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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 advisor and litigator. She founded and leads our public law and government practice.

Sally helps both public and private clients to manage a wide range of public law and regulatory issues – including judicial review, declaratory judgment and a wide range of regulatory obligations. She assists clients with inquiries, reviews and Royal Commissions, and in engaging with public agencies, such as the Ombudsman, Auditor General and Privacy Commission.

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.

  • Chambers Asia-Pacific Public Law 2023 - Leading Lawyer

Examples of Work

  • Overseas Investment Act - acting for overseas investors, in both challenging and defending judicial reviews of Ministerial decisions under the Overseas Investment Act.
  • 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.
  • Royal Commissions and government inquiries - Sally has an extensive inquiries practice, including acting for the Catholic Bishops and Congregational Leaders 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 in the inquiry into the Government’s use of private investigators.
  • Primary sector - advising large dairy industry participants on their Biosecurity and Animal Products Act obligations, and on Mycoplasma Bovis related issues. Advising on sector specific regulatory compliance and reform.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Other Credentials

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