Christchurch: CBD – (03) 379 7690 | Ferrymead – (03) 940 2435 | Hornby – (03) 349 5111

Commercial Law

Saunders & Co acts for commercial clients across the board, from small owner-operator businesses, through to the small to medium enterprise sector and right through to large corporate firms with multi-million dollar operations. No matter the size, we tailor our advice to suit.

We ensure our clients have the systems and processes in place to manage risk and handle their day-to-day contracts with ease.

Expert advice is key during business formation to ensure ownership and company structures are correct. We also help clients to comply with Employment Law and ensure their valuable Intellectual Property is secured.

Shareholder agreements, partnership arrangements and the development of standard terms of trade are other areas of expertise. We can also assist with family estate planning considerations when these matters intersect with a new or existing business operation.

General matters such as business and property sale and purchase agreements, leasing, financing, contract administration, health and safety compliance, and succession planning are also carried out by our multi-faceted team, which can also advise on governance and board structure, mergers and acquisitions, and growth strategies.

Our commercial services include:

Examples of our recent work

  • Due diligence advice on a $30 million+ retail development project
  • Independent contractor agreements and terms of trade drafted for an irrigation business
  • Share purchase for a $3 million hospitality venture, including advice on shareholders agreements, family trust formation, drafting of the contract to buy/sell shares, financing with cross guarantees between companies, deeds of priorities, assignment of deeds of leases
  • Representation for a rural sub-division developer, involving extensive negotiations for numerous conditions and easements with neighbouring parties and other interested third parties.
  • Sale of a small hospitality business
  • Major retail chain expansion – lease review and negotiations, franchising agreements, advertising and sponsorship contracts

Get further advice from

Andrew Potter


Direct dial: +64 3 966 7702
Mobile: 027 343 7804
Office: CBD

Andrew joined Saunders & Co in February 2018 and was admitted to the bar in March the same year. He works in the commercial and property team and closely with Toby Giles and Nicky McCormick.

Andrew has a keen interest in all aspects of commercial and property law and strives for the best results for his clients. He is private and corporate client-orientated and endeavours to be both a legal educator and facilitator of his clients’ needs. Key to achieving this he believes is being positive and friendly.

Although originally from Napier, Andrew spent most of his adult life in Christchurch and Dunedin for sport and study. Before joining the law profession Andrew competed as a New Zealand and regional level rower at age group level. He has enjoyed a wide exposure of high performance sport and learned valuable skills in balancing this with his study.

Outside of work Andrew enjoys going for runs with his dog, fishing and the odd game of tennis. Often Andrew drops by the local rowing club to lend a hand coaching new generations.

Andrew specialises in

Ben Frampton


Direct dial: +64 3 963 1454
Mobile 027 535 4616
Assistant: Jenny Shearer

Ben has served his entire law career at Saunders & Co, joining the firm in 1980 and becoming a partner in 1985. During this time he has enjoyed being part of the firm’s steady, organic growth and working with a great team of people.

Law is somewhat of a family tradition, with Ben’s father serving as a Christchurch lawyer, and later District Court Judge. Before Ben decided to study and practise law, he had a brief career as a mathematics teacher in Auckland.

Ben enjoys the general nature of his work which is mainly with private clients dealing with property transactions, family trusts, general administration, wills and estates, along with providing legal advice. He likes to meet clients in person at the start of the process in order to develop a good understanding of their needs, and takes a lot of satisfaction in achieving their desired results.

Ben is known for his calm, professional demeanour and wisdom gained from nearly 40 years working in the practice.

Outside work, he enjoys giving back to numerous community and charitable organisations and clubs in both a professional and voluntary capacity. He is a trustee of the New Zealand Mathematics Enrichment Trust, is on the board of the Christchurch Golf Club, is treasurer of Burnside Park Tennis Club and is a life member of Crockford’s Bridge Club of which he is a former president and treasurer.

Ben is also an enthusiastic participant in tennis, bridge and golf, and enjoys the theatre.

Ben specialises in the following areas:

What Ben’s clients say

“I first used Ben Frampton, of Saunders & Co, for my first property purchase back in 1994. Ben has looked after our affairs since then, which have included more property dealings. Ben’s work included resolving some curly issues around a property investment in Lyttleton in 2006 (land purchase and building contract). We were impressed at how he handled things without hesitation or fuss. Another example concerned a house building dispute. Ben’s assistance resulted in the house build being completed, with the ownership being transferred to us, without prejudice to our claims. This meant we minimised any accommodation inconvenience, preserved our legal position, and saved money. Ben’s calm demeanour, consistent communication style, and professional approach have left us stress free, and with total confidence in him. You hear stories of disputes once lawyers get involved, racking up costs, with taxi tariff charging styles for the likes of making phone calls and sending faxes. This has never been the case with Ben, and the fees charged have been more than fair considering the multiple dealings he has often had to undertake on our behalf. We have been, and still are, overseas-based. Ben takes this into account in his communication. He is always thorough in contacting us, explaining issues and receiving our input, before taking action. The staff members at Saunders & Co have always provided good and pleasant service to us.”
Stephen and Lesley Clark, Australia

“I have known Ben Frampton personally for almost 20 years, and over that time I have been made aware of his very solid reputation for sound advice, reliability and proficiency as a legal advisor. Latterly, as President of The Burnside Park Tennis Club, I have had the pleasure of working alongside Ben in his role as Club solicitor. His advice is always knowledgeable and efficient, and has been the cornerstone of many important decisions, often in areas which have been sensitive and crucial to the Club’s well-being. Ben is highly respected for his integrity and his objective assessment of emerging issues, and the Club is extremely grateful for his readily available expertise. My own confidence in Ben is such that he is also our family solicitor. I have no hesitation in recommending him to others.”
John Campbell, President, Burnside Park Tennis Club and Chairman, The Sir Richard Hadlee Sports Trust Christchurch

“Saunders & Co has handled Annette’s and my legal work from the time we purchased our first home in 1978. Ben Frampton has handled a number of real estate transactions for us since then as well as advising us on business and estate matters. Recently he handled some very delicate negotiations with regard to my late mother’s estate and was able to agree an outcome, which was fair and acceptable to all parties. This was done in his normal calm and considered manner, which helped settle a potentially stressful time for my sister and me. I have recommended Ben to a number of clients over the years and will no doubt continue to do so in the future.”
Ian Rule, Real Estate Agent Christchurch

“I was introduced to Ben Frampton in 2003. I have employed his services since this time, both as my personal lawyer and, in my real estate agent capacity, to many conveyancing clients. Ben has mostly looked after my property matters, both commercial and residential. He has also assisted with the purchase of company shares and maintaining my family trusts. In acting for my clients he has from time to time been able to provide helpful and straightforward suggestions in order to complete transactions that were sometimes looking difficult. I have always found Ben to be extremely clear with a no-nonsense approach to legal matters. I have never found Ben to be protracted about any of his dealings and this is one of the attributes I most appreciate in a sector where fees can be racked up by the hour. Ben’s response times are very quick and if he is unavailable, his support staff are extremely accommodating and helpful. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Ben and Saunders & Co.”
Debi Pratt, Sales Consultant and Business Owner Harcourts Holmwood, Christchurch

Ben Leggat


Direct dial: +64 3 265 0314
Mobile: 027 521 7862
Office: CBD

Ben is a lawyer who joined Saunders & Co in February 2018.

Ben is particularly interested in property and commercial law and greatly enjoys the challenges in the Christchurch market. He prides himself on being professional at all times and always strives to achieve the most efficient results for his clients. He is friendly, approachable and enjoys any opportunity to work with a large variety of people.

Outside of work, Ben is a keen sportsman. He plays rugby in Christchurch for a local club and is a keen golfer, always striving to improve. He’s a big fan of New Zealand summers but, despite living in Sumner, has yet to master the art of surfing.

Ben specialises in

Cran Bull MNZM


Direct dial: +64 3 963 1451
Assistant: Kathryn Whinray
Office: CBD

Cran continues to work as a Consultant at Saunders & Co after many years as a Partner of the firm.

Cran’s broad experience encompasses mainly commercial and company law, along with family and charitable trust work.

He has extensive experience dealing with a wide range of both niche and major organisations, including assisting Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu with its development and structuring; and working with a large Maori incorporation on the West Coast, which provided him with considerable experience in Maori land law. His expertise in the retirement village industry has also been highly sought after, acting for local prominent ventures Kate Sheppard Gardens and Silverstream Retirement Villages.

Building relationships with clients and taking a positive approach towards reaching their desired outcomes and solutions have given Cran a lot of satisfaction over his long career. He continues to enjoy the many and varied challenges of practising law in his role as a consultant.

Cran is well known in business and sporting circles. He is an accomplished cricketer, and during his playing days represented Canterbury at first class level for 18 years, including four years as captain. He has served as a member of the New Zealand Cricket Council and is a former chairman of the Canterbury Cricket Association, to whom he still provides legal counsel.

Family life is important to Cran, who has four children and two grandchildren. He enjoys golf, reading, and has travelled extensively, an interest he plans to continue to pursue.

Cran specialises in the following areas:

What Cran’s Clients Say

“Cran looks after all of my and my family’s personal and business legal matters. This covers the full spectrum of activities you’d expect to find including the management of our trusts and our medium sized business employing over 100 staff. He has done so for the last 20 or so years. We recently completed a significant commercial warehouse design and build in Hornby, Christchurch and Cran helped us successfully through what was a challenging process. He was unflappable even when the pressure really came on. Cran left no stone unturned and was able to call on his considerable experience to ensure we struck the best possible deal with the developer involved. Our relationship with the team at Saunders & Co has been long-standing and very successful. Cran leads from the front here by being responsive and contactable at a moment’s notice. We would have no hesitation in referring Cran and Saunders & Co as legal advisors.”
Brendan Prendergast, Managing Director MOVE Logistics, Hornby, Christchurch

“I have always found Cran Bull of Saunders & Co to be extremely reliable and able to meet all reasonable deadlines. This has meant we have avoided delays, or the need to get time extensions, in turning business opportunities into actual deals. The most recent prompt performance related to the refinancing of an expansion project. Cran’s work enabled us to receive highly favourable terms regarding interest rates, and the ability to maximize potential profitability through an early commencement date. Cran also plays an important role in our professional support team as a trusted advisor. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Cran to any colleagues looking for the right legal attributes to contribute to the success of any business.”
Richard Lye, Managing Director , Collins Mitre 10, Ashburton

David Lang


Direct Dial: +64 3 963 1459
Mobile: 027 322 6776
Assistant: Leeanne Gupwell
Office: CBD

David joined Saunders & Co in 1984 and became a partner in 1990.

With almost 30 years’ experience advising property developers, managers and construction companies on commercial property matters, David has built strong networks and gained a high level of expertise in the commercial field.

His considerable experience and proactive approach when dealing with matters relating to large and complex subdivisions has seen him build many long-standing relationships and work with a large number of property developers and investor clients. He acts for one of the city’s largest residential and commercial developers. Financial institutions, small to medium business clients and local iwi all benefit from his advice. David also provides estate planning and personal asset management services to a large private client base.

Giving back to the law profession and the wider community is important to David. He is a former member of one of New Zealand Law Society’s Standards Committees and current chairman of Nurse Maude. As a theatre buff he is Patron and Honorary Solicitor for the Repertory Theatre Society, as well as for Christchurch Music Theatre Education Trust, Canterbury Children’s Theatre and the Malthouse Theatre Trust.

Outside work David has a broad interest in sports and the arts, and is a keen golfer.

David specialises in the following areas:

What David’s clients say:

As a small business operating in the New Zealand fishing scene there are many ‘fish hooks’ for the unwary. Sometimes you find yourself unintentionally swimming amongst the sharks.  Then my company came under attack from overseas threats it was time to bring on board the legal expertise of David Lang.  He acted quickly and decisively to save me from being caught by some nasty predators.  He simply saved my business.”
Chris Ludeke, Director Arendale Ltd, Christchurch

“My wife and I enjoyed a long and happy relationship with a lawyer in a large Christchurch firm. Owing to a role change, he became unavailable to continue to act for us. We were then bundled around the firm and lost comfort and confidence in the firm’s ability to match our previous experience. I wanted a lawyer we could work effectively with at both a personal and professional level. It was especially important that my wife was comfortable in the event that something should happen to me. Matters came to a head over issues to do with the proposed development of our cross-lease property in Akaroa. We had engaged a very highly respected engineer to draw plans for retainer walls.  I consulted the neighbour concerned, and his reply arrived in the post a few days later – he was very angry.  To try to allay his concerns we paid for the engineer to travel to Akaroa for a meeting. Unfortunately this didn’t resolve things.  So my wife and I interviewed a number of solicitors who had been referred to us.  Our selection criteria came down to two main things:

1) My wife needed to feel happy to work with them.
2) What was their advice in developing our area of exclusive use in a cross-lease situation for car and boat parking, so when our family came to stay they could park their cars in a safe manner, when the neighbour was still so very angry?

In every case we were advised to sell and move on, yet the area we were trying to develop was for our exclusive use.  Our luck was about to change. We were referred to David Lang at Saunders & Co, Lawyers, in Christchurch. We met with David and my wife and I instantly felt at home with him. David’s advice was yes, you can develop your area of exclusive use. From that point on, he simplified both the legal and practical issues. The bonus – the neighbour acknowledged a job well done. The legal fees were also very fair.  I have no hesitation to refer other friends and colleagues to David.”
Ken Reese, Consultant Amberley, Canterbury

“I have found David Lang very thorough and very professional in all my dealings with him. I recall an occasion where, with a very difficult settlement, David’s efforts ensured a positive result that easily could have gone the other way.  This was also significant in that the settlement funds were needed to fulfil other financial commitments. David is accessible on short notice which is often very important to our company.”
Ian Calderwood, Executive Chairman Jonmer Group, Auckland

“David Lang of Saunders & Co has always been approachable, professional and extremely prompt in dealing with our legal matters.  His attention to detail has ensured all matters have been completed successfully, without any of the last minute surprises or issues that you often hear about. Dave’s biggest asset is his ability to ensure all goes well. He’s a bit like the captain of a ship – and I am always comfortable that things will go according to plan and best outcome when he is ‘at the helm’.  I would have no hesitation in recommending his services and the friendly help of the support staff at Saunders & Co to any of my colleagues.”
Matthew Reid, Fendalton, Christchurch

Dean Palmer


Direct Dial: +64 3 265 0315
Mobile: 0278 320 722
Office: CBD

Dean joined Saunders in 2018 and has been practising law in Christchurch for more than 35 years.  He has worked for a couple of major firms locally, predominantly in a partnership role.  He is experienced across a wide range of disciplines but now focuses mainly on corporate governance, advice to SMEs, insolvency matters and trusts.

Outside of work he enjoys family life, travelling, being a student of wine and is addicted to golf.

Dean specialises in the following areas:

Jen Bensley


Direct Dial: +64 3 963 1462
Mobile: +64 27 321 4477
Office: CBD

Jen was admitted to the Bar in December 2010 after completing a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Science from the University of Canterbury. Since then, she has specialised in the field of Immigration law, whilst also practicing commercial and property law. She now heads the Immigration Team at Saunders & Co.

Jen and her team provide migrant clients with a full range of services, assisting them from the outset of their migration to New Zealand through to obtaining residency and citizenship and, where necessary, advocating for them to the Immigration Protection Tribunal and in the Courts.

Beyond immigration work Jen also assists migrant clients with other legal matters pertinent to their successful settlement in New Zealand, such as the purchase of property or updating wills.

In addition, she works with companies large and small, to educate them on employment obligations under Immigration law, and advises on how companies can best utilise the immigration system to help meet their labour requirements.

In the commercial and conveyancing space, Jen is a general practitioner who assists her clients with the sale and purchase of property and businesses, small-scale development projects, drafting commercial documents, and financial and asset planning.

Outside of work, Jen enjoys travelling and camping with her young family and two German Shepherds.

Jen specialises in the following areas:

What Jen’s clients say

“The expertise, professionalism, understanding and results provided by Jen Bensley of Saunders & Co have been absolutely outstanding. I contacted Jen outside office hours on a public holiday as I was having many issues with my residency application and was not getting the assistance /knowledge needed by my current immigration lawyer at the time. To my surprise Jen replied straightaway offering her willingness to assist my situation even though it was a public holiday. My residency application had many issues and Jen was able to overcome them all in a very short time and always kept me updated with every step. Thanks to Jen my residency application was successful and I can now plan my future in NZ. I will definitely be using Saunders in the future, if needed, as well as recommending their excellent services.”
Andrew Hannaway

“Jen, thank you so much for all your help with my residence visa. You made me feel confident and took away my worries, also helped explain each stage of the process. The personal touch is a lot nicer than feeling you’re talking to a machine. Thank you for putting up with all my questions and always being so good to reply straightaway. I appreciate all your help and would fully recommend you. Thank you once again”
Nikhil Sharma

“Saunders & Co has a great reputation for being an excellent team of lawyers. They are highly professional persons, able to deliver the best results in a timely manner. Jen Bensley was my immigration lawyer and she was able to resolve an issue that occurred. Undoubtedly, Jen’s knowledge on immigration policies is outstanding.”
Maria Korotaeva

“When my partner and I were looking to purchase our first home together, a friend suggested we get in touch with Jen Bensley and we are certainly glad that we did.
Jen was friendly, efficient and thorough. She made buying our first home, a potentially stressful time, stress free and easy. We couldn’t be happier with how everything went and we will be sure to use Jen again in the future.”
Tom Keith

“Jen Bensley was my immigration lawyer. Thanks to her I am in New Zealand with my family. We had a difficult time trying to get a visa to be with my husband for a while without success. Once, Jen took over our case it was a success. Thanks Jen.”
Christine Octaviano

“Jennifer Bensley, who helped my family with visas, was very easy to work with, had great knowledge about the immigration policy and was very easy to get in contact with. She was very professional from start to finish.”
Jag Singh

Jeremy Bull


Direct Dial: +64 3 265 0911
Mobile: 021 228 5656
Assistants: Jan Feast (Monday) and Donna Butts (Tuesday to Friday)
Office: Hornby

Jeremy was admitted to the Bar in May 1998 and after gaining valuable experience with the firm, he left New Zealand to travel overseas in December that year, firstly to the USA and then to the UK. He lived in London for over four years and worked as a paralegal doing mainly litigation support, before travelling through Europe and returning to New Zealand in December 2003.

Jeremy recommenced working with Saunders & Co in January 2004, became a Partner in July 2008 and now runs our Hornby office, which focuses on looking after clients in southern Christchurch and growing surrounding towns such as Rolleston, West Melton, Lincoln, Prebbleton and Leeston

He enjoys the general nature of working in a suburban office, which gives him the opportunity to utilise a variety of skills and assist a wide range of clients.

Jeremy practises in commercial and company law, property law, trust law, wills, powers of attorney and estate planning, with a particular focus on leasing, sale and purchase of businesses, subdivisions, and all property transactions.

Jeremy hopes clients find him pleasant to deal with and appreciate his methodical, considered and well-organised approach to their work.

He likes to think he is pragmatic and a good communicator, keeping clients well informed throughout the process and helping them to work through any complex issues, which can sometimes arise.

A lot of Jeremy’s time outside the office is taken up with his young family, but when he does find time he enjoys following sports (particularly golf, cricket and football) music, reading, travelling and learning Italian.

Jeremy specialises in the following areas:

What Jeremy’s clients say:

“We have been clients of Jeremy Bull since 2007.  Jeremy impresses us with his attention to detail. We were recently in the process of buying a house and at the point, we thought, of putting pen to paper. However, Jeremy’s research found inconsistencies between the plans and what we had been told by other parties involved in the negotiation. Jeremy was proactive, very clear in his communications, and quick to advise on how to handle the situation. The issue was quickly resolved and without stress to us.  We are happy to recommend Jeremy as a thorough, professional, personable and very capable lawyer.”
Sean and Nova Guerin. Rolleston, Christchurch


“Jeremy has looked after our legal affairs over a number of years.  Not only has he steered us through multiple home buying and selling transactions, but has also been invaluable in assisting us with the many and varied issues that we have seen in our business. These include lease agreements, employment agreements or contracts, and even trade marking our business logo for future protection.  I remember one time in particular when he was extremely proactive where we had an employee issue. He rang me multiple times throughout the situation to discuss options as he thought of any new angles that we hadn’t already considered. This demonstrated to me that he really cared and was willing to go the extra mile.  Every time I deal with Jeremy he is extremely helpful. He makes all the legal things that I encounter easy to deal with, and he has done a great job for me to date.  The staff at Hornby Law are always friendly and helpful, and a pleasure to deal with.  I am happy to recommend Jeremy and Hornby Law to other friends and business associates.”
Tania Lloyd – Director/Designer, Gekkographics, Christchurch


Liam Glubb


Direct dial: +64 3 966 7710
Mobile: 021 026 19110
Office: CBD

Liam is a commercial and property specialist, who joined Saunders & Co in 2016 after gaining extensive experience at a major Christchurch firm. He was made a partner of the firm in 2018.

His client base covers a wide spectrum from corporates, to smaller ‘mum and dad’ business owners, property investors and private clients. He works with clients in buying and selling property; shares and businesses; negotiating a range of commercial documents such as shareholders agreements, franchise agreements and terms of trade; leasing; and commercial and residential subdivisions. Liam’s accounting degree allows him to clearly interpret financial information and work closely with accountants, bankers, and other financial professionals. He is also a member of the Canterbury Property Investors Association.

With a strong interest and background in business and property, Liam has a great understanding of his clients’ needs, and enjoys working closely with them to help achieve their goals. He has a particular interest in providing guidance and advice for new businesses on formation, ensuring correct structuring and documentation are in place from the beginning and helping to connect new business owners with other professionals they might need. First-home buyers and business owners also benefit greatly from Liam’s expertise and guidance.

When it comes to client contact, Liam tailors his approach and advice to the needs and experience of each individual. He is approachable and adaptable, and always has his eye on the details.

Outside of work, Liam likes to spend time with his family, travelling, watching movies and participating in a range of outdoor activities such as cycling, running, and boating.

Liam specialises in the following areas:

Lucy Keenan


Direct Dial: +64 3 963 1464
Mobile: 027 500 7444
Office: CBD

Lucy is an experienced commercial and property lawyer and joined Saunders & Co in November 2018 where she works alongside partners, David Lang and Liam Glubb. Lucy has practised law in both Australia and New Zealand and is duly admitted in both jurisdictions. Previous to working at Saunders & Co she worked for a large Christchurch firm where she gained vast experience in the commercial property field.

Lucy advises clients on all aspects of the sale and purchase of their properties, assets and businesses. She has a particular interest in commercial contracts including commercial leasing and financing arrangements. She also assists with residential and commercial subdivisions. Further areas of expertise include business succession planning and structuring, as well as private asset protection.

Lucy’s clients include individuals and small to medium size businesses. She also assists her team with larger corporate projects and maintains a close working relationship with her clients who appreciate her pragmatic approach to law.

Outside of work Lucy enjoys spending time with her two young children. She also likes to keep active and is an avid tennis player and although ‘retired’ from competition she is still involved with the sport.

Lucy specialises in the following areas:

Meg Gregson

Senior Associate

Direct dial: +64-3-963 1458
Mobile: 027 412 7824
Assistant: Narelle Keenan
Office: CBD

As an Associate and member of the Property and Commercial team, Meg Gregson acts on a broad range of matters.

Her specialist areas include construction and all aspects of residential subdivision and property related transactions. Meg also provides advice on the sale and purchase of businesses, leasing, finance and general company matters.

She works closely with Saunders & Co partner, Paul Coghlan on the portfolio of one of New Zealand’s largest residential and commercial building and development groups, which provides the bulk of her work including due diligence and land purchase transactions, subdivision work, construction law, contract advice, and the sale of house and land packages.

Meg enjoys being regarded as part of the ‘in-house’ legal team for the group, an approach she extends to her other clients, which include smaller building companies, building product distributors, and owners of popular hospitality venues. She likes to take the time to get to know their businesses, how they tick and what they are trying to achieve as this enables her to deliver tailored solutions, with clients fully engaged throughout the process.

Delivering effective, pragmatic solutions is a key focus for Meg, who is results-driven and takes a genuine interest in working through clients’ issues or problems.

If she hadn’t been a lawyer, Meg may well have been a dancer, having studied numerous disciplines since she was a child and also teaching dance. She regularly performs in major musical theatre productions and corporate events in Christchurch, including Showbiz productions at the Isaac Theatre Royal. Meg is also an avid skier, and competes in half marathons and ocean swim races, making for a busy, active life.

Meg specialises in the following areas:


What Meg’s clients say

“In 2016 I decided to build a house in partnership with a friend and it was recommended to us that we use Meg Gregson to sort out the legal details.

It probably wasn’t the easiest case to deal with due to both having a 50/50 share in the property, and both of us had never done anything like this before. But Meg was extremely helpful, answered lots of stupid questions and gave great service.

In the meantime I put my partner onto Meg when she was looking to buy a property. Due to the nature of the property we needed some due diligence completed within a couple of days, and Meg also came through for us.

After a year my friend decided to sell his portion of the new house to my partner, which meant coming back to Meg to sort out all of the paper work. During this process we have been extremely frustrated with the banks and the level of service they have given us, but once again Meg has been a pleasure to deal with. Nothing is ever a problem and she always returns calls and emails. Even our personal banker commented on how easy Meg was to deal with and how quickly she got things done.

Meg is a great asset to Saunders and Co. It has been great dealing with her and we look forward to dealing with her in the future when we sell and purchase more property.
Shaun and Kahl

Michael Kirkland


Direct Dial: +64 3 963 1455
Mobile: 021 0285 1682
Office: CBD

After many years as a partner in a Christchurch law firm, Michael chose to live with his family in France in 2002, where he attended the University of Marseille and his children attended College Mignet. On his return, he soon accepted a partnership at Saunders & Co. He quickly assimilated into that role and his loyal client base followed him.

He is on numerous charitable trust boards and in his specialty of adoption, his advice is nationally sought. Michael has been counsel involved in often cited Court of Appeal decisions.

From 2015 Michael stepped down from partnership and into his current role as a consultant/special counsel. As he heads toward retirement, his focus is on mentoring the civil team in conjunction with Partner, Andrew Riches, and ensuring his clients are well looked after, both presently and in the coming years.

Michael is a keen sportsman having played representative cricket and rugby, and now enjoying tennis and golf.

Michael specialises in the following areas:

What Michael’s clients say

“My relationship with Michael Kirkland is one that goes well beyond a client/lawyer type, because he has taken such a personal interest in me and my family’s welfare. This relationship started in an unusual manner. I met him in a case I was drawn into beyond my control many years ago when he was on the opposite side. Michael did a great job for his client – to my detriment, and upon it’s conclusion, he came to me and said that he was sorry that the case went against me, and if I ever needed his help, he would gladly assist. This was such a generous gesture, that from that time on, I made a mental note to contact him if I ever needed to. Some many years later, I took up his offer and called him to help me resolve some legal issues, and a rapport commenced ever since to the point that we have become firm friends.

Although he specialises in litigation, Michael does more than that. He is always ready to give advice on legal or financial matters – both in my personal and business affairs. He takes matters very personally, and extends himself well beyond normal working hours: I know this because he would not hesitate to call me at any time of the day or night, and on weekends – even to the point of tracking me down when I am overseas if he felt it imperative to discuss important issues. In return, I know that I can call him at any time too, and whenever I find myself passing through Christchurch, he offers his cottage for the night.

The fact that Michael is an excellent lawyer goes without saying. He is a true professional and his dedication is impressive. A feature of his preparation is that it is always backed up by thorough legal research, and at the same time uses easy to understand layman terms by adopting logical analogies to explain his point. Michael is also very willing to call on his colleagues at Saunders & Co who have their own expertise in both law and life experience, to assist in legal interpretations. This has resulted in other disciplines in the firm undertaking tasks for my business interests and me.

In essence, if anybody is in need of an excellent dedicated lawyer, and one who is also prepared to become personally involved in their legal affairs, I would recommend Michael Kirkland and his law firm Saunders & Co.”
Fred van Brandenburg – Principal
Architects van Brandenburg, Lake Hayes Queenstown

“During our first dealings with Michael Kirkland of Saunders & Co, in 1994, he gave us some sound advice relating to design responsibility involved with a construction contract which saved us a considerable sum of money. Since then Michael has assisted us with all legal issues associated with my business and personal affairs. It is always pleasant to deal with Michael and the staff at Saunders & Co and, as well as the legal advice, I value Michael’s opinions on more general business matters based on his long experience.”
Peter Davies – Director, Dawn Group, Christchurch

“We have now been a client of Michael Kirkland and Saunders & Co since 2002. During this time our business has enjoyed good growth periods and more recently had to retrench as the current recession has made trading difficult. We employ over 100 people, running a garment manufacturing unit, a wholesale distribution centre, and a retail business of 17 company owned stores. We have used the professional advice of Saunders & Co regularly for contract support with leases, and less regularly for:

  • management of personal affairs and the integration to the business
  • bank documentation support
  • purchase of property agreement negotiations
  • employment agreement disputes

We enjoy working with Michael because we value his opinion, and the professional support his partners and consultants give him. We regularly use Peter Wood, a consultant of the firm, for support of lease negotiations. Michael is fair and honest in his assessment of the situation, often giving advice on how to minimize a dispute. We have always found Michael compassionate to the situation of both parties, but prepared to ensure our interests are protected when negotiating. Saunders & Co have always given good advice and been prepared to stand by that advice. We value our relationship with them. Without their support as our legal team, we would not have grown, or weathered the recession as well as we have.”
Don Symon – Managing Director, Kauri Clothing – Home of Wild South Clothing, Christchurch

Nathaniel Heslop


Direct Dial: +643 963 1467
Mobile: 021 020 62292
Assistant: Ria Smith
Office: CBD

Nathaniel joined the Commercial and Property teams at Saunders & Co in 2016, after five years’ prior experience advising clients.

Before practising law, he held a number of positions in New Zealand based companies and trusts. This experience provided him with sound practical insight and the ability to deliver clear, strategic advice. Nathaniel is known for his empathetic, warm personality, and client-centred approach. He enjoys helping clients to achieve their goals, and likes to clarify how certain transactions will affect and benefit them.

A broad range of commercial and private clients make up Nathaniel’s portfolio. He advises on all commercial and property matters including property acquisitions and sales, leasing, shareholder agreements, commercial financing, business transactions, and other general company matters such as reviewing constitutions and drafting company documents.

As an adviser to Maori businesses and iwi entities, Nathaniel has developed expertise in Maori Land law. He is also a specialist in Trust law and Charity law, particularly when it comes to setting up charities and the governance issues associated with trustee liability.

Private clients relax in Nathaniel’s friendly approach and trust his advice as it relates to property transactions, elder law, estate planning, wills, enduring powers of attorney, occupation right agreements and family trust issues at different ages and stages in life. With a pragmatic, objective approach, he is able to help clients navigate the complex issues that can arise when dealing with these matters.

Ensuring clients have a clear understanding of the transaction process, are reassured, and kept informed of progress throughout, are other key aspects of Nathaniel’s approach.

A keen basketballer and NBA fan, Nathaniel also enjoys mountain biking, tennis, the outdoors, reading biographies, and putting his considerable epicurean skills to the test.

Nathaniel specialises in the following areas:

Nicky McCormick

Senior Legal Executive

Direct dial: +64 3 963 1452
Mobile: 021 564 259
Office: CBD

Nicky is an experienced senior legal executive, who joined Saunders & Co in 2015.

She works alongside Toby Giles on a wide range of property and commercial matters, from conveyancing, first home purchases, refinancing, asset protection, wills, trusts and (enduring) powers of attorney to restructuring and retirement village occupation rights agreements.

Nicky is down to earth, considerate and always has the best interests of her clients at heart. She is a good listener and communicator, and spends time establishing a strong understanding of people’s positions. This helps her to tailor advice on potential risks or advantages early in the process, helping to achieve the best results. When necessary she advises clients on the protection of their position and assets into the future.

First-home buyers are an important part of Nicky’s portfolio. She enjoys helping them realise their potential through property purchase, and can often steer them in directions they may not be aware of to get the best results.

Almost all of Nicky’s work is with private clients, apart from some commercial lease matters. Although she works predominantly with Toby, other solicitors at Saunders & Co also call on her expertise from time to time.

Nicky specialises in the following area:

Nicola Coombes


Phone: +64 3 940 2435
Assistant: Stephanie Davison
Office: Ferrymead

Nicola joined Saunders & Co in 2012 soon after her arrival from the UK . She became a partner in 2017. She enjoys leading the Ferrymead office with its broad general practice and family-focused culture.

Clients benefit from the smaller office environment.  Although most matters are handled within the Ferrymead office, additional expertise from the firm’s corporate office can be accessed if required.

Property and commercial matters make up a large part of Nicola’s portfolio, which could include anything from the sale and purchase of homes, commercial buildings and businesses, to leasing, and refinancing. She also assists clients with personal asset planning, trusts, wills and estates, and continues to handle a smaller amount of insurance and earthquake related work.

Clients appreciate Nicola’s positive, genuine approach, prompt efficient service, pragmatic advice and the time she takes to understand their needs. She is focused on clearly explaining every step of the process.

Building strong links to local communities in the east of the city and the seaside suburbs is important to Nicola, with the Ferrymead office assisting a number of community groups and trusts.

When she is not putting in long hours at work, Nicola enjoys getting into the outdoors with her husband. Travelling is another interest, and the couple tries to visit family in the UK regularly.

Nicola specialises in the following areas:

What Nicola’s clients say

“I am writing to acknowledge the superior service we were afforded by Nicola and her team at Saunders & Co Ferrymead. Having worked with and against a number of lawyers in my career, it was a delight to finally find a team who knew their business, executed it with diligence and aplomb while never losing their sense of humor or the human touch. We were singularly impressed with Nicola’s knowledge, experience and compassion. Never once did we suffer condescension, were we treated as numpties or made to feel we were wasting a professional’s time. Nothing was too much trouble and our angst and anxiety were met with concern and genuine understanding. This is an associate, backed by a team, in which Saunders & Co can have confidence and pride..”
Robert Nimmo Christchurch

Paul Coghlan


Direct Dial: +64 3 963 1465
Assistant: Karen Anderson
Office: CBD

Paul leads a property and commercial team and has been a partner since 2011.

He provides commercial and property advice to one of New Zealand’s largest home building companies, in addition he acts for clients with a diverse range of business interests including construction, commercial property and the hospitality and fitness industries.

Paul prides himself on delivering personalised service to each of his clients, and enjoys the opportunity to work with a variety of people.

His young family is a major focus outside work, alongside sport, going to the gym and travel. Paul regularly visits the West Coast, and he and his Scottish wife enjoy visiting Scotland every couple of years with their three children.

Paul specialises in the following areas:

Peter Wood


Direct Dial: +64 3 265 0917
Mobile: 021 0263 1494
Office: CBD

Peter has more than 30 years’ experience in general practice and joined Saunders & Co upon the merger of Wood Marshall in November 2002. His current portfolio is focused on commercial and property matters, as well as assisting clients with wills, trusts and estates.

Refinancing and property conveyancing for private clients who are selling or buying homes is a significant part of Peter’s work. He also has expertise in smaller subdivisions and rural transactions, such as boundary adjustments for landowners selling off small parts of their properties.

Peter also acts for numerous companies on a range of commercial matters such as the sale, purchase or lease of commercial buildings, and business sales and acquisitions.He provides sound guidance and advice for new business owners, ensuring the correct structure, documentation and financing are in place at the start.

Peter is also highly experienced in trust work, wills and estates. Clients appreciate his approachable manner and wise counsel when completing their transactions.

Keeping active is important to Peter, who is a keen golfer, runner and walker. He also enjoys a spot of fishing at a family bach in the Marlborough Sounds.

Peter specialises in the following areas:

Rose Glue


Direct dial: +64 3 966 7701
Mobile: 021 804 093
Assistant: Leeanne Gupwell
Office: CBD

Rose was made an Associate of Saunders & Co in August 2018 and works with Partner, David Lang, on commercial and property matters.

Rose was admitted to the bar in 2008 and worked in law for approximately 4 years before taking up a position managing Rowing New Zealand’s high performance development centre in Christchurch.

Rose’s background in law was helpful at Rowing New Zealand when it came to contracting athletes and dealing with sponsorship contracts. Conversely, the experience she gained during her time away from law enhanced her people management skills, and ability to handle stressful or challenging situations.

At Saunders & Co Rose enjoys the wide variety of work she undertakes alongside David Lang. The type of work covered ranges from helping first-home buyers with their Homestart grants to dealing with commercial clients working on multi-million dollar projects.

Rose has an innate understanding of the commercial and property worlds, with her interest in these fields encouraged by her father, a former CEO of Ngai Tahu Property.

Clients enjoy Rose’s personal, professional and straight-up approach which leads to confidence and trust in her performance.

Rose enjoys all things food-related with a keen interest in cooking, baking, and growing her own vegetables. She also enjoys travel and staying active.

Rose specialises in the following areas:

Toby Giles


Direct dial: +64 3 963 1466
Mobile: 021 441 255
Assistant: Kathryn Whinray
Office: CBD

Nicky McCormick – Senior Legal Executive
Direct dial: +64 3 963 1452
Mobile: 021 564 259

Toby is an experienced Partner who joined Saunders & Co in 2003, and operates across the Commercial and Property teams. His wide range of experience includes:

  • Significant exposure to the contracting industry acting for major Canterbury civil contractors, quarries, demolition contractors, and transport and logistics companies.
  • Experience within the insurance industry with local brokerage companies, particularly merger and acquisition-based transactions.
  • Extensive property development background dealing with local iwi development, major developments in Christchurch, Queenstown, and Amberley, with greenfield residential, commercial, and supermarket developments.
  • Mergers and acquisitions (both national and international), share and asset sales, tenders and RFP processes, as well as prior experience within the Telco and ISP industries.

Toby advises across the business and commercial spectrum in all fields, with his active property and private client practice ably supported by Senior Legal Executive Nicky McCormick. His style is to be as pragmatic and commercial as possible in all dealings and to work with a client to achieve their goals in a transaction

Outside of work Toby holds a governance role with the Christchurch Rugby Football Club and is a delegate to the Canterbury Rugby Football Union (CRFU), a role that has exposed him to significant disciplinary and judicial representation experience. He also holds, or has held, governance roles with a major Canterbury based Telco firm, and a national consulting engineering company.

Toby is married with a young family, and is an avid sportsman, keen on cycling, golfing, skiing and boating. He has finally given away rugby.

Toby specialises in the following areas:

What Toby’s clients say

“Toby Giles has looked after me and Dormer Construction’s legal matters for several years. Toby is tremendous to deal with. He goes to great effort to ensure he understands the issues affecting our business. I know he always has our best interests at heart.

Another attribute I value is his promptness in dealing with urgent matters. I recall one particular time when an unforeseen matter arose and Toby put his dedication and focus to work instantly. The situation was settled within a very short time. Problem solved.

I have no hesitation in recommending Toby to other friends and colleagues.”
Peter Dormer, Director, Dormer Construction Ltd

“Toby Giles of Saunders and Co has been looking after the legal affairs of Amicus Group for a number of years. We have had a number of issues regarding changes in constitution, changes in ownership and other general legal questions that Toby has helped us with. We have also used Toby to check loan documentation and finance agreements that we use, and his advice in those areas has been top notch. Toby handles things with great efficiency, especially in responding to e-mails and phone calls.

We are happy to refer Toby to other colleagues as a trusted legal professional.”
David Gyde, Adviser/Director, Amicus Group Ltd



CBD: 131 Victoria Street, Christchurch, NZ

Ferrymead: Unit 2, 987 Ferry Road, Christchurch, NZ

Hornby: 5 Goulding Avenue, Christchurch, NZ

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