Public Law

The manner in which business is conducted in New Zealand is substantially influenced by public law and regulatory frameworks. By effectively navigating the complex public law and regulatory terrain, businesses can ensure compliance, safeguard their interests, and capitalise on opportunities for growth and expansion.

Simpson Grierson has the largest public law practice of any law firm in New Zealand. We have unsurpassed experience in public and administrative law, which we use to benefit clients in both the public and private sectors. 

We provide public sector organisations with policy and statutory interpretation and development, and legislative strategy and drafting services. We have been involved in the drafting of a number of significant statutes.

A major part of our practice is assisting public sector organisations defend claims and challenges to their decisions.

Increasingly we assist private sector clients across all industries in developing strategies for working effectively with government, and understanding government processes. This includes facilitating contact with, and preparing for representations to, Ministers and officials, government departments, and other representatives and advisers. We also assist with appearances before select committees and inquiries, and analysis of new legislation and policy.

Local government

Our leading local government practice is an important part of our wider public law offering. We advise over 60 local authorities, including the major metropolitan councils in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch on a range of public and administrative law issues, including both public law advisory and litigation matters.

We are regularly involved in submissions on new legislation and policy initiatives and work in partnership with Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and Taituarā.

Work Highlights


Infrastructure Funding and Financing Programme

We advised Treasury and the Department of Internal Affairs on this significant project to develop a new model for funding and financing major infrastructure projects.

New legislation and policy initiatives

Our recent work has included advising the Ministry for the Environment on the development of the Covid-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Bill, and helping the Ministry evaluate potential fast-tracked infrastructure projects.

New Plymouth District Council

We advised on the Waitara Endowment Land Local Bill, which is intended to resolve long standing and contentious issues involving land in the Waitara area and to provide for the appropriate distribution of the proceeds from lease income or sale of the land.


Ministry for Primary Industries

We defended in the High Court the "Kiwifruit Claim", a $400 million class action tort claim in negligence for biosecurity breaches in allowing the bacterial kiwifruit vine disease Psa-V into New Zealand.

Ministry of Health

We represent the Ministry, defending a number of related challenges to its Funded Family Care (FFC) disability funding programme and the system that has replaced FFC after reforms that occurred in mid-2020.

Auckland Transport, Auckland Council and the Regional Transport Committee for Auckland

We successfully acted in response to a climate change challenge to the lawfulness of the Auckland Regional Land Transport Plan 2021 due to its climate change impact.

South Taranaki District Council

We advised on a judicial review to Council's decision to add fluoride to the drinking water supplies for Patea and Waverley.

Insights & News

Expertise within Public Law