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James MacGillivray

James MacGillivray


To make an appointment, please contact Bronwyn Thompson bronwyn.thompson@tompkinswake.co.nz

Qualifications : BA, LLB, University of Auckland.

Recommended Lawyer 2020

James is a specialist in civil and commercial litigation and has been a partner at Tompkins Wake since 2006. Prior to joining Tompkins Wake, James practised at a national law firm in Auckland, and at Freshfields, a leading international law firm based in London. 

An experienced trial and appellate advocate, James appears regularly in the higher courts and in private arbitrations. He has appeared on two occasions as counsel in the Supreme Court and is named as a recommended lawyer in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific directory. 

James enjoys the intellectual challenge of finding solutions to client’s problems and is able to communicate complex legal problems clearly and effectively applying his calm approach and skill in devising litigation strategy.   

Areas of expertise

  • Commercial and Property Disputes
  • Commercial Arbitration
  • Competition Law Disputes
  • Construction and Building Disputes
  • Consumer Law
  • Dairy Industry
  • Electricity Industry
  • Insolvency
  • Insurance Disputes
  • Telecommunications
  • Tender Disputes
  • Local Government Advisory
  • Judicial Review Proceedings

Other Credentials

  • Director, Waikato Link
  • Tompkins Wake, Board of Partners
  • Tompkins Wake, Risk Committee
  • Recommended Lawyer, Dispute Resolution, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020


  • Fonterra Co-op Ltd v Kaimai Cheese Company Ltd - Counsel for the successful party in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in litigation against Fonterra in relation to the meaning of independent processor under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act
  • South Waikato District Council v Roading & Ashphalt Limited - Counsel for SWDC in the High Court and Court of Appeal successfully defeating R&A’s challenge to council’s tender process.
  • Hotchin v New Zealand Guardian Trust -  Co-counsel for successful party in the Supreme Court in the leading case on the test for contribution between joint tortfeasors
  • Safe Water Alternative v Hamilton City Council - Counsel for HCC successfully defending application for judicial review of decision to re-fluoridate water supply.

Tendering pitfalls: the importance of "no process contract" clauses

A recent decision of the High Court in The Rintoul Group Limited v Far North District Council [2017] NZHC 1132 highlights the legal risks faced by loc...

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