Primary Areas of Practice
Commercial litigation with particular emphasis upon corporate insolvency, company dispute and in other areas including property, professional regulation, trusts and securities.
Sean first worked as a judge’s clerk at the High Court in Wellington before commencing private practice as a civil and criminal litigator with the leading law firm in the Cook Islands where he maintains a current practising certificate. Sean has also appeared in the Supreme Court of Vanuatu.
He joined KA in 2001 during which time he has been involved in many aspects of civil litigation including administrative law, relationship property, defamation, contractual disputes and tortious claims. He has developed particular interest and expertise in company matters and frequently acts in insolvency related matters and in shareholder disputes. He has led cases in Tribunals and Courts at all levels including the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
Webb v Webb  UKPC 22 – split opinion of the Privy Council on significant issues of statutory interpretation, the enforcement of New Zealand tax debts in the Cook Islands and the validity of trusts;
Dold v Murphy  NZCA 313 – commercial case involving relationships between shareholders and extent of concept of “lawful act duress” in contractual context.
Green Meadow Holdings ApS v Sargison  NZHC 2216 – successful application to strike out involving question of priorities between members and creditors of an insolvent building society.
Professional Conduct Committee of the Nursing Council of New Zealand v Napier (HPDT, 18 June 2018) defence of charges relating to misappropriation of funds.
W v W (Court of Appeal, Cook Islands) contested application for leave to appeal to the Privy Council.
General Finance Ltd v Serepisos  NZHC 541 enforcement action by a mortgagee concerning the duty of a mortgagee exercising its power of sale to obtain the best price reasonably obtainable at the time of sale.
Napier v Waimana Investments Ltd  NZHC 265 interim injunction application raising the complex doctrine of marshalling.
Napier v Torbay Holdings Ltd  NZAR 108 (CA) appeal against High Court findings involving detailed analysis of the elements of the cause of action for money had and received.
Aronui Ko Huiarau Trust Board v Harris  NZHC 2911 an application for possession of land in the hands of a “squatter”.
New Zealand Mint Ltd v Greys Avenue Investments Ltd  NZHC 2828 an application to strike out a claim based on the trigger of a right of first refusal found in a commercial lease.
Texts and Articles
Contributing author, Brookers District Court and Tribunals.
“Judicial Modernisation Bill 2013”  4 Law News 3.
“Voidable Preferences – unclear issues” (2013) 204 NZ Lawyer 14.
“Litigation Funding”  NZLJ 361.
“Enforceability of Foreign Laws”  NZLJ 223.
“Extrinsic Guides to Statutory Interpretation”  NZLJ 51.
“The Crown in Counsel and Ultra Vires”  NZLJ 37.
“The Penalty for Murder”  NZLJ 420.
Seminars / Papers
NZLS CPD (July 2018) : Costs in Civil Litigation
Admitted to Bar
2000 (Cook Islands)