Derek Firth


Present Position

Barrister specialising in arbitration, mediation, construction adjudication and other dispute resolution, also energy law, construction law, mining, and overseeing all legal aspects of major projects; acting as independent legal adviser to the Engineer to

Professional Experience

1964 LLB University of Auckland, New Zealand

1965 Barrister and Solicitor, High Court of New Zealand

1968-1972 Part time lecturer in Commercial law to Accountancy students

1972-1978 Various Committees, Auckland District Law Society

1979-1995 Delivering Post Graduate Lecture series each year at University of Auckland School of Engineering

1982-Present Fellow, The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (London)

1983-1984 President, Auckland Medico-Legal Society

1986-Present Panel Member, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre

1987-Present Fellow, Arbitrators? and Mediators? Institute of New Zealand

1989-Present Member, Institute of Directors in New Zealand

1991-1994 Lecturer in dispute resolution to Auckland University, Faculty of Commerce, MBA

1993-1994, 1996-1998 Vice President, Arbitrators? and Mediators? Institute of New Zealand

1997-Present Member of panel of five arbitrators to hear electricity transmission disputes in New Zealand

1998-2000 President, Arbitrators? and Mediators? Institute of New Zealand

2002-2010 Chartered Arbitrator (UK)

2010-2012New Zealand Alternate Member of the International Commercial Court of Arbitration (ICC, Paris)

Career Summary

1967-1994 Partner in Grierson Jackson & Partners, now Simpson Grierson, Barristers & Solicitors (1967-83 litigation; 84-94 Head of Energy and Construction) Department

1995-Present Barrister, Arbitrator, Adjudicator and Mediator (numerous appointments by the parties and by AMINZ; also by the ICC International Court of Arbitration)


Mercury Theatre, Auckland, Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council, Reef Shipping Company Limited (Operates cargo trades in the Pacific), Dilworth Trust Board, (Investment portfolio over $400 million and operates NZ?s largest boarding school),  Kristin School (NZ?s largest co-educational independent school),  Melanesian Mission Trust Board (Investment portfolio of over $200 million),  Anglican Investment Trust Board, Clark & Rogers Limited (Largest transport company in Taranaki),  NZ Advisory Council (Statutory Board associated with MMTB),  Oil Industries Limited (Property investment company),  Chemwaste Industries Limited (Removal and treatment of chemical wastes),  Convertech Industries Limited (Developing commercial use for bio-waste)  BioDiesel Oils Limited (Producing bio-diesel from tallow on a commercial basis),  ChemRecovery Limited (Developing industrial recycling of metals),  H E Fairey Trust for Disabled Children, Intertech Systems Pty Limited (Australia) (Developing a new fuel from chemically refined coal),  Chinese Language Foundation, NZSAS Trust, (Benevolent Trust for serving and retired SAS members),  Intertech Systems IP Limited (NZ), (Intellectual property holding company),  Confucius Institute of New Zealand, (Joint venture between University of Auckland and Fudan University of Shanghai),  SEA+CITY Projects Limited, (Management company for Auckland Regional Council, Ports of Auckland and Auckland City Council to oversee the $4 billion redevelopment of the ?Tank Farm? on Auckland Harbour).


Numerous papers on construction law issues including tendering, documentation drafting, project management, and dispute management; Alternatives to Arbitration; Various articles on arbitration in the New Zealand Law Journal; Various articles and conducting seminars on negotiation; Papers on international arbitration given in Sydney, Paris and Auckland.  Allocation of Risks in Trans National Joint Ventures (Sydney); Geothermal Energy Project Issues (Sydney)

Speciality Areas

Arbitration; Construction Law; Contract Law; Energy law (electricity, electricity transmission, oil gas); Forestry; Joint Ventures; Legal and economic aspects of pricing; Long term contracts; Management and co-ordination of major legal projects; Product liability ? defence strategies; Property ? commercial and industrial leases and ground leases.


Fellow (Arbitration), Arbitrators' and Mediators' Institute of New Zealand Inc.;AMINZ Panel of Arbitrators;AMINZ List of Adjudicators;LLB, University of Auckland (1964);FCIArb, Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), Chartered Arbitrator