Public law

The law of government

Our public law team has a proven track record in taking seemingly intractable legal problems and producing robust commercial solutions.

We help our clients to understand the legal obligations which govern public sector decision making, and how to work within those constraints to produce outcomes which are commercially acceptable, and which minimise legal risk.

Because we act for both public and private sector clients, we understand each party’s perspective. Our clients tell us they appreciate our ability to explain the interests, perspective, expectations and constraints of the other side as it helps them to reach agreement faster and more easily.

We are well connected but we are lawyers not lobbyists. We work collaboratively with government relations experts as required.

We can:

  • advise on the application of administrative law to a wide range of situations. We regularly appear on applications for judicial review, and applications for interim orders
  • provide advice and guidance on the development of statutory decision-making frameworks to minimise the chances of successful legal challenge
  • advise on difficult questions of statutory interpretation
  • provide guidance on a wide range of public issues including the Official Information Act, the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, Parliamentary issues including Select Committee powers, and the disallowance of regulations, and
  • assist with day-to-day commercial, contracting, property, procurement, compliance and other business-as-usual matters (including data use and privacy and the Official Information Act) through to high value contracts and commercial transactions (including major ICT and construction projects) and disputes.

Experience highlights

We have advised:

  • Wellington International Airport in defending a High Court judicial review brought by the Airline Pilots’ Association relating to the airport’s proposed runway extension
  • the NZ Transport Agency on its assessment of Auckland Transport’s Request for Tender for the provision of bus services in Auckland under the Public Transport Operating Model, and on the implementation of integrated ticketing
  • Television New Zealand on various administrative and public law obligations, including in relation to electoral broadcasting
  • a range of bidders, contractors and investors on their involvement in public private partnership (PPP) projects including the Department of Corrections’ Wiri Men’s Prison PPP and the Ministry of Education’s Schools 2 PPP and Hobsonville Schools PPP projects
  • multiple participants in the irrigation sector on the development of regional irrigation schemes, including engagement with local and central government agencies
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Ranked Tier One for Public Law by independent international legal directory Chambers Asia Pacific 2016.

Competition & antitrust; Corporate & commercial; Environment, planning & resource management; Financial services regulation; Litigation & dispute resolution; Regulatory law

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Banks & financial institutions; China Desk; Construction & major projects; Energy & natural resources; Government; Māori law; Technology, media & telecommunications

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