April 12, 2023
The High Court has recently released a judgment regarding document disclosure in an ongoing dispute concerning a high-profile property on Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour Avenue, where the Sofitel Viaduct Hotel operates.
The plaintiffs in the High Court proceeding are the owners of 85 of the residential units in the viaduct building. The remaining 90 residential units, and 16 commercial units, are used to operate the Sofitel. The defendants are the building’s Body Corporate, the owners of the commercial and residential units used for the Sofitel, the hotel owner and its operator.
The central issue in the dispute is whether the owners of the units currently used to operate the Sofitel Hotel, and the hotel’s owner and operator, were required to obtain a licence from the building’s Body Corporate to establish and operate the hotel. That turns on the extent of the hotel’s use or control of the common property, and whether that use goes beyond merely obtaining access to the hotel units.
The plaintiffs argued that in order for the Court to determine the licence issue, all defendants (excluding the Body Corporate) must disclose a wide range of documents about the establishment and operation of the hotel.
Bob Hollyman KC appeared with Wallace Revell (Farry Law) for the owners of the units used for the Sofitel and the owner of the hotel. Sarah Armstrong appeared with junior Pita Roycroft for the hotel’s operator. The High Court made some, but not all, of the discovery orders sought against the unit-owners and hotel owner. The Court declined to make any disclosure orders against the hotel operator on the basis that the relevant documents would already be disclosed by the other defendants, therefore making the same orders against the hotel operator would be duplicative and unnecessary.
The judgment can be accessed here.
For media coverage of the litigation click here.