Sally is a leading public law and regulatory advisor and litigator. She founded and leads our public law and government practice. She provides pragmatic and analytical advice, targeted at resolving disputes with the best possible client outcomes.

Sally helps both public and private clients to manage a wide range of public law and regulatory issues – including regulatory disputes, judicial review and declaratory judgment. She has particular expertise in contested matters and in seeking and resisting urgent injunctions and interim orders. 

She assists clients with inquiries, reviews and Royal Commissions, and in engaging with public agencies, such as the Ombudsman, Auditor General and Privacy Commissioner.

Sally also has considerable experience in the public law aspects of employment law, and appears regularly in the Employment Court. 

Sally’s pragmatic and common sense approach to advice draws on her experience as a litigator. She has considerable trial and appellate experience and appears regularly in the High Court, Court of Appeal and before inquiries, specialist courts and tribunals.

Sally joined Simpson Grierson from Crown Law in May 2017. As Crown Counsel, she represented and advised Ministers, regulators, statutory decision makers and government departments and ministries. That Crown experience gives her a unique insight into engaging with government. 

Her clients say: 

“She’s quite unique – the best lawyer I’ve worked with, bar none.  She understands the politics and relationships with government and other stakeholders.”

Sally is a member of the Australia and New Zealand Education Law Association.  She is also a member of the Institute of Directors, a Board member of Cricket Wellington and the Independent Chair of the Steering Committee advising Gymnastics New Zealand on responding to their ‘whole of sport’ review.   

Sally authored the New Zealand chapter of the International Data Guidance Notes on Whistleblowing and was co-author of New Zealand Law Society national ‘Judicial Review’ Seminar (Feb-March 2021).

Chambers Asia-Pacific 2023
Public Law

Leading Lawyer

Work Highlights

Resolving contested regulatory matters and public decision making

Sally assists companies to resolve issues with public and regulatory decision making, securing positive and discrete solutions for clients. She works across a wide range of sectors including health and medical, Covid-19 regulation, pharmacy, broadcasting, mining and extractives, government procurement and contracting.

Judicial review 

Sally regularly appears in judicial review matters, in a wide range of areas. Recent cases include:

  • Lead counsel in successful challenge to District Court decision on the jurisdiction of WorkSafe to prosecute for the death of a soldier during a Counter Terrorism collective training exercise. New Zealand Defence Force v District Court of New Zealand [2022] NZHC 3559
  • Acting for overseas investors, in both challenging and defending judicial reviews of Ministerial decisions under the Overseas Investment Act. Lead counsel in New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit Inc v Minister for Land Information, [2020] NZHC 2816. Counsel in Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki (Inc) v Minister of Finance [2020] NZHC 2345.

Royal Commissions and government inquiries 

Sally has an extensive inquiries practice, including acting for the Catholic Bishops and Congregational Leaders and other faith groups in the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care. She has assisted a wide range of clients (including government chief executives, state employees and whistle blowers) in the Royal Commission regarding the Mosque Shootings, in Operation Burnham, the Wally Haumaha inquiry and the inquiry into the Government’s use of private investigators.

Crown Entities 

Assisting a number of Crown entities in relation to their decision making, interactions with responsible Ministers, statutory obligations and Ministerial powers, including representing a Crown Entity in a judicial review regarding the scope of Ministerial powers of direction and advising a Crown Entity on Treaty of Waitangi obligations.

Education sector 

Advising universities, schools, ECE providers and PTEs on their statutory and regulatory obligations.

Acting for a large PTE in challenging the regulatory actions and decisions of NZQA, including bringing judicial review proceedings and seeking interim orders to prevent the imposition of decisions.

Assisting a university with controversial attempted name change decision.

Covid-19 and statutory and regulatory reform 

Advising clients on the application and lawfulness of Covid-19 law changes and other regulatory and statutory reform.

Negligence and class actions 

Acting in ‘Kiwifruit Claim” in the High Court, a class action claim for $600 million, for alleged negligence under the Biosecurity Act in the horticultural sector. Advising Crown entity clients on potential negligence risks and mitigation.

Privacy and Official Information 

Assisting public and private clients with Ombudsman’s and Privacy Commissioner requests and investigations. Advising New Zealand based business and NZ based international subsidiaries on the Privacy Act and GDPR obligations and compliance.

Treaty of Waitangi obligations 

Advising a Crown Entity in relation to their involvement in Waitangi Tribunal hearings.

Human Rights 

Acting for a Council and Council controlled organisation against allegations of discrimination in proceedings in the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

Areas of Expertise

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