Jack Wass

Jack practises international civil litigation. While he has broad experience of general commercial litigation, he specialises in disputes that have a cross-border dimension (private international law). Jack frequently advises and represents clients in disputes over jurisdiction, applicable law, extraterritoriality, interim relief, and the enforcement of judgments. As part of this practice, he has extensive experience of arbitration (both domestic and international) and public international law, and has represents clients from New Zealand and overseas, including the UK, US, Australia, Singapore, France, and Russia.

In his broad domestic practice, Jack acts in disputes across the field of commercial litigation, including contractual matters, company and insolvency, intellectual property, land law and administrative law. He has appeared before courts at all levels (including the Supreme Court). 

Jack combines his professional practice with scholarship. He has First Class degrees from Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Cambridge, regularly publishes in leading journals, and is the co-author of a forthcoming text on The Conflict of Laws in New Zealand, to be published by LexisNexis and supported by a substantial grant from the New Zealand Law Foundation. He is also active in law reform, has made a number of influential submissions to Parliamentary Select Committees and is a member of the New Zealand Law Society Law Reform Committee.

Alongside his general commercial practice, Jack has particular experience in commercial regulation, including acting for regulators and industry participants in telecommunications, electricity, and under the Food, Animal Products and Wine Acts.

Jack was admitted to practice in 2009, and holds practising certificates in New Zealand and Victoria, Australia.


Qualifications and Career

Professional Career

  • 2009 to present - Barrister
  • 2009–2014 - Teaching Fellow, Victoria University of Wellington (except 2013)
  • 2007–2008 - Student Editor-in-Chief, Victoria University of Wellington Law Review
  • 2007–2008 - Summer Clerk, Minter Ellison Rudd Watts
  • 2006–2008 - Tutor, Victoria University of Wellington

Academic Qualifications

  • Master of Law (First Class) (University of Cambridge)
    • Winner of 3 Verulam Buildings Prize for top mark in International Commercial Litigation
    • Winner of Sir Emlyn Wade Prize for First in LLM at Gonville & Caius College
  • Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) (Victoria University of Wellington)
    • Quentin-Baxter Prize in Public and International Law (for LLM Research Paper "The Meaning of 'Manifest Excess of Powers' in the ICSID Convention")
  • Bachelor of Arts (major in English Literature; minor in Classical Studies) (VUW)
  • Other study
    • Hague Academy of International Law (Public International Law Session, Shell plc scholarship)
    • New Zealand Law Society Litigation Skills Course

Recent and Notable Cases

 Public and private international law:

  • Counsel for beneficiaries of a New Zealand trust in a claim against members of the Credit Suisse group arising out of a major multinational fraud
  • Counsel for French manufacturer in New Zealand proceedings under the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993
  • McGougan v DePuy International Ltd (High Court) - successfully established that earlier judgment of the English High Court gave rise to issue estoppel; defeated plaintiffs' claim concerning the territorial scope of the Accident Compensation Act
  • Schumacher v Summergrove Estates Ltd (Court of Appeal) successful application to challenge jurisdiction over a dispute involving foreign land; included the question of applicable law for constructive trust claims
  • Alcatel-Lucent NZ Ltd v Juniper Networks Australia Pty Ltd (High Court) — injunction in aid of foreign proceedings; forum non conveniens dispute
  • Counsel for accused in a matter concerning questions of international humanitarian law, law of armed conflict and criminal law
  • Advice to a major United Kingdom-based charity on questions of public and international law


  • Carr v Gallaway Cook Allan (Supreme Court) — appeal against refusal to set aside arbitral award on the basis of invalid arbitration clause
  • Sole and junior counsel in multiple domestic arbitrations, including contractual and telecommunications disputes (details confidential)
  • Assistant to two arbitral tribunals under the auspices of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes
  • Secretary of tribunal constituted under International Chamber of Commerce Rules in $100 million investment dispute

Commercial and public litigation:

  • Fisk v McIntosh (Court of Appeal) application of voidable preference provisions in the Property Law Act 2007 and Companies Act 1993 to Ponzi schemes
  • Service Painting & Building Co Pty Ltd v Pacific International Hotel Management School  (High Court) - dispute under painting contract
  • Prophecy Networks Ltd v Revera Ltd (High Court) dispute over commission on sale of telecommunications business
  • McIntosh v Fisk (Court of Appeal) name suppression in civil proceedings
  • Crystal Imports Ltd v Allianz NZ Ltd (Court of Appeal)  insurance coverage dispute
  • Jojaro Investments Ltd v ASB Bank Ltd (High Court) complex negligence claim
  • TEA Custodians (Bluestone) Ltd v Barnett (High Court) application for summary judgment and possession
  • Technix Group Ltd v Fitzroy Engineering Group Ltd  (Court of Appeal) contractual and lease dispute

 Public law and other matters:

  • L v R (Supreme Court) successful appeal to Supreme Court overturning conviction for historic offences
  • Chorus Ltd v Commerce Commission (Court of Appeal) — acting for Commission in appeal against its decision on the price for Chorus' regulated services
  • Wood v Financial Markets Authority (District Court) acting for FMA in appeal against its decision to decline the appellant's application for approval as an Authorised Financial Adviser
  • Bell v Victoria University of Wellington (High Court) application for judicial review of a university's decision to uphold a finding of plagiarism



Books and articles:

  • The Conflict of Laws in New Zealand (forthcoming, LexisNexis, 2018) (with Maria Hook).
  • "Jurisdiction by Estoppel and Acquiescence in International Courts and Tribunals" (2017) 86 British Yearbook of International Law.
  • "The enforcement of foreign maintenance orders" [2017] New Zealand Law Journal 410
  • "Interim relief in support of foreign arbitrations and judicial proceedings" [2017] New Zealand Law Journal 134
  • "The Employment Relations Act and its Effect on Contracts Governed by Foreign Law" [2017] New Zealand Law Journal 80 (with Maria Hook).
  • "Reform of Choice of Law Rules for Tort" [2017] New Zealand Law Journal 27 (with Maria Hook).
  • "The Situs of Insurance Debts" (2014) 20(4) New Zealand Business Law Quarterly 221.
  • "Contribution between solvent and insolvent tortfeasors" [2014] New Zealand Law Journal 332.
  • “The Court’s In Personam Jurisdiction in Cases Involving Foreign Land” (2014) 63(1) International and Comparative Law Quarterly 103.
  • Butterworths Student Companion: Land Law (LexisNexis, Wellington, 2013).


Law Reform:


  • Member of the New Zealand Law Society Law Reform Committee
  • Drafted a submission on the Private International Law (Choice of Law in Tort) Act 2018; seven of the eight proposed amendments were adopted by the Justice and Electoral Committee and passed into law, with the submission acknowledged by several members of the House;
  • Lead drafter for the Law Reform Committee on the Brokering (Weapons and Related Items) Bill 2017
  • Made a submission on the Arbitration Amendment Bill 2017



Law Reviews:

  • Student Editor-in-Chief of Special Symposium Issue on International Law and Democratic Theory (2007) 38(2) Victoria University of Wellington Law Review
  • Editorial Assistant, ICSID Review—Foreign Investment Law Journal