Well-governed and managed companies will continue to flourish despite increasingly proactive regulatory scrutiny and intervention in 2017, Chapman Tripp says.

"A number of regulators have been given new powers and increased budgets and are expected to use these to strengthen enforcement," says Chapman Tripp partner – and new chair – Victoria Heine.

"Last year, we saw regulatory bodies making increasingly more 'muscular' decisions, and this is already evident in the first few months of 2017. Despite this, there is no major cause for concern for companies which have strong governance and management systems in place."

So far this year:

  • the Serious Fraud Office has successfully prosecuted two individuals for corruption and bribery in connection with the awarding of contracts by Auckland Transport and Rodney District Council
  • the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has established two claims of market manipulation against portfolio manager Mark Warminger and filed charges against two individuals for insider trading and against one individual for holding out as being, in the business of providing financial services in contravention of the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2008 (FSP Act).

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 also came into force in April last year, she said.

"We expect more prosecutions from WorkSafe this year, which will give businesses a better indication of the approach both the regulator and the courts will take to the question of breach and the level of sanctions."

Chapman Tripp today released its " Dispute resolution in New Zealand: Trends and insights" publication for 2017.

Other predictions include:

  • ongoing exploration of the use of class actions and third party funding
  • an increase in third party liability for commercial claims
  • the continuing evolution and popularity of mediation and arbitration as an alternative to litigation, and
  • increased cross-border disputes from a changing global trading order – in particular, Brexit and the Trump Administration's policy reset, to name a few.

The information in this article is for informative purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Please contact Chapman Tripp for advice tailored to your situation.