Gary Hughes is a senior lawyer providing advocacy and strategic risk management advice, specialising in all types of regulatory investigations and cases. He is particularly well known as an expert in dealing with the Commerce Commission, Financial Markets Authority, AML regulators, and Insurance issues.

As a barrister, he also handles and resolves a range of commercial, contract, technology, transport and public law disputes.

In 2016 Gary moved to establish practice in an independent barrister’s chambers, after 21 years at top tier law firms. His experience includes large national firms (Chapman Tripp), leading boutique (Wilson Harle) and global firms (Clyde & Co, London) and also, for a short period, as in-house counsel (Aon UK).

His legal practice has an expert focus on all types of commercial regulators and government agencies. Client work ranges from strategically managing legal risk, to applying for approvals/licenses, handling and defusing regulatory investigations, through to defending prosecutions and taking judicial review challenges or appeals.

Gary has been ranked by independent leading lawyer guides for expertise across several of his practice areas, including Chambers Asia-Pacific, Legal 500 Asia, AsiaLaw Profiles, Benchmark Litigation, Global Competition Review, and Who’s Who Legal.

Widely regarded as New Zealand’s leading lawyer for Anti-Money Laundering expertise, in 2018 he authored an online textbook for Thomson Reuters to help the legal profession’s AML compliance.

A sought-after conference speaker or trainer, Gary also publishes regularly in his core areas. Professional activity and pro-bono positions include acting as:

  • NZ Programme Director for the ACAMS global financial crime organisation
  • International Bar Association’s NZ Country Officer, Anti-Corruption Division
  • NZ legal partner to TRACE International, leading global provider of corporate anti-bribery solutions
  • Board member of LEANZ (Law & Economics Association of NZ) 2004-14, then appointed life member.

He also acts as an independent expert/referee through the CODR platform (Centre for Online Dispute Resolution) established by Michael Heron QC, to assist parties with low cost/high tech determination of disputes.



Gary’s legal work and expertise has been noted and appreciated in a number of places over the years. A few examples are set out below. More specific client referee details can be made available upon request.

“I am very satisfied with the information you provided. It was exactly what I needed. Excellent clarification.

Managing Director, Auckland, 2018

“Brilliant presentation. Excellent conversational style. Excellent knowledge level”

“The notes, presentation etc were very good, and very helpful. What I need right now”

Conference attendee feedback forms, 2017

“Many thanks for this. It’s well considered advice and will provide a great discussion document for the Board tomorrow”

GM Rights & Legal Counsel, Auckland, 2016

“Gary Hughes’ reputation continues to grow, with both peers and clients praising his abilities across a range of competition areas. One source observes: “He does a lot of good work and we have a lot of time for him.” Hughes recently advised Television New Zealand on its involvement with a Commerce Commission investigation into the dealings of its rival and joint venture partner, SKY TV”

Chambers Asia-Pacific guide, Competition/Anti-trust 2015

“Thank you for doing this at short notice, its exactly what we needed to know.”

Head of Legal, International Markets, London, 2016

“I’ve reviewed your advice and added it to the master version. Thank you both again for your assistance with this matter in such a short timeframe. It is much appreciated”
Senior Legal Counsel, Sydney, 2016

While previously a partner at Wilson Harle, the firm won the New Zealand Law Awards category for ‘Litigation & Dispute Resolution Specialists’ two years running.