Schedule 2018

Thursday 8 March 2018




Registration opens



Opening remarks from the Chairperson


Chris Browne, Deputy General Counsel, Transpower New Zealand Limited


9:00am   Blockchain and the future of smart contracts

Over the last 12 months, the legal application of blockchain technology has been growing in sophistication, complexity and acceptance. This session will run through the practical legal challenges of smart contracts.

  • How distributed database (ledger) technology works in practice
  • How do self-executing contractual provisions work?
  • Challenges and opportunities presented by open-source blockchain platform Ethereum
  • Jurisdictional issues relating to blockchain contracts

Rachel Paris, Partner, Bell Gully


9:45am   Liability issues with blockchain contracts

While smart contracts present considerable opportunities in terms of accuracy and security, there are a number of risks that legal professionals and parties need to consider.

  • Allocation and attribution of risk and liability in smart contracts 
  • How would liability be allocated if the blockchain service malfunctions? 
  • Overcoming privacy issues with smart contracts 
  • How to mitigate the risks of bugs in the contract code

Geoff Ward-Marshall, Senior Associate, DLA Piper

Mark Williamson, Partner, DLA Piper



Morning refreshments and networking break

11:00am   Enforcing ‘click wrap’ agreements

Businesses and consumers today often enter into binding contracts through online ‘click wrap’ agreements. How are courts interpreting the enforceability of such contracts?

  • The legal differences between ‘clickwrap’, ‘browsewrap’ and ‘sign-in wrap’ contracts 
  • How unfair contract terms provisions apply to online contracts 
  • Is the US Uber case: Meyer v Kalanick (Uber) [2016] relevant to New Zealand matters? 
  • Practical tips to enhance the enforceability of online contracts

Amy Ryburn, Partner, Buddle Findlay


11:45am   Warranties, indemnities and exclusions: balancing the speed of negotiation with risk

The indemnity clause remains the most contested clause in any contract negotiation. This session will review trends and best practice in the use of indemnities, exclusion clauses and limits on liability across various sectors.

  • What are the most common indemnities being used today? 
  • When does the contra proferentem rule apply? 
  • The interaction between insurance policy terms and indemnifications in contractual arrangements 
  • How important is the removal of an indemnity for a consequential loss clause? 
  • To what extent can indemnities enforced over jointly owned assets and non-contracting parties? 
  • Will the decision in the Court of Appeal of England and Wales Persimmon Homes v Ove Arup [2017] affect New Zealand decisions? 
  • Prattley Enterprises Ltd v Vero Insurance New Zealand Ltd [2016] – when do exclusion clauses in full and final settlement agreements or contracts warrant lower judicial scrutiny? 
  • Do the Canada Steamship principles still apply in New Zealand?

Kim Francis, Partner, Meredith Connell



Networking Lunch

1:30pm   The Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017 (CCLA)

The CCLA is the first major statute law revision since 1908, folding several existing statutes into one modern piece of legislation. What effect is this having on the practice of law?

  • Overview of the underlying statues that have been folded into the new Act 
  • How CCLA’s transitional provisional are affecting existing statues 
  • What to consider in relation to standard terms and conditions and other templates

Polly Pope, Partner, Russell McVeagh

Emmeline Rushbrook, Senior Associate, Russell McVeagh


2:15pm   Commercial contract interpretation today

Several years ago the Supreme Court took the opportunity to discuss the principles that apply to the interpretation of commercial contracts. In this session we will look at the relevance of those principles to contract matters today.

  • How far have we come since Vector Gas Limited v Bay of Plenty Energy Limited (BoPE) [2010]? 
  • Has the pendulum swung back? 
  • When is pre-contractual material considered by the courts today? 
  • How are courts applying the concept of commercial common sense or fairness when interpreting contracts?

Tim Smith, Partner, Chapman Tripp



Afternoon refreshments and networking break

3:15pm   Implied terms in contracts – beyond Belize

For many years UK and New Zealand courts looked to the approach taken in the Belize case for guidance on implied terms. Considering the UK courts’ departure from the Belize approach to implied terms, what does this mean for the implication of terms into contracts in New Zealand?

  • How do implied terms commonly arise in a New Zealand context? 
  • When will the court impose contractual terms on parties? 
  • Marks and Spencer plc v BNP Paribas Securities Services Trust Company (Jersey) Limited [2015] 
  • How do the courts decide whether a term should be implied into a contract?

Simon Ladd, Partner, Bell Gully




Conference concludes



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