Public Law


Senior Associate

Our public law team is highly experienced in dealing with public law issues. We know the issues, the framework for decision-making and how the government works. If you have a complex legal or related strategic issue in the public sector, or you need to deal with the public sector, we can help.

We regularly advise government departments and agencies, finding solutions that work while maintaining balance of all other factors. Our team members’ have worked within the public sector and are therefore familiar with the environment in which you operate and the rules that apply to you. We prioritise solutions that achieve your strategic goals.

A growing area of our team’s expertise is assisting government agencies on their business critical technology and procurement challenges. We advise on all aspects of procurement, development, implementation, licensing, and support arrangements working alongside both project personnel and IT, finance, HR and legal teams to achieve successful delivery of new and enhanced systems and services, as well as helping agencies contract effectively to support their business-as-usual operations.

The team also works with those in the private sector who are dealing with public law issues. You can trust that your questions will be answered quickly and you’ll get the best result possible because we know the issues and have good relationships with Government organisations. This means we can help you to deal with Government and comply with the regulations governing your sector.

We advise government departments, Crown Entities, Local Government, and private sector companies in the following areas:

  • How to get the best result from Government decisions with which you have to comply – for example, if you are a government organisation, making robust and enduring decisions.
  • How different regulatory regimes work. We have particular expertise in the energy, electricity, aviation and broadcasting sectors and are regularly called upon by our clients in these areas to assist. For example, we have experience in advising airports in setting charges under the Airport Authorities Act and advising New Zealand companies on major regulatory reviews (eg in the broadcasting sector) and on various issues under the Telecommunications Act and the Commerce Act.
  • Law reform. We can assess the impact of upcoming legislation on our clients, appear on their behalf in Select Committees (or assist them to appear) and meet with Ministers and officials to present their perspective.
  • Other public law related issues such as restructuring in the public sector, Official Information Requests, the Privacy Act, Government Finances and Government contracts. We act for both the public sector and the private sector. For example, we have experience in advising on contracts for health services, the purchase of sports programmes, and science and innovation contracts.

Our public law team works with specialists in other areas of our firm where appropriate. This means you get both subject matter expertise in the public sector context within one firm. This results in better service and lower costs to you.

Some of the agencies that we work with regularly include:

  • Civil Aviation Authority
  • Electricity Authority
  • Fire and Emergency New Zealand
  • Greater Wellington Regional Council
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Oranga Tamariki
  • Stats NZ
  • The Treasury

Duncan Cotterill is on the All of Government (AoG) Panel for corporate and commercial law and property law work. Under AoG rules, agencies are able to engage us across all areas of the panel including public law.

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