Monthly Archives: July 2014

High Court stays Danone’s court proceedings against Fonterra in favour of arbitration

On Thursday last week, the High Court in Auckland issued a stay of Danone’s proceedings against Fonterra to enable the dispute over tainted milk products to be  dealt with by arbitration.  The decision is a welcome exercise by the Court of its discretion in favour of arbitration.

Justice Venning’s decision can be downloaded here.

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Enforcing mediated commercial agreements

In most cases, if commercial parties manage to settle disputes in mediation, it is a simple case of signing an agreement which covers all disputes issues and reflects the agreement accurately; the parties then comply with it.

That sounds like a reasonable and simple proposition, but it raises a considerable number of issues; for example in the Specialized Bicycles case, when one party argues that there was an oral agreement made during the mediation, for which evidence from the mediation room is required; or when the parties are from different States, in which case a party may be endeavouring to enforce an mediated agreement in another jurisdiction; or in relation to family matters where the Family Court in New Zealand reserves a reasonably high level of oversight when it comes to enforcement.

On Monday, 7 July 2014, UNCITRAL’s Working Group II began consideration of a proposal for a multilateral convention on the enforceability of international commercial settlement agreements achieved through mediation.

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Construction Contracts Amendment Bill 2013 Update

The Bill has been languishing in the House, awaiting its third reading.

It had its second reading in March of this year, and Supplementary Order Papers were tabled on 17 April (Clayton Cosgrove) and 7 May (Julie Genter).  I understand that the Government is also preparing its own Supplementary Order Paper, presumably to cover the issue of retentions (as do the others).

I have been asked to give an update to the AMINZ breakfast in Wellington on Friday – Update on the Construction Contracts Act.

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