Rachel Scott

Special Counsel | BA, LLB, LLM.


Rachel joined McElroys in 2005 and has more than 25 years experience in civil litigation. She has extensive experience in all aspects of insurance litigation, particularly professional indemnity. She also has high level experience acting for employers in employment disputes and for a public sector agency in judicial review proceedings.

Rachel focuses on promptly identifying the key issues in a dispute and provides careful and practical advice on the best ways to proceed. Rachel has represented clients in numerous mediations, in the District Court, High Court, Employment Court and Court of Appeal.

Having recently completed a paper in Te Reo Māori at Unitec, Rachel is also working towards a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Health (with a speciality in Environmental Health) at Auckland University. She is passionate about social justice and working towards a more equal society within New Zealand along with a greater respect for our planet’s environmental boundaries. When she’s not working or studying Rachel enjoys spending time with her daughter, walking, reading and film going.

Principal areas of practice:


  • Professional Indemnity – lawyers, construction professionals, accountants. Advice on policy response.
  • General Liability – fires.
  • Material Damage – earthquake & policy response issues.
  • Employment – personal grievances and other employment disputes.
  • Education – employment disputes in schools, parent complaints and student discipline.
  • Judicial review – defence, particularly in the education sector.

Skills:


  • Timely and commercial advice regarding probable outcomes and dispute resolution.
  • Clear evaluation of complex legal and technical issues.
  • Assisting parties to mediate disputes, ranging from technically complex civil disputes, to employment (and similar) disputes where resolution often requires a sensitive approach that restores the dignity of a grievant without paying excessive compensation.
  • Trial preparation and advocacy in the High Court, Employment Court and Court of Appeal.
  • Extensive experience with expert witnesses: understanding of complex technical issues (from engineering to financial services).

Recent trial involvement / outcomes:


  • Professional indemnity: Defending numerous claims against professionals arising from the GFC and acting for an insurer facing multiple claims under s 9 Insurance Law Reform Act relating to the negligence of a professional insured. Appearing as junior counsel for New Zealand Exchange (NZX)  in proceedings in the High Court and the Court of Appeal seeking to strike out claims by the BNZ and others. (Bank of New Zealand v Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu[2007]1NZLR 663; [2009]1NZLR 53 (CA)).
  • Indemnity: Resolution of complex and large earthquake claims, including multiple dwellings on one site prone to cliff collapse. Resolving commercial earthquake claims including business interruption.
  • Fire claims: Defending a fire claim against insured electrical manufacturer involving multiple parties, fire experts and electrical engineering experts.
  • Judicial review: Defending recent urgent applications for judicial review (Linguis International Institute of Language and Culture Ltd v The New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Auckland High Court, Lang J, 14 April 2016; The International Academy of New Zealand Ltd v The New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Auckland High Court, Lang J, 12 April 2016; Universal Education Group Limited Trading as New Zealand National College 2008 v New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Wellington High Court: Simon France J 20 October 2017; Churchman J, 19 December 2017).
  • Employment: Acting for a government funded community organisation facing personal grievances from four professional staff arising from a breakdown in their relationships with the manager. Assisting the organisation in a disciplinary process against one staff member leading to a negotiation of exit packages with all four staff members, avoiding costly proceedings in the Employment Relations Authority which could have led to the closure of the organisation.  Multiple appearances  for a school in the Employment Court: a hearing de novo, an application for rehearing, and  a trial (Marx v Southern Cross Campus Board of Trustees, Employment Court Auckland:  Inglis J, 10 June 2016;  Inglis J, 27 January 2017; and Perkins J, 9 July 2018).