Sarah Salmond

Partner - Corporate

Sarah is a Corporate Partner with 20 years’ experience of advising clients on Public, Regulatory and International Trade Law matters.

Sarah is a leading provider of public law and regulatory advice across a range of industry sectors, including agriculture and fisheries, food and beverage, transportation, postal and distribution, telecommunications, airports and energy. She assists her clients to understand complex legal requirements; capitalise on regulatory opportunities; participate effectively in regulatory investigations and public inquiries; present persuasively in disputes with decision-makers; and develop arguments and strategies that secure favourable legislative and policy changes. Prior to practising law, Sarah was a regulatory economist and a regulator. This multidisciplinary experience, when coupled with a thorough understanding of the political and administrative contexts, gives Sarah’s advice an edge.

Sarah also specialises in helping her clients to address the challenges of trading goods and services across national borders. She heads the firm’s International Trade Practice and is the only lawyer from a major New Zealand law firm recognised for Trade Law by The Best Lawyers™ in New Zealand 2020 and 2021. Sarah has market-leading expertise in the areas of: customs and excise law; export controls and sanctions; trade remedies; domestic and overseas market access requirements; bilateral trade and investment agreements; and World Trade Organisation negotiations, rules and disputes. Prior to returning to New Zealand in 2012, Sarah spent 10 years working in London, Washington D.C. and Paris. This multijurisdictional experience gives her a unique and valuable perspective on international matters.

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Professional background

Recent work

Regulatory advice, lobbying and disputes

Providing legal and strategic advice to a telecommunications company seeking Government approval to participate in the development of New Zealand’s 5G network.

Public inquiries

Leading a team of five lawyers providing a dairy company with comprehensive advice relating to the procedural, substantive and reputational aspects of a Ministerial Inquiry into a food safety incident.

Sanctions advice, investigations and litigation

Providing traders, banks, insurers, and freight companies with sanctions advice, including compliance assessments, customer and transaction due diligence, low-risk deal structuring, contractual document reviews, and the production of sanctions compliance policies and procedures. Also representing clients in sanctions investigations and litigation conducted by the New Zealand Government, including New Zealand Customs Service v Pacific Aerospace Ltd [2018].

International commercial disputes

Representing a New Zealand seafood exporter in a contractual dispute with its Chinese importer, which focused on the laws governing ‘non-conforming goods’.

International treaty negotiations, interpretation and disputes

Advising sovereign governments and corporates on international treaty negotiations, interpretation and disputes, with a particular focus on the law of the World Trade Organisation and the negotiation of free trade agreements.

Customs and excise advice and investigations

Advising traders and trade facilitators on complex customs and excise matters and representing them in contentious cases before the Customs Service, the Ministry for Primary Industries, and the Environmental Protection Authority.

Advice on and investigations into anti-competitive behaviour

Representing manufacturers and retailers in anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations conducted by the Ministry for Business Innovation and Enterprise, the European Commission Directorate-General for Trade, and the United States Department of Commerce.  Also advising clients on related judicial review proceedings.

Public law advice

Advising a retailer whether it was lawful for the New Zealand Government to prohibit the company from opening its stores during the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 Lockdown on the basis that they were not ‘essential businesses’.


  • 2013, New Zealand


  • LLB, BCA (Commercial Law and Public Policy) and BA (Politics), Victoria University of Wellington


  • Board Member, New Zealand International Business Forum, since July 2018
  • Board Member, British New Zealand Business Association, since May 2018
  • Member, Association of Certified Sanctions Specialists
  • Member, American Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand
  • Member, Customs & International Trade Bar Association
  • Member, Food and Grocery Council


  • Agriculture, Food and Beverage
  • Competition and Regulation
  • Corporate and Commercial
  • Government
  • International Trade
  • Organisational Integrity
  • Public Law
  • Sales and Marketing


  • Recognised for Trade Law by The Best Lawyers™ in New Zealand 2020 and 2021
  • Band 1 for EU, Trade, WTO, Anti-Dumping and Customs by Legal 500 UK in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012