Gary Hughes is a senior lawyer with over 25 years experience providing advocacy and dispute resolution services, and strategic risk advice. He specialises in all types of regulatory investigations and government agency enforcement cases.

Particularly well known as an expert in dealing with the Commerce Commission, Financial Markets Authority, Serious Fraud Office, Privacy Commissioner, and New Zealand’s Police FIU and 3 anti-money laundering (AML/CFT) regulators. Gary also handles all types of related insurance law, commercial and public law issues.

As a barrister, he is skilled at dispute resolution in all its forms (courtroom, mediation, arbitration, negotiation). That expertise helps clients resolve a range of commercial, contract, technology, transport and regulatory law disputes. Gary also works alongside sports bodies and competitors, especially in motorsport and football – and often handles sports law or governance cases in those fields.

For 2 decades Gary was with top tier law firms, including large NZ 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).  In 2016 he moved to establish an independent barrister’s practice, now based at Britomart Chambers in Auckland’s Commercial Bay CBD heartland.

An expert focus on commercial regulators and government agencies means client work ranges across these types of legal briefs:

  • advising on strategically managing legal risk, e.g. legal liability, compliance, Board level risk management/governance
  • applying for approvals/licenses from various agencies
  • handling, resisting and finding ways to defuse regulator investigations
  • conduct of independent inquiries or government/royal commissions
  • guiding clients to have meaningful input to law reform, Select Committee, or proactive regulatory developments
  • defend (and occasionally prosecute) cases involving a regulator, and related civil court disputes
  • taking judicial review challenges or appeals against regulatory outcomes
  • civil and commercial law disputes, especially if involving a regulated sector (e.g. de-risking bank account closures due to AML regulation; damages or breach of contract/restraint following competition authority intervention).

Gary has been ranked by independent leading lawyer guides for expertise across several practice areas, including by Chambers Asia-Pacific, Best Lawyers, Legal 500 Asia, AsiaLaw Profiles, Benchmark Litigation, Global Investigations 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) updated twice annually, and in 2021 was an overseas expert witness to the Canadian Cullen Commission of Inquiry.

Professional activity and pro-bono positions

A sought-after conference speaker or trainer, Gary also publishes regularly in his core areas, and has roles acting as:

  • Advisory Board Director for ACAMS Australasia (regional chapter of the global financial crime organisation)
  • NZ Law Society – member of the Law Reform Committee, and the National Friends Panel
  • International Bar Association: Communications officer for Regulation of Lawyers committee; Chair of the AML & Sanctions Experts sub-committee
  • NZ pro bono partner to TRACE International, leading global provider of corporate anti-bribery solutions
  • Prev. Board member 2004-14 of LEANZ (Law & Economics Association of NZ), subsequently appointed Life Member.

Other professional memberships include the NZ Insurance Law Association (NZILA) and the Competition Law & Policy Institute (CLPNZ).

Qualifying to practice in NZ (Feb 1996), and in England & Wales (Sept 2000, currently non-practising), he has also handled investigations/cases in Australia and the Cook Islands.  Gary is an independent expert referee on the CODR platform (now Immediation) established by Michael Heron QC, to assist parties with low cost/high tech determination of disputes online.

Download Gary’s full CV here.

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