Darren Turnbull

Senior Associate | LLB, LLM

+64 21 516699

After graduating from the University of Otago (LLB) in 1996 and Victoria University (LLM) in 1998, Darren worked for leading insurance firms in Sydney for five years and then London for eight years practising primarily in professional indemnity claims against a wide range of professionals.  Darren was admitted as a solicitor in New South Wales in 1999 and the Supreme Court of England and Wales in 2004.

Darren joined McElroys in 2011.  He has particular experience and expertise in the defence of professional indemnity claims including claims against solicitors, insurance brokers, trustees, accountants, valuers and financial advisers.  These cases have involved tort, contract, statutory liability (including Fair Trading Act and Securities Act), misrepresentation, dishonesty and fraud, equitable claims (breach of trust and fiduciary duty), claims for contribution, vicarious liability, regulatory issues and limitation.  Darren also regularly acts for insurers in relation to insurance coverage disputes.

Darren has had significant experience advising on and handling the defence of high value and complex claims.  He also has extensive experience in exploring methods of alternative dispute resolution including mediation.  His focus is ensuring that claims are handled proportionately, cost-effectively and proactively to achieve positives outcomes for insurers and their insureds including ensuring brand and/or individual reputations are protected at all times.  Darren has also successfully brought a number of subrogated recovery actions against third parties.

Principal areas of practice:

  • Professional indemnity – solicitors, insurance brokers, trustees, accountants, valuers, financial advisers.
  • Directors and Officers liability.
  • Public/general liability.
  • Statutory liability.


  • 18 years’ experience in insurance litigation with extensive experience in dealing with the defence of claims involving a wide range of professionals.
  • Accustomed to dealing with claims involving significant claims for damages, large numbers of documents and multiple parties.
  • Extensive experience dealing with cases involving causation issues and exaggerated and fraudulent claims.
  • Extensive experience in mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Recent trial involvement/outcomes:

  • Houghton v Saunders (Feltex Carpets shareholders’ litigation).  Successful defence of a representative claim brought on behalf of approximately 3,700 shareholders in Feltex Carpets Ltd seeking damages of circa $185 million for alleged misleading statements in a prospectus.  The claim was funded by a United Kingdom litigation funder. Darren appeared as junior counsel at a 14 week High Court trial and subsequent hearing in the Court of Appeal.
  • Trustees Executors Ltd v QBE, Willis & Vero. Defence of High Court proceedings on behalf of QBE where the plaintiff was seeking an indemnity from its insurers of circa $30 million arising from a mortgage fraud.  The claim involved the construction of an exclusion clause in a professional indemnity policy.
  • Director: Acted for one of the directors of Blue Chip New Zealand in the defence of a $40 million claim by the liquidators for alleged breaches of the Companies Act.  The claim was ultimately discontinued.
  • Interest rate swaps: Defending two separate third party proceedings brought by banks against solicitors in relation to allegations by farmers that the banks had mis-sold interest rate swaps. The claims involve a number of complex factual and legal issues including the scope of the solicitor’s duty, causation, limitation and apportionment.