Senior Associate

Ariana Stuart

Ariana is a Senior Associate in our Construction Team.

Ariana is a specialist construction lawyer advising international and domestic clients on how to ensure projects are successful and has a focus on resolving disputes. She is experienced in both in front-end and back-end construction matters along with issues that arise during project delivery.

Ariana has advised a diverse array of clients across the industry, ranging from principals, contractors and subcontractors to consultants, on a wide range of issues relating to delays, payment disputes, variations, cancellation of contract and defects.

She has acted on projects as diverse as standalone residential developments through to large vertical and infrastructure projects in the civil, telecommunications, water, electricity and transport sectors.

Ariana is experienced in all dispute resolution forums, including adjudication, arbitration, expert determination, mediation and in High Court litigation.

She has particular expertise in disputes litigating performance bonds, both preventing the bonds being called, and enforcing calls.

Ariana also has expertise in multi-party defect litigation, representing the full spectrum of affected parties, from body corporates and owners, to developers, builders and other contractors and consultants. She works closely with body corporates, helping them to solve internal disputes and deal with the multitude of issues facing them when defects arise.

With her focus on resolving disputes, Ariana understands that disputes can create an unpleasant working environment and strives to help clients develop a resolution strategy to keep projects on track and maintain good will between all parties involved. She works closely and has excellent relationships with in-house counsel and senior management.

Ariana was a finalist in the Young Private Practice Lawyer of the Year at the New Zealand Law Awards in 2019.

She was also a founding member of the Advisory Board for the New Zealand chapter of the Women’s Infrastructure Network.

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Examples of work completed by Ariana include:


  • Successfully acting for a contractor to enforce calls on principal’s performance bonds for a civil subdivision project, including in High Court interim injunction proceedings.
  • Advising multinational head contractors on complex claims and cost recovery strategies during the project delivery phase. These included claims relating to delay and disruption, payment disputes, variations and cancellation of contract.
  • Providing project advice for to head contractors and joint venture construction companies and successfully defending several adjudications for substantial vertical projects, including commercial buildings and hotels.
  • Secondments to head contractors to provide advice and set up strategies to set up and defend adjudication claims by subcontractors. This included some of New Zealand’s largest vertical/building projects as well as on roading, renewable electricity and rail projects.
  • Advising on and drafting contractual documents including construction contracts, alliancing, facilities management and operation/maintenance contracts. This includes the NZS391X suite of contracts, NZIA, FIDIC, NEC, bespoke and PPP arrangements.


  • Advising residential developers and builders in several High Court claims over disputes concerning the construction of properties in residential subdivisions
  • Advising and acting for head contractors in arbitral proceedings on a wide variety of issues
  • Advising for and acting for principals, head contractors, subcontractors and consultants in adjudications for claims under the Construction Contracts Act 2002.

Ariana writes regularly on construction and dispute resolution issues and was a co-author published in the IBA’s Construction Law International in April 2022 (The future looks bright for collaboration: contracting for 100 per cent renewable electricity generation | International Bar Association (

Ariana was a contributor to the report by the Infrastructure Transactions Unit (Treasury) in August 2019 for ‘An examination of issues associated with the use of NZS Conditions of Contract’.

Insights & Opinion / Ariana Stuart

What to expect from payment disputes under construction contracts in 2024: a return to orthodoxy
Following the departure from the fundamental principle of the Construction Contracts Act 2002 (CCA) “pay now argue later” in South Pacific Industrial Ltd v Demasol Ltd [2021] NZHC 3597, the Court ...
14.06.2024 Posted in Construction & Disputes
HH News NZS  Release
What You Need to Know About the New NZS3910:2023
The new NZS3910:2023 (conditions of contract for building and civil engineering construction) was released by Standards New Zealand in December 2023 (see our article here).  It is now gaining relevan...
10.04.2024 Posted in Construction
Construction Framework Wide BW
Major milestone passed – NZS3910:2023 expected in time to fill Christmas stockings
As the most widely adopted standard form construction contract in NZ, NZS 3910 was more than ready for updated conditions given the changes in the industry since its last review in 2013.  After almos...
09.10.2023 Posted in Construction
Contractor’s Dilemma: Recovering debts from a Principal in liquidation
A party must meet a high bar before the High Court will modify or reverse a liquidator’s decision, or consent to a party commencing adjudication (or other legal proceedings) against a company in liq...
Construction Framework Wide BW
Disruption claims: Are your project records up to date?
Disruption can be hard to pinpoint.  It is one of those features that you know when you see it and most parties have likely felt it on a construction project.  However, being able to make a claim fo...
14.09.2023 Posted in Construction & Disputes
Be quick and ensure you have your say
Public consultation on the draft NZS3910 amendments closes on 30 June. Some key changes will impact the industry, and all are encouraged to review the draft terms and provide feedback through this pu...
28.06.2023 Posted in Construction