Sarah Sinclair

Chair and Partner - Construction and Infrastructure

Chair of the MinterEllisonRuddWatts partnership, Sarah is a highly-regarded construction and infrastructure specialist. She has extensive experience acting for both Government and private sector clients in large-scale, complex infrastructure projects. She is known for providing commercially pragmatic, strategic advice on infrastructure funding models, procurement strategies and contracting structures.

Sarah has extensive experience in combining the commercial components of a project with a deep understanding of procurement processes, particularly in pathfinder projects.

Sarah leads MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ roles on the City Rail Link project (CRL) and the Anchor Projects in Christchurch, and is adept at conceptualising strategy and navigating challenges inherent in projects carried out in the public eye. She also has particular expertise in Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), having acted for sponsors, banks or sub-contractors on all PPPs closed or brought to market in New Zealand to date.

Sarah has been on the Board of Infrastructure New Zealand since 2012 and is an officer of the International Construction Projects Committee of the International Bar Association. She was recently appointed to the inaugural board for New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga – a new entity responsible for planning and prioritising the country’s infrastructure initiatives.

Professional background

Recent work

Ministry of Transport on Light Rail in Auckland

Advising the Ministry of Transport on the legal, commercial and strategic aspects of the procurement process for Light Rail in Auckland, including: development of the response requirements document; preparation and advice on the commercial terms sheet; respondent engagement; and regulatory and legislative requirements.

CRL acting for the Crown (through the Ministry of Transport and Treasury)

Advising the Crown on the structure for the funding, delivery and operation of the CRL project as joint sponsor with Auckland Council, and leading the drafting and negotiating of key documentation.

Ōtākaro on Christchurch Anchor Projects

Advising the Crown (and then Ōtākaro) on the structuring, procurement and funding of the Anchor Projects for the Christchurch rebuild, including the Convention Centre, Metro Sports Facility, Bus Interchange and Avon River Precinct.

All New Zealand PPPs

Acting for sponsors, banks or sub-contractors on all PPPs closed or brought to market in New Zealand to date.

Ports of Auckland

Advising on legal, commercial and strategic aspects of the Hydrogen Demonstration Project including: corporate structures and funding, procurement strategies, tender documentation, drafting and negotiation of project agreements for design installation commissioning and operation of plant, and regulatory and legislative requirements.

Fulton Hogan Limited

Successfully advised Fulton Hogan on a large number of tenders, utilising all forms of delivery models.


  • 1991, New Zealand


  • LLB (Hons), BCom, University of Auckland


  • Officer of the International Bar Association’s (IBA) International Construction Projects Committee


  • Infrastructure
  • Major Projects
  • Public Private Partnerships
  • Construction Contracts
  • Regulatory Compliance


  • Ranked as a Band 1 Energy and Natural Resources lawyer, Chambers Asia Pacific & Global
  • Ranked as a Recognised Practitioner in Construction, Chambers Asia Pacific
  • Ranked as a leading Projects and Resource Management and Real Estate and Construction lawyer, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific
  • Ranked as a leading Corporate and M&A Energy and Infrastructure Project Development lawyer IFLR1000
  • Winner - Energy and Natural Resources Lawyer of the Year New Zealand - ILO Client Choice Awards 2015 2014
  • Winner - Energy Lawyer of the Year New Zealand - Best Lawyers 2015
  • Recognised by Best Lawyers for Construction Law, Energy Law, Natural Resources Law