Monthly Archives: June 2014

John Walton named by LawFuel as one of NZ’s Top Commercial Mediators

The practice of commercial mediation can be an elusive discipline.  To be named in such a distinguished group is a rare privilege indeed.

Online legal periodical LawFuel has released a list of New Zealand’s top commercial mediators in its online edition – it is gratifying to be included in a list of people for whom I hold the deepest respect.

Mediation is a vastly misunderstood field, with so much to offer to parties in disagreement.    It is ultimately the goal for people in commerce to achieve profitable outcomes; if they can’t, they need to disentangle themselves from those endeavours with the least possible financial pain.  Mediation fulfils that need.  There is a place for the Court to impose its judgment, as there is for parties to agree to appoint an arbitrator or adjudicator to provide an answer to the dispute (with the support of the Court); mediation is the only purely consensual process where the parties are assisted to resolve their disputes, using the skills of an appropriately qualified mediator, of course.


Supreme Court decision in Carr v Gallaway Cook Allan released

Decisions of the Supreme Court are always greeted in the legal profession with interest, even when they concern such esoteric issues as challenging the validity of an agreement to arbitrate; particularly so when the decision has been so long in the gestation, and there is a dissenting judgment of considerable persuasive force.

This only serves to enhance the feeling of disappointment over the findings of the Justices of the Supreme Court in the latest decision in the ongoing saga of  Carr v Gallaway Cook Allan [2014] NZSC 75.

Describing a Supreme Court decision as disappointing is not a step lightly taken, but like the Court’s majority decision in Casata v General Distributors [2006] NZSC 8, while the reasoning may appear impeccable, the end result can only be described as regrettable.  We can but hope that this latest decision of the Supreme Court will be restricted to its particular facts, and will not adversely impact on New Zealand being seen as an arbitration friendly place to resolve disputes.

In fact, there is an argument that the decision reinforces the position of the Courts in New Zealand as generally supporting arbitration by providing clear guidance on the application of the provisions of the Act, even if the net result looks unpalatable.


John Walton named in the NBR as an International Arbitrator to Watch

It was gratifying to be named at number 5 in the list of 11 of the country’s up and coming arbitrators in the latest NBR Online.  

My entry read as follows:

One of the most experienced construction adjudicators and arbitrators, John Walton is an AMINZ Council member and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in London.  He brings a wealth of knowledge in the construction sector, having advised on disputes in major projects over the last 25 years, including the Hong Kong Airport Project, Contact Energy’s Otahuhu Combined Cycle power station, the Waikato River Water Treatment Plant and the Mangere Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Ultra Fast Broadband project and the North Island Main Electricity Grid Upgrade.  He is well placed to enter into the international commercial arbitration scene.

The list is reproduced in Law Fuel online.