Megan Richards

Partner - Employment and Public Law

Megan is an internationally recognised employment and public law specialist. She has practised law for over 30 years in top tier firms in New Zealand, Australia, and London, and sits on MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ board.

Megan acts for many high-profile private entities operating in diverse sectors.  She also regularly acts for government departments and crown entities.   Megan’s practice traverses strategic, litigious, and time-critical day-to-day advice on all aspects of employment-related and public law.

Bringing significant experience to all employment related matters, Megan advises on employment agreements and HR policies, managing poor performance, restructuring and redundancy, disciplinary investigations and dismissals, executive exits, leave entitlements, minimum standards compliance, secondments, KiwiSaver, collective bargaining, independent contractor arrangements, establishing business in NZ and recruiting staff, privacy, and restraints of trade and other post termination obligations.

As part of her employment practice, Megan advises on immigration requirements for foreign nationals wishing to work in New Zealand or set up businesses here.  She assists with business visa applications and complex health, character, and financial requirements.  She also liaises with Immigration New Zealand on behalf of clients.

Megan regularly represents clients at mediations, in the Employment Relations Authority, and in the Employment Court.  She is on the Editorial Boards of a number of employment publications and is also the co-author of the Laws of New Zealand Employment chapter.

Megan is also a public law expert and advises on exercise of statutory powers, legislative drafting, discrimination and judicial review proceedings, risk management and legal compliance and governance.  Megan was appointed to the Legislation Advisory Committee in 2011 and then became an external member of the new Legislation Design and Advisory Committee until November 2018 (both appointments by the Attorney General).

Clients regularly seek Megan’s expertise when navigating complex issues with broader regulatory and political considerations.   She is mindful of and manages any political, media, and/or public interest considerations that can often accompany matters she is instructed on.

Megan’s leading expertise across employment and public law is consistently recognised in independent legal directories, including The Legal 500 Asia Pacific and Chambers Asia-Pacific.  Clients praise her as “a smart and pragmatic lawyer.  She sees the bigger picture but is able to give me advice that is sensible, balanced and detailed enough I can act on it” – The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022.  One client says Megan is “empathetic” and “understands difficult situations”.  Another notes she “is a good relationship builder, is likeable, trustworthy and gives timely responses. Her technical expertise is very strong and her communication is clear; she explains things in a way a layperson can understand” – Chambers Asia-Pacific 2020.

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Professional background

Recent work

Judicial review claim

Acting for FairWay Resolution Ltd in defending a judicial review claim challenging its independent review of an ACC decision.

Employment advice in the healthcare sector

Acting for Healthcare of New Zealand Holdings Limited in the pay equity/equal pay litigation brought by mental health and addiction treatment support workers against a number of employers in this sector.

Ongoing employment advice

Providing Zespri, Z Energy, and Pacific Radiology Group with a range of employment advice, both contentious and non-contentious. This includes acting as counsel for Zespri in Employment Court litigation regarding the termination of employment of a former employee based in China.

Managing contentious issues for the Ministry for Children

Advising Oranga Tamariki on a variety of employment matters involving actual or potential litigation in the Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court, including cases involving termination of employment for use of force against young people in care.

Trusted adviser to New Zealand’s largest insurance broking company

Acting as a key adviser in conjunction with independent investigators on workplace complaints and enforcing restraints of trade. Megan has represented Crombie Lockwood in various high value employment disputes, including with former senior employees.

Admitted

  • 1991, New Zealand

Qualifications

  • LLB, Victoria University of Wellington

Affiliations

  • Editorial Board Member, Lexis Nexis' Employment Law Bulletin
  • Member, Wellington Club

Specialisations

  • Employment Law
  • Government
  • Health and Safety
  • Immigration
  • Litigation and Dispute Resolution
  • Privacy
  • Public Law

Awards

  • Ranked as a leading Public Law lawyer, Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2014-2022
  • Ranked as a leading Employment lawyer, Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2013-2022
  • Ranked as a Leading Individual – Labour and Employment, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2018-2022
  • Recognised for Labour and Employment Law, Best Lawyers
  • Recognised as a Leading Employment Lawyer, Doyles Guide (2021)
  • Recognised as a leading Labour and Employment practitioner, Expert Guides: Women in Business Law (2021)
  • Partner in MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ internationally recognised Tier 1 (The Legal 500 Asia Pacific) Employment and Band 1 (Chambers Asia-Pacific) Public Law teams