Chris Browne

Chris Browne,

Chris Browne has practised as a litigation lawyer for more than 30 years.   He holds the degrees of BA and LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland.

Admitted as a barrister and solicitor in New Zealand in 1980 (and in Victoria, Australia in 1986), he was a Crown Counsel in the Crown Law Office in Wellington before joining Russell McVeagh in Auckland in 1987. He was a litigation partner of Russell McVeagh from 1989 until 2002 when he left to found Wilson Harle.

Chris has a broadly-based commercial litigation and public law practice extending from contract, corporate governance and shareholding disputes to insurance, professional and product liability, asset recovery, and regulatory issues. He has been counsel in many reported decisions of the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

He is listed in the Hall of Fame in Dispute Resolution in the Asia Pacific Legal 500, a ranked lawyer in Dispute Resolution and Public Law in Chambers Asia-Pacific, a Distinguished Practitioner in Dispute Resolution in Asia Law Profiles and a Litigation Star in Benchmark Litigation.

[email protected]
ph +64-9-915 5705
m +64-21-617 007


J & C Vaudrey Ltd v Canterbury Medical Officer of Health [2016] NZCA 539 – a test case appeal (in which the major supermarket chains were represented regarding the construction and application of the requirement for a “single area” condition in all supermarket and grocery store off-licenses.

NZ Carbon Farming v Mighty River Power [2015] NZCA 605a – a decision of the Court of Appeal on the construction of a long term carbon credit supply contract against the background of the statutory emission trading scheme.

Diagnostic Medlab Ltd v Auckland District Health Board [2007] 2 NZLR 832, [2008] NZCA 385, [2009] NZSC 20 - a decision of the Court of Appeal (leave to appeal dismissed) dealing with standards of review of commercial decisions by Crown entities, the statutory powers and obligations of DHBs, conflicts of interest, inside information, consultation obligations and unreasonableness.

Skycity Auckland Ltd v Gambling Commission [2007] NZCA 407 a decision of the Court of Appeal on the construction of key provisions of the Gambling Act 2003.

Young v Hemmes [2006] 2 NZLR 1 a decision of the Supreme Court concerning construction of provisions of the Adoption Act 1950 and the Status of Children Act 1969.

NZ Kiwifruit Marketing Board v Beaumont [1997] 3 NZLR 577 a decision of the Court of Appeal as to the statutory powers of the Board to trade in foreign-grown kiwifruit.

Commissioner of Police v Ombudsman [1988] 1 NZLR 385 CA the leading decision in New Zealand on the application of the Official Information Act 1981.

Millar v MOT [1986] 1 NZLR 660 CA the leading decision in New Zealand on the categorization of criminal offences and the burden of proof in regulatory offences.