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Phone +64 9 303 3295
Level 6, Landmark House

Cnr. Queen St & Durham Lane
187 Queen Street

Colin Bright


Phone: +64 9 303 3295


  • Graduated from the University of New Zealand with LLB Degree 1960

Professional Experience

  • Director, Johnston Prichard Fee Limited, 2011 - present
  • Partner, Johnston Prichard Fee/Johnston Prichard Fee & Partners 1965 to 2010.


  • Colin's area of specialisation from the time he first began practice until the last ten years has been in the field of litigation, primary civil (commercial) and insurance litigation.
  • Over the past ten years Colin has slowly moved away from direct litigation specialisation to a specialisation more focused on commercial, contractual, property and trust issues.

The first 25 years

The new Zealand Law Reports include reported decisions in which Colin successfully argues difficult issues and points for clients before the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

Examples are:-

  • Pukekohe Joinery Limited v Sargent [1974] 2 NZLR 506   [ read more + ]

    As opposing counsel, the late Stuart Ennor had filed an amended statement of claim seeking damages for breach of contract. Colin Bright countered with a strike out application contending that, properly analyzed, the amended statement of claim was based on a cause of action that had not existed at the date the original statement of claim had been filed. He submitted that was not permitted and that the claim should be struck out. It was.

  • North Shore Demolitions v McKay [1978] 1 NZLR 454   [ read more + ]

    In that proceeding the plaintiff was represented by A W Grove who subsequently became a District Court Judge. The plaintiff sought specific performance of the sale to him of two lots in a subdivision for which he had paid deposits and entered into possession. The plaintiff relied on a condition in the agreement that required the defendant to take all reasonable steps to ensure approval for the subdivision was obtained. For his client, Colin Bright resisted that claim on bases that included that his client (the vendor), had acted bona fide and on grounds that seemed to him to be reasonable, in refusing to accept one of the subvision conditions imposed by local authority and his being required to take "all reasonable steps" did not require him to appeal the Council's decision. That argument was accepted by the Court. The plaintiff was refused specific performance.

  • Samuel v District Land Registrar [1984] 2 NZLR 697   [ read more + ]

    This was an appeal, against a refusal by the District Land Registrar (DLR) to register a deed of conveyance. In that proceeding a deceased had tried to sever a joint tenancy by unilaterally signing a transfer of her interest in the property as a joint tenant, to herself, as a tenant in common. The DLR had refused to register the transfer on the ground that to be valid such a transfer had to be to a stranger and the proposed transfer was not permitted at common law. That was the legal position that had been accepted in NZ until this decision. Colin Bright submitted that although that was the common law position, there were, in New Zealand, statutory provisions, which overrode that common law position. He submitted that the transfer was valid and the appeal should be allowed. The submission was accepted by the Court. The appeal was allowed. In addition Colin Bright also submitted that the appeal had raised an important question of law of general public importance and he sought an order that the costs of the appeal should be borne by the Consolidated Revenue Account. The Court agreed and the costs order sought was made.

The middle years

Throughout the middle part of his career and up to the last 10 to 15 years Colin's specialisation and focus was mainly on insurance litigation and within that field, professional indemnity insurance litigation, in particular. Acting mainly on instructions from FAI Insurance, Colin represented the insurer in many of the major professional indemnity insurance claims of the period involving defalcations from solicitors trust accounts (including the Renshaw Edwards claims).

He also acted as solicitor for the insurer of the law firm involved in what was at that time the biggest civil action ever to come before the New Zealand Courts (The Equiticorp litigation).

The past 10 to 15 years to present

Over the past 10 to 15 years Colin has been moving away from his litigation specialisation towards contractual documentation, civil and commercial issues, plus property, trust and estate planning issues. Bringing to bear, though, on those areas of his practice, the knowledge, background and experience derived from his long involvement in the litigation field.