Expert resume of Paul Heath KC
Commercial Arbitrator and Mediator; member of Bankside Chambers and associate at South Square; P.R.I.M.E. Finance Expert
The Hon Paul Heath KC was admitted to the New Zealand Bar in 1978 and practised as a barrister and solicitor until 1998 when he was appointed as a Queen’s Counsel. During his time in practice, Mr Heath was involved in commercial litigation, with particular emphasis on insolvency and restructuring.
Mr Heath served as a Commissioner on the New Zealand Law Commission (an independent statutory law reform body) between 1999 and 2002, leading its work on cross-border insolvency, electronic commerce and arbitration. He represented New Zealand at UNCITRAL Working Groups on Electronic Commerce and Insolvency between 1999 and 2001, and chaired the Insolvency Working Group on two occasions, in the absence of the elected chair.
Mr Heath was appointed as a Judge of the High Court of New Zealand in March 2002, and served in that capacity (as well as an ad hoc Judge of the Court of Appeal) until his retirement from judicial office on 6 April 2018, when he returned to the private sector. During his time as a Judge, he was on the Commercial List and (later) Commercial Panel of the High Court. He presided over high-profile cases involving collapses of finance companies following the Global Financial Crisis, including South Canterbury Finance Ltd in which directors were alleged to have deceitfully induced the Government of New Zealand to enter into a guarantee of investors’ funds, in respect of which it was later obliged to pay out a sum of about $1.6 billion. In 2011, he sat as a Judge of the Court of Appeal of Vanuatu. He was a Judge of the Court of Appeal of Kiribati from 2019 until 2022 and now holds positions as Chief Justice of the Pitcairn Islands and a Judge of the Court of Appeal of Tonga.
Mr Heath now practises predominantly as a commercial arbitrator and mediator at Bankside Chambers in Auckland, New Zealand. He is involved in both domestic and international work of some complexity. Mr Heath is also an associate at South Square in London. Mr Heath has been a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy since 2000, and is a member of the International Insolvency Institute.
Mr Heath is a Co-Chair of INSOL International’s Mediation Colloquium. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), and the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand. In addition, he is a Chartered Arbitrator, a member of the Presidential Panel of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a member of Panels of Arbitrators operated by the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand, the New Zealand International Arbitration Centre, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and is also a List member for the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre.