Ayleath Foote


Ayleath specialises in litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution, and provides advice and advocacy in cases before Courts at all levels. She has acted on many high value claims for insurers, trustees, beneficiaries and companies across a broad range of fields.  Her focus is on high value, complex litigation as well as emergency relief.  Before joining Duncan Cotterill Ayleath worked as a senior associate in the litigation team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London as part of the insurance and financial services group.  There she worked on large scale litigation and advice for insurance syndicates and markets, listed companies, financial institutions and regulators.

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Ayleath has particular expertise in trust disputes.  She has been involved in many high profile trust disputes. This included acting for the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust which successfully stayed the demolition of the Christchurch Cathedral, as well as well known beneficiary and trustee claims such as interests in the Kain v Hutton litigation.  Ayleath understands that the mix of commercial enterprises, high value assets and family dynamics can be challenging to manage.  Trustees in New Zealand are often the owners of large asset portfolios. The law is constantly evolving in this area and each case is unique.  As well as private trusts, she undertakes the restructuring and resettlement of Charitable Trusts, which require Court approval.

As an experienced insurance lawyer, Ayleath also acts on claims against a range of professionals and individuals including accountants, lawyers, builders and contractors.

She also has extensive experience in emergency relief, fraud claims and multi – jurisdictional issues.  These are challenging and urgent matters requiring a high degree of precision in execution.

Recent highlights

  • Acting for family interests in high value trust litigation (multiple cases) and associated company issues.
  • Acting for Charitable Trust on Scheme of Arrangement.
  • Obtaining injunctions against bank and dairy company threatening cancellation of contracts.
  • Advising Charitable Trust on significant litigation.
  • Freezing assets of a debtor who had left the jurisdiction.
  • Obtaining judgment for US clients in New Zealand for fraud committed in Indonesia.
  • Obtaining and executing search orders (Anton Piller orders) for a US company against alleged fiduciary (included freezing assets and bank accounts in New Zealand).
  • Obtaining freezing orders and injunctions in significant director/shareholder disputes.
  • Acting for US clients on significant trust and fiduciary litigation in New Zealand.
  • Obtaining an injunction against alleged fiduciary who had removed confidential information.
  • Acting in various arbitration matters.
  • Acting on numerous insurance claims including defending accountants, lawyers, valuers, designers and builders.

Recent cases

  • The Christian Church Community Trust and others v Bank of New Zealand [2022] NZHC 3271, [2023] NZHC 2523.
  • Canaan Farming Dairy Ltd v Westland Dairy Company Ltd [2022] NZHC 2524.
  • Re RMH South Island Trust [2022] NZHC 1295.
  • Ready v The Christian Church Community Trust and others [2021] NZHC 120 and [2020] NZHC 2781.
  • Kain v Public Trust & Ors [2021] NZCA 685 and also cases in: [2022] NZSC 65, [2021] NZHC 1000, [2020] NZHC 1386, [2020] NZHC 448, [2019] NZHC 2789, [2018] NZHC 1547.
  • Hagaman v Hagaman [2020] NZHC 1800; [2021] NZHC 1599; [2021] NZHC 1782 [2022] NZHC 2599 (confidentiality); [2022] NZHC 2695 [2022] NZHC 2562.
  • Worldclaim v Sayers [2017] NZHC 1053.
  • Darlow v Raymond [2017] 3 NZLR 353.
  • Gough v Gough Holdings Ltd [2015] NZSC 115.
  • Satterthwaite v Gough Holdings Ltd [2015] NZCA 130.
  • The Great Christchurch Buildings Trust v Church Property Trustees [2014] 3 NZLR 236, [2013] 2 NZLR 230, [2013] 3 NZLR 597.
  • Church Property Trustees v Attorney-General [2013] 2 NZLR 428.

Ayleath's insights

Can banks terminate unpopular customers? 

12 September 2023

Global Legal Insights - Litigation & Dispute Resolution 2023 New Zealand chapter

17 August 2023

Incorporated Societies Act 2022 Changes - Information Hub

18 November 2022

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They drive our client relationships and connections with our community, and underpin our achievements.

He tāngata

  • Former member of the Law Society Standards Committee.
  • Former Chair of Prebbleton School Board of Trustees.
  • Former Duncan Cotterill Board member.


  • Recommended lawyer in the Legal 500 Asia Pacific legal directory.


  • Pro bono firm leader.
  • Admitted as solicitor in England and Wales.


“Thank you so much for your professional support and expertise throughout this process.  Your patience, attention to detail and willingness to listen were very much appreciated.” Commercial Case


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