised for five years from January 2007 in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, most recently as a litigation and international commercial arbitration partner with a local firm affiliated to a large Australian law firm based in Sydney and Melbourne. This has led him to maintain an interest in Middle East law and practice and he is available to assist clients with legal issues in Middle East jurisdictions, particularly the UAE, where he is currently licensed to practise in Dubai and before the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts.
John has also completed Masters degrees at Auckland and then at a North American university, with the assistance of a Graduate Fellowship, and subsequently a PhD degree at University College London. During his time in London he was privileged to study and research administrative law and legal regulation under the supervision of the then Dean of UCL, the eminent jurist Professor Sir Jeffrey Jowell KCMG QC, with the assistance of an ORS scholarship.
He has also spent some time practising as an inhouse general counsel for an Auckland publicly listed company and as a government lawyer in Papua New Guinea.
For the past fifteen years he has had a longstanding interest in the laws of Fiji and he periodically appears in civil, commercial and tax cases before the High Court and Court of Appeal of Fiji and the Fiji Income Tax Tribunal. He has maintained a current law practising certificate in Fiji for a number of years and is at present the only New Zealand barrister sole to do so. He has also appeared in cases before the High Court and Court of Appeal of the Cook Islands and the Supreme Court of Tonga and as counsel in various mediations and domestic and international arbitration matters in New Zealand. A number of his appellate cases remain leading authorities in various areas of contemporary New Zealand law, including the duties of nominee directors, the doctrine of forum non conveniens, obligations of company directors in an insolvency situation, the liability of auditors in relation to issuers of securities and the duties of an expert in a commercial dispute resolution process.
From 1989 to 2006 he was a part time lecturer at the Auckland Law School in Legal System, Commercial Law, Banking and Finance Law (LLB(Hons) seminar) and Law and Economic Regulation (LLM seminar which he co-presented with the late Professor Michael Taggart). He has also been a faculty member of the NZLS Advanced Litigation Skills Programme and the NZLS Litigation Skills Programme and a participant in various Continuing Legal Education activities. He is the author of various legal articles and publications.
Apart from New Zealand, John is also admitted to practise in Victoria, Australia, before the Australian federal courts, as a solicitor in England, in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga (ad hoc admission) and in Dubai and the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts. He holds the Higher Courts Rights of Audience Qualification of the Law Society of England and Wales.
In the course of over 42 years of post admission legal experience in New Zealand and elsewhere, most of it in the commercial litigation and arbitration areas, John is able to turn his hand to most legal and litigation issues in the civil, commercial and tax areas. He has a particular specialist interest in banking and financial services litigation, general and marine construction disputes and in arbitration, professional negligence claims and tax litigation, particularly Fiji tax issues. However he has practised in most areas of civil and commercial litigation and arbitration and is available to accept instructions of any kind in those areas.
He also has an interest in collecting antiquarian law books published from the sixteenth century onwards.