Court Approved Notice

Smith v CRS

Miss Karlie Smith is a former client of Claims Resolution Service Ltd (CRS) and Grant Shand Barristers and Solicitors (Grant Shand Solicitors). Miss Smith is bringing claims against CRS and Grant Shand Solicitors in the High Court at Christchurch.


The High Court has held that her claim can be treated as a “representative proceeding” for similar claims that might be made by other clients of CRS and Grant Shand Solicitors (the represented group). This means that issues decided in her claim are likely to resolve similar issues in claims by other members of the represented group.


Miss Smith’s home was damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010-2011. She visited Earthquake Services Limited and later through it, engaged CRS to assist her with her unresolved earthquake claims against her insurer. CRS engaged Grant Shand Solicitors to act for Miss Smith in her claim against her insurer.


Miss Smith received what was described as an Independent Damage Assessment from Earthquake Services Ltd. Based on that damage assessment, she received a costing for the remediation of her home by a quantity surveyor, Stephen Betts.


Miss Smith is arguing that CRS, Grant Shand Solicitors and other closely held companies related to CRS, and its principal Bryan Staples, had an undisclosed joint venture arrangement; that joint venture arrangement gave rise to conflicts of interest and led to breaches of fiduciary duties by CRS and Grant Shand Solicitors and that the contract that Miss Smith entered into with CRS was an unconscionable bargain.


Miss Smith is seeking declarations from the High Court that her contract with CRS is void, and that she should not have to pay CRS or Grant Shand Solicitors any money for the work that they did for her.


Miss Smith is also seeking damages from CRS (of $10,000) and from Grant Shand Solicitors (of $15,000) for the alleged breaches of fiduciary duties by them, as well as out of pocket costs that have been incurred as a result of the actions of CRS and Grant Shand Solicitors.


CRS and Grant Shand deny the alleged undisclosed joint venture arrangement and they are defending the claims that Miss Smith is advancing on behalf of herself and others.


Miss Smith’s claims, and the orders that she is seeking from the High Court are set out in detail in the statement of claim at Appendix 1 to this notice. The statement of defence by CRS and the statement of defence by Grant Shand Solicitors are attached at Appendix 2 and Appendix 3. The details are also summarised by the High Court in its decision of 12 February 2019, at Appendix 4.


If you entered into a contract with CRS in circumstances similar to Miss Smith, and your claim was resolved in a way similar to Miss Smith’s, you may be able to join the group that Miss Smith represents. To be part of the group the following characteristics must apply to you:


  • You owned a house that was damaged during the Canterbury Earthquakes from 2010-2011;


  • You entered into a contract with CRS for claim resolution funding and advocacy services in respect of insurance claims against EQC and/or an insurer arising from the earthquakes;


  • You obtained what was described as an Independent Damage Assessment from Earthquake Services Limited and based on that damage assessment a costing for the remediation of your home was completed by a quantity surveyor, Mr Stephen Betts;


  • You were represented by Grant Shand Solicitors who was engaged by CRS to act and to bring a court case for you; and


  • You settled your insurance claim for significantly less than the sum that CRS and Grant Shand Solicitors said was the full and true value of your insurance claims.


If you believe your situation fits these five characteristics, please contact GCA Lawyers to obtain more detailed information.


GCA Lawyers can be contacted by: telephoning (03) 365 1347; emailing; or by completing the registration on GCA Lawyers’ website at



If you would like to register your interest in the class action, you may do so below.