The Senior Courts (High Court Commercial Panel) Order 2017 received Royal Assent on 7 August 2017. Clause 5 authorises the Chief High Court Judge to assign panel judges to deal with specialist commercial disputes and applications under the Arbitration Act 1996 where the sum at issue is not less than $2 million.
On 10 August 2017, the Chief High Court Judge announced the establishment of a specialist judicial commercial panel, comprising Justices Venning, Heath, Courtney, Wylie, Katz and Muir in Auckland, and Justices Mallon and Dobson in Wellington.
The order came into force today, 1 September. This is great news for arbitration practitioners; this is a strong bench with considerable arbitration expertise; Justice Venning’s decision in the Danone v Fonterra case springs to mind, and Justice Heath has been a long time member and former Council member of AMINZ.