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Sally McKechnie

BA LLB(Hons) BCL(Oxon) MPhil(Oxon)


P+64 4 924 3456

M+64 21 180 7236

Sally McKechnie

Sally is a leading public law and regulatory litigator. She leads the firm's Wellington-based public law and government practice.

Sally provides advice and representation on administrative decision making and processes, regulatory and statutory compliance and reform, statutory interpretation, inquiries and investigations, policy development, and law reform. Her pragmatic approach is informed by her experience as a litigator. 

Sally is an experienced public law advocate, with considerable trial and appellate experience. She has appeared regularly as lead counsel in the High Court and Court of Appeal, and has also appeared in a range of specialist courts and tribunals including the Waitangi Tribunal, Employment Court and Employment Relations Authority, and the Human Rights Review Tribunal. 

Sally has worked extensively in the education, primary and health, and medico-legal sectors, and advising on privacy and official information. She has a particular interest in negligence, inquiries, and the challenges of climate adaption.

Sally joined the firm from Crown Law in May 2017. As Crown Counsel, she advised Ministers and senior officials on their public, regulatory and administrative law obligations. Sally was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and began her legal career at another major New Zealand law firm.

Examples of Work

Sally frequently advises on high profile, sensitive matters including:

  • Advising Victoria University of Wellington during the process to change the University’s name
  • Advising a significant religious organisation in the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State and Faith-based Care
  • Assisting individuals in the 2018 inquiries into the appointment of Wally Haumaha, Assistant Police Commissioner and in the Government’s use of private investigators
  • Representing a Minister of the Crown during investigation of a staff complaint
  • Acting in a class action claim for $600 million, for negligence under the Biosecurity Act in the horticultural sector
  • Successfully defending the Minister of Health in the Court of Appeal regarding the regulation of fluoride in the water supply

Sally provides practical, strategic advice to her clients, seeking to achieve the best possible commercial and regulatory outcomes. This includes:

  • Providing strategic advice and representation to the Pharmacy Guild during negotiations for the Integrated Community Pharmacy Services Agreement
  • Advising Crown Entities on their obligations under the Crown Entities Act in relation to controversial government policies
  • Assisting a range of public and private clients with Auditor-General and Ombudsman’s investigations
  • Advising on a Crown Entities’ involvement in Waitangi Tribunal hearings
  • Advising large dairy industry participants on their Biosecurity and Animal Products Act obligations, and Mycoplasma Bovis preparations
  • Advising New Zealand based business and NZ based international subsidiaries on the Privacy Act and GDPR obligations and compliance
  • Advising start-up companies on the impacts and structure of the likely medical marijuana reforms

Other Credentials

  • Australia and New Zealand Education Law Association - Member
  • New Zealand Law Society Public & Administrative Law Committee - Member
  • Life Flight Trust - Trustee
  • Cricket Wellington - Board member
  • Institute of Directors - Member
  • New Zealand chapter of the International Data Guidance Notes on Whistleblowing - Author