Andrew Watkins

Special Counsel

I am a specialist in family law and in particular the resolution of relationship property and estate claims. Increasingly this requires the challenging of existing family trusts. I work closely with our commercial team and have a diverse client base throughout New Zealand.

My experience includes preparing property agreements for couples wishing to protect assets from previous relationships, resolving property entitlements for clients who have separated and advising clients on their property entitlement when their spouse has died. This often involves either defending or breaking family trust structures.

I have been involved in a number of high profile cases and presented several seminars on all aspects of the Property (Relationships) Act and its interplay with trust law. I am a past member member of the Property (Relationships) Act committee of the NZ Family section and I have served a number of terms on the Family Law committee of the Canterbury District Law Society. I’m also frequently asked to give media comment nationally on family law issues. 

Increasingly, my approach is to employ mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution to get the right outcomes for our clients. I am a past member of Lawyers Engaged in Alternative Dispute Resolution (LEADR) and I have conducted over 70 successful mediations. I have completed courses in advanced negotiation and advanced mediation at Harvard.