Gary Hughes is a senior lawyer with nearly 25 years of experience providing advocacy, dispute resolution, and strategic risk management advice. He specialises in all types of regulatory investigations and government agency enforcement cases. Gary is particularly well known as an expert in dealing with the Commerce Commission, Financial Markets Authority, Serious Fraud Office, Privacy Commissioner, and New Zealand’s 3 anti-money laundering (AML) regulators, and for related insurance issues.

As a barrister, he is skilled at dispute resolution in all its forms (courtroom, mediation, arbitration, negotiation), and helps clients resolve a range of commercial, contract, technology, transport and public law disputes. Gary also works with sports bodies dealing with central/local government agencies, especially in motorsport and football.

In 2016 Gary helped establish Akarana Chambers in Auckland as a boutique 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 the online textbook AML/CFT Workflows & Guidance for Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), which is updated twice annually.

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

  • Advisory Board Director for ACAMS Australasia (regional chapter of the 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.

Qualifying to practice in NZ in Feb 2016, and in England & Wales (2000, currently non-practising), he has also handled investigations/cases in Australia and the Cook Islands.

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

Download Gary’s full CV here.


Gary Hughes Anti-money laundering law
CODR - online dispute resolution
TRACE - AML Lawyer