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Nathaniel Walker

Partner

Litigation

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Profile

Nathaniel is an effective litigator, with a proven track record at all levels of the New Zealand court system.  He also acts as a strategic advisor to clients, both in the context of disputes and on sensitive or high stakes projects, often for public sector entities. 

Nathaniel cuts to the chase; he provides succinct, practical advice to clients on a range of private and public law matters. He regularly acts on commercial, statutory and trust disputes, with notable expertise in equitable and cross-border claims. His experience includes seeking (and defending) injunctions, including recently obtaining a worldwide ex parte freezing order over assets valued at more than NZD $100 million. 

Nathaniel's international experience includes two years in New York, practising at Cravath, Swaine and Moore LLP and completing his Master of Laws at Columbia. He frequently writes and speaks on legal issues, particularly on equity and trusts. 

He is recognised in Chambers and Partners (High Net Worth) 2021, where he is described as a "dynamic partner, with lots of energy and EQ in spades" and praised for his "calm, clear communication". Legal 500's 2022 Guide ranks him as a "Next Generation Partner" in Restructuring and Insolvency. 

Experience

His recent experience includes:

  • Acting for a private individual in high value claim based on various equitable causes of action. Urgent freezing orders successfully obtained and defended in late 2021. 
  • Acting pro bono for successful appellant in precedent-setting decision of Supreme Court on "trust busting" under relationship property legislation (Preston v Preston [2021] NZSC 154).    
  • Acting for New Zealand's statutory disaster insurer in a significant number of proceedings (resolved and ongoing) with customers and other parties, including He v EQC [2019] NZCA 373.  
  • Acting for a trustee corporation in an application to transfer more than 2,000 trust and estate appointments (Re NZGT [2019] NZHC 2548). 
  • Acting for Credit Suisse in an international trust dispute to protest the jurisdiction of the New Zealand courts (Ivanishvili v Credit Suisse [2018] NZHC 1755).
  • Acting for trustees, executors, administrators, fiduciary officeholders and beneficiaries across a wide range of disputes, applications and procedural mechanisms.  This includes acting for a defendant director in a novel "double derivative" claim brought by a beneficiary, settled prior to trial.    
  • Acting for an energy sector participant in a contentious contractual dispute, settled prior to trial. 
  • Acting for a multinational primary industry participant in significant commercial litigation with a joint venture partner, settled prior to trial.   
  • Acting on the New Zealand law aspects of beneficiaries' claims in Florida state court relating to alleged misappropriated trust funds. 
  • Acting for a private individual in successful litigation to overturn a decision by the Registrar of Companies to prohibit him from acting as a director (Brand v Registrar of Companies [2018] NZHC 3148).
  • Acting for the late Jean and Allan Hubbard (and the executors of their respective estates) in relation to issues arising from the imposition of statutory management and related litigation concerning the alleged sales of various ownership interests. 
  • Acting for Kiwibank on class action litigation brought against it by Fair Play on Fees. 
  • Acting for institutional clients in investigations by New Zealand and New York regulators on a range of matters, including anti-money laundering compliance, disclosure and conduct issues.
  • Acting for Lecretia Seales in her application testing the legality of aid in dying services.

Credentials

LLB (Hons, First Class), BA, University of Otago.
 
LLM (James Kent Scholar), Columbia University.
 
STEP Advanced Certificate in Trust Disputes.

Professional

Nathaniel was admitted to practise in New Zealand in 2011 and New York in 2017. He is an affiliate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. Nathaniel authored the 2021 New Zealand chapter of Enforcement of Money Judgements, and co-authored the New Zealand chapters of The Securities Litigation Review (Editions 4, 5 and 6) and the New Zealand Chapter of The Legal 500: Insurance & Reinsurance Comparative guide.

Recent journal publications include "New Zealand developments in equitable tracing and subrogation: overuse and underuse" in (2018) 24 Trusts & Trustees 879 and "Without prejudice privilege when seeking the court's blessing" in (2019) 25 Trusts & Trustees 539.

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