Melissa Russell

Melissa Russell

Special Counsel Auckland, New Zealand

Melissa is a special counsel with over 15 years of experience working in global insurance law teams in New Zealand, London, Hong Kong and Singapore.  She specialises in construction, property damage, and product liability matters.  Melissa has also worked for a global insurer as its Asia Pacific wordings counsel. 

Melissa represents insurers and their insureds in the investigation and defence of a variety of large loss matters, which include but are not limited to; construction, public and product liability, property, construction, general liability claims.

Melissa also has extensive experience of advising on insurance and reinsurance coverage issues across the aforementioned lines of business. She also assists insurers with the drafting of policy wordings (all lines), endorsements, and advises on regulatory matters in New Zealand.

The claims she works on are of a high value and technically complex. They involve a range of experts from different disciplines on both liability and quantum.

Melissa also has experience of a range of dispute-resolution techniques, including numerous mediations and adjudications as well as having trial experience in the High Court of New Zealand.

Qualifications:

  • LLB
  • Admitted to the High Court of New Zealand 2002

Memberships:

  • New Zealand Law Society
  • Auckland District Law Society
  • Member of the New Zealand Insurance Law Association
  • Fellow of ANZIIF

Work highlights

  • Successfully recovered a large loss against a fruit packing house for a product liability loss in a summary judgment application.
  • Numerous successful construction adjudications to defend claims for extension of time, application of liquidated damages and cost escalation.
  • Defence of a fire engineer for construction works at a multistorey development in the Auckland CBD.
  • Defence of a local authority against losses arsing from rebuild of residential housing after Christchurch earthquake.
  • Drafting a bespoke material damage policy for a power facility located in Hong Kong.