Jonathan Scragg


Jonathan specialises in commercial, insurance and public law disputes. He regularly appears as counsel in the Courts and in mediation and has appeared in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court as well as in various specialist tribunals. Jonathan is known by clients and referrers for his ability to tackle complex matters and create strategies focussed on pragmatic and commercial dispute resolution.  As a skilled negotiator, particularly in mediations, he takes a highly personable approach focused on preserving on-going relationships, whilst also maximising successful negotiated outcomes.

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As a leader of the firm’s Wellington litigation and disputes team, Jonathan is engaged in a wide range of commercial litigation and disputes work. One of his primary focus areas is insurance law, particularly professional indemnity insurance work in which Jonathan acts for insurers and a broad range of professionals defending civil liability claims and disciplinary processes.

Jonathan has significant experience managing large, complex and multi-party commercial disputes.  And he has a busy practice in judicial review and acting for public sector agencies in civil and commercial disputes.

Recent highlights:

  • Representing the New Zealand subsidiary of a FTSE250 company that operates a government owned facility in New Zealand in a number of High Court claims, and appeals to the Court of Appeal, in which judicial review and damages for breaches of legislation including the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 have been sought.
  • Leading a High Court claim against an offshore international agri-sector product manufacturer for a NZX listed reseller, in a claim for the defective design and manufacture of a product that has been widely sold in New Zealand.
  • Leading the defence of a High Court claim against a professional trustee company in New Zealand, and its associated off-shore entities, involving alleged failures to protect more than €11 million in trust assets.
  • Advising a territorial authority in relation to the defence of a High Court claim arising out of the total loss of a commercial building following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, where the territorial authority had given consent for the building to be constructed.  The claim is on-going and has already created a significant precedent for all building and territorial authorities in New Zealand in relation to how the longstop limitation provisions should be interpreted for third party contribution claims.


Jonathan's insights

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

17 August 2023

Jonathan Scragg and Nick Laing contribute New Zealand chapter in RPC law and jurisdiction in insurance and reinsurance contracts comparative guide

7 August 2023

Access to justice - significant reform to Court processes recommended by the Rules Committee

29 November 2022

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He tāngata

  • Past Chair of the Duncan Cotterill Board and Partnership.
  • Regular speaker at industry events and conferences on dispute resolution and insurance law.
  • Trustee and Chair of the Friends of New Zealand Schools’ Debating Foundation.


  • Member of the Presidential Council of the International Insurance Law Association.
  • Past President of the New Zealand Insurance Law Association Inc.
  • Contributing author to various legal texts published by LexisNexis, Chambers and Partners and Thomson Reuters.
  • Admitted in England and Wales.


  • Recognised as a Leading Individual by the Legal 500 Asia Pacific Legal Directory for insurance.
  • Former recipient of the Cleary Memorial Prize.


“Duncan Cotterill has a breadth of partners with a wide variety of experiences who can practically assist their insurer clients.” Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022.

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