Liam is a Senior Associate who specialises in complex commercial and corporate dispute resolution, and has particular expertise and experience in high value international arbitration, fraud claims and shareholder disputes.  Liam has been recognised by Legal 500 as a “key lawyer” in various practice areas and recommended as a “true brain and highly practical” and “really clever, completely on top of the law and very commercial

Liam also acts and advises on injunctive and urgent applications (including worldwide freezing orders), contractual disputes, claims for and against company directors, insolvency matters, enforcement proceedings, joint venture disputes and issues arising out of the sale and purchase of businesses.

Before joining Cooke, Young & Keidan in November 2015, Liam was a Barrister & Solicitor at Bell Gully in New Zealand where he regularly appeared as Counsel in the District Court and High Court on summary judgment, bankruptcy and liquidation proceedings. He also appeared as junior Counsel, including before the Supreme Court of New Zealand.


Liam studied a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Otago.  He was awarded First Class Honours in Law and majored in Philosophy, Politics and Economic in his Arts degree.  During his time at the University of Otago, he was the Head First-Year Law Tutor, awarded the Thomson Brookers Ltd Prize in Legal Systems (1st in First-Year Law), awarded University of Otago Scholarships in Law and in Arts, and awarded the MacGregor Prize for Mental and Moral Philosophy. Liam was admitted as a Barrister & Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in October 2012, and placed 1st overall in New Zealand at the 2012 College of Law Awards.

What the legal directories say

The 2021 edition of Legal 500 says that Liam:

…is really clever, completely on top of the law and very commercial”;

…is a true brain and highly practical”; and

…[is a] technically proficient lawyer who made helpful comments throughout the case.  I found [Liam and colleague Arish Bharucha] to be available and very easy to deal with.”

Liam is noted by Legal 500 as a “key lawyer” in the following categories: International Arbitration, Commercial Litigation: Premium and Financial Services: Contentious and Regulatory.

Publications, articles and seminars

  • 2019 L McNeely and J Calvert “Are assets of State-owned enterprises immune from the enforcement of arbitral awards?” The Barrister (Online, February 2019)
  • 2017 L McNeely “Does a knave escape liability because he deals with a fool?” CLAN April 2017 Newsletter.
  • 2012 T Fitzgerald & L McNeely “Bell Group Appeal: issues for directors and creditors” NZLawyer (2012) 196.
  • 2011 L McNeely “The ‘Irreducible Core’ of Trusts in New Zealand” [2011] OYLR.

Cases of Note

  • Acting for and advising a (majority) state-owned foreign investment company in defending a complex international commercial arbitration concerning a shareholders’ dispute over the propriety of a USD 500million financial transaction. The claim was brought under the UNCITRAL arbitration rules.

  • Acting on an arbitration challenge under s. 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996. The High Court’s reported decision is a leading authority on the meaning of an “award” (as distinct from a ruling, procedural Order or other form of ‘decision’) that is susceptible to challenge under the Arbitration Act 1996.

  • Acting for a fund manager in relation to significant Commercial Court proceedings concerning the fees paid on certain investments of Libyan government funds into complex structured financial products.  The claim concerned allegations of dishonest assistance, bribery and conspiracy and concluded with a three-week trial in the Commercial Court.  Complex consequential issues in relation to remedies and loss are ongoing and still before the Court.

  • Advising a listed overseas commodities and investment company in relation to a high value international shareholders’ dispute, derivative action and fraud claim brought under the UNCITRAL arbitration rules.  The case concerned allegations of fraud relating to over USD 2 billion of historical transfers to a related party across a period of several years.

  • Acting for and advising an individual client in relation to seeking to have set aside or varied a worldwide freezing order obtained against their global assets.  The case concerned complicated and important legal issues with regards to the scope of the English Court’s jurisdiction to include non-defendant overseas companies (and/ or their assets), which are wholly-owned by a judgment debtor, within the ambit of a worldwide freezing order.

  • Acting for an overseas company which owns the majority shareholding of an English PLC and successfully defeating a minority shareholders’ claim for the majority shareholder’s shares to be deleted from the Share Register. The decision from the Chancery Court trial of these proceedings is reported in the Business Law Reports. Related litigation is ongoing and involves complex multi-party actions and parallel proceedings in a foreign jurisdiction.

  • Acting for two former directors of an insolvent English company that was part of a worldwide corporate group which manufactured and sold products sporting a globally recognised brand and household name. The company’s liquidators issued misfeasance proceedings seeking in excess of USD$240m from CYK’s clients and one other former director (who was separately represented). The case settled on confidential terms.

  • Acting for and advising athletes in relation to anti-doping investigations and charges brought against them by the UK Anti-Doping agency.

  • Advising a UK PLC in relation to a seven-figure claim against its insurance broker for professional negligence in placing a Property Damage and Business Interruption insurance policy.

  • Advising the UK-arm of a global business in relation to a significant dispute over the interpretation and application of a complex and ongoing supply agreement.

  • Advising a former director of an insolvent English company in relation to various potential claims arising out of the insolvency of the company and the Liquidators’ conduct of the liquidation.

  • Advising on a dispute in relation to an alleged breach of a share buy-back option.