Partner - Corporate
Sarah is a Corporate Partner with more than 20 years’ experience of advising clients on Public, Regulatory and International Trade Law matters.
Sarah specialises in enabling her clients to overcome the challenges associated with 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 2021 and 2022. Sarah has market-leading expertise in the areas of: customs law; export controls and sanctions; anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations; supply chain risk management; domestic and overseas market access requirements; bilateral trade and investment agreements; and World Trade Organisation rules and disputes. Prior to returning to New Zealand in 2012, Sarah worked in London, Washington D.C. and Paris for 10 years. This multijurisdictional experience gives her a unique and valuable perspective on international matters.
Sarah is also a leading provider of public law, regulatory and government relations advice. She assists her clients to: understand complex legal requirements; conduct due diligence; 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. Sarah has deep knowledge of the agriculture and fisheries, food and beverage, transportation, postal and distribution, and medical sectors. Prior to practising law, she was a regulatory economist and a regulator. This multidisciplinary experience gives Sarah’s advice an edge.
Advising clients on food law matters relating to: potential acquisitions; product composition, categorisation and regulatory approvals; food safety and quality; packaging, labelling, health and nutrition claims, trademarks, geographical indications and advertising; and exports, traceability, contingency planning and recalls.
Government lobbying and disputes
Providing wide-ranging legal and strategic advice to a telecommunications company seeking Government approval to participate in the development of New Zealand’s 5G network.
Sanctions advice, investigations and litigation
Advising traders, banks, insurers, and freight companies on export controls and sanctions regimes, and notably those relating to China, Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Russia, Syria and Venezuela. This includes assisting with compliance assessments, customer and transaction due diligence, low-risk deal structuring, contractual document reviews, and the production of sanctions compliance programmes. Also representing clients in sanctions investigations and litigation conducted by the New Zealand Government, including the Defendant in New Zealand Customs Service v Pacific Aerospace Ltd .
Anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations
Representing manufacturers, exporters, importers and retailers in more than 20 anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations conducted by the New Zealand, European Union and United States governments. Also advising clients on related judicial review proceedings. Most recently assisted Lamb Weston and Lamb Weston Meijer to secure the successful termination of New Zealand’s dumping investigation into frozen potato fries and wedges from Belgium and the Netherlands.
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’. Also assessing the merits of a potential legal challenge and the retailer’s internal decision-making processes.
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.
Customs and excise advice and investigations
Advising a freight forwarder on the potential implications of breaching rules governing the importation of fire extinguishers containing an ozone depleting substance, without the necessary licence. Conducting an internal investigation, drafting a voluntary disclosure to the Customs Service and the Environmental Protection Authority, and settling the matter with the Government.
International treaty negotiations, interpretation and disputes
Advising the United Kingdom Department for International Trade on the UK-New Zealand free trade agreement negotiations and the UK’s negotiations to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. These appointments are for three years each and resulted from two separate competitive tender processes.
International commercial arrangements and disputes
Representing a seafood exporter in a contractual dispute regarding consignments of ‘non-confirming’ products the company exported to China, which were subsequently detained, rejected and returned to New Zealand. Also advising on the merits of a potential claim for damages from its New Zealand-based supplier, and preparing a bespoke Product Sales Agreement to govern the client’s export sales going forward.
- 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
- Director, AmCham New Zealand, since May 2021
- Member, Association of Certified Sanctions Specialists
- Member, Customs & International Trade Bar Association
- Member, Food and Grocery Council
- Member, Law and Economics Association of New Zealand, Inc
- Member, TradeExperettes
- Agriculture, Food and Beverage
- Competition and Regulation
- Corporate and Commercial
- International Trade
- Organisational Integrity
- Public Law
- Sales and Marketing
- Recognised for Trade Law by Best Lawyers™ in New Zealand 2020, 2021 and 2022
- Band 1 for EU, Trade, WTO, Anti-Dumping and Customs by Legal 500 UK in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012
- Finalist for Shipping and Maritime Lawyer of the Year, Women in Business Law Awards for Asia 2020 and 2021
- Finalist for International Trade Lawyer of the Year, Women in Business Law Awards for Asia 2020 and 2021
- Finalist for Offshore Lawyer of the Year, Women in Business Law Awards for Asia 2020
- +64 9 353 9776
- +64 21 919 343