Frana graduated from the University of Otago in 1993 and was admitted to the New Zealand Bar that year. She was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales in 2000.
She first practiced in Whangarei, specialising in criminal and civil litigation including appearing as counsel in jury trials. She moved to the UK and joined the in-house legal team of an insurance company specialising in professional indemnity work, before joining a London local authority, where she defended judicial review proceedings, property law claims, injunctions, and prosecuted quasi criminal matters.
Frana returned to New Zealand in 2001. She worked in general commercial and criminal litigation, before joining the predecessor of the firm in 2005.
Since then, her focus has been defending councils from all manner of tortious claims including building defects, LIMs, flooding, fire, land slips, fallen trees and breaches of the RMA.
She has appeared regularly in the specialist Weathertight Homes Tribunal and in the High Court, defending councils. She has acted for insurers defending professional liability claims brought against valuers, solicitors, financial advisors and project managers. She has appeared in the Supreme Court of New Zealand and the House of Lords in the UK.
As well her court advocacy skills, Frana frequently represents her clients in alternative dispute resolution processes, having been involved in hundreds of mediations and judicial settlement conferences over her career.
Frana heads the firm’s enforcement and recoveries team. She regularly presents seminars for clients and has also been invited to provide seminars to the legal profession.
Frana was appointed an associate in 2007 and became a partner in 2013.
“It has been a real pleasure knowing and learning from you.”
“Your session was a real eye opener providing excellent food for thought and the audience appeared totally absorbed in the session... The conference was very much the richer for your excellent contribution, both in respect of your presentation and your paper.”
“Your presentation was certainly the talk of the conference and it sparked many discussions on the varying types of people we have worked with. There was a great level of humour and your enthusiasm was fantastic. Feedback received from delegates who attended has been overwhelmingly positive and we appreciate the role your contribution played in the production of such a high quality technical programme.”
“Many thanks for all your, and your team’s, efforts in this case. You won’t have known it, but I attended the closings for the first session this morning. I agree with your observations, and, for what it is worth, I thought you presented the submissions really well.”
“What a great relief to know this is coming to an end. And it is thanks to your advice and dogged persistence, when we ourselves were at the point of throwing in the towel, that we owe this victory. It’s good to know that with an excellent lawyer, justice can be done!”
“Just a quick note to say well done...You achieved a great result for the Council, you were extremely well prepared and it was a pleasure working with you. I guess the bonus for you is that I suspect you’ve made a friend for life in [the developer]!”
We successfully defended the council from a negligence claim due to limitation and although the council was found liable in nuisance, it was only for damage to a concrete driveway turning bay and not for the more expensive damage to the house.
We supported a successful application to have the self representing claimant declared an incapacitated person and a litigation guardian appointed to act on his behalf. The proceeding has been stayed pending the appointment of an appropriate litigation guardian.
We persuaded the claimants to discontinue against the council. We then obtained the council’s costs on the discontinuance from the claimants and an order that the claimants pay the costs of three out of four of the third parties joined by the council. The court found that the joinder of those third parties was the inevitable result of the claim that was made against the council.
The council succeeded in restoring a solvent developer to the Companies Register in circumstances where it is being sued for $21million in the Weathertight Homes Tribunal and may not have had other construction parties to share the burden of an adverse judgment with. The restoration allowed the council to join the developer to the Tribunal claim.
The council admitted liability but went to hearing to reduce the amount of damages payable and to recover against the other construction parties. It succeeded on all arguments including the measure of damages (loss in value as opposed to the cost of repairs), contributory negligence, remedial scope and it recovered 70% of the damages award from the other liable parties.