DLA Piper elevates two

The new partners expect coming changes in the litigation space

DLA Piper elevates two

Auckland-based insurance experts Brad Cuff and Misha Henaghan have joined the DLA Piper partnership.

Cuff and Henaghan are part of the firm’s litigation, arbitration, and investigations practice. Their promotions follow the global firm’s double partner hire from top-tier firms in June.

Cuff is qualified as a solicitor of the High Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of New South Wales, and he is a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand. He also holds qualifications in business studies and corporate governance.

He often deals with the most contentious disputes in Australia and New Zealand, where he has extensive insurance and civil litigation experience, DLA Piper said. His background acting for clients includes litigation, arbitration, investigations, disputes, inquests, and disciplinary proceedings.

Cuff’s two years as a risk and compliance manager at Chubb in Australia also give him an understanding of a client’s perspective. He was also previously with MinterEllison and Parker & Associates.

Cuff said that New Zealand needs to prepare for changes in the civil litigation landscape.

“In the wake of the Christchurch earthquake, New Zealand is no longer sheltered from litigation funders and the types of proceedings they bring,” he said. “As practitioners, we will need to adapt and change as will our civil procedure rules to deal with them. For example, in Australia the class-action rules contained within Part IVA of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 dictate how class actions are managed and dealt with. New Zealand does not have any similar rules, and will need to catch up.”

In addition to specialising in insurance, Henaghan is also an expert in life sciences. Having appeared before the District Court, High Court, and Court of Appeal, her experience covers complaints against medical practitioners; coronial inquiries; disciplinary proceedings; professional negligence claims involving brokers, construction professionals, accountants and lawyers; product and public liability, and regulatory work, including investigations, DLA Piper said. She also has an interest in the impact of digital transformation on insurance and legal liability.

Henaghan foresees more action in construction defect disputes, insolvency disputes and cyber breach incidents.

“Artificial Intelligence, for instance, is developing exponentially and is advanced to the point where some AI can learn after it is built. This could give rise to novel liability issues if or when something goes wrong with the use of this technology. Urgent clarification is required on whether the existing law is adequate to deal with these issues and what regulation is required to ensure the safe development of these technologies,” she said. “Governments around the world are giving consideration to these issues and how to address them, globally and nationally. This is demonstrated, for example, by the UK House of Lords select committee report released in May, which recommended an international ‘AI Code.’”

Cuff and Henaghan add to the network of Insurance partners throughout the firm and bring the benefit of global expertise and insights to local clients, said Martin Wiseman, DLA Piper New Zealand managing partner.

“This adds to our bench strength as the only global law firm operating in New Zealand,” he said.


Brad Cuff and Misha Henaghan

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