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

Employment Law

At Saunders & Co, our Employment Law team advises on all aspects of the employment relationship for both employers and employees.

The employment relationship can be a difficult one if not managed correctly. Our aim in advising clients is to prevent issues from arising by giving effective, forward thinking advice at the outset. When issues do arise, we advise our clients on how to deal with these in a way that best fits, whether it be a quick and cost effective settlement or determining the dispute through the Employment Authority.

Our services include:

  • Drafting and negotiating terms of employment agreements
  • Advising on the disciplinary process
  • Advising on the process of redundancy and restructuring
  • Appearing at mediation
  • Raising and defending personal grievance claims
  • Advising on health and safety issues
  • Advising on obligations and entitlements under all relevant legislation including the Holidays Act, Wages Protection Act, and Kiwisaver Act.

Examples of our recent work

  • Undertaking an extensive review of an employer’s employment agreements and advising on the use of the 90 day trial and probationary periods.
  • Drafting employment agreements for an employer in the construction industry and advising on health and safety and drug and alcohol policy clauses.
  • Representing an employee through a disciplinary process for serious misconduct.
  • Raising and defending personal grievances for both employers and employees.
  • Defencing a claim from an employer against an employee in the Employment Relations Authority for breach of non-solicitation of trade clauses.

Get further advice from

Andrew Riches

Partner

Direct dial: +64-3-963 1457
Mobile: 021 982 115
E-mail: andrew.riches@saunders.co.nz
Assistant: Donna Lake

Andrew is a litigation specialist who joined Saunders & Co in early 2008 and became a partner in 2015.

He undertakes a wide variety of civil work in the District and High Court jurisdictions, and is also well versed in employment and criminal law. He has appeared as lead counsel in the Court of Appeal on civil and criminal appeals and appears regularly in the District and High Courts on these matters. He has acted for Financial Service Providers in the High Court on appeals against decisions of the Financial Markets Authority as well as successfully advancing negligence claims and claims against insurers.

Andrew is known for dealing with disputes in an upfront, open manner and not sugar-coating his approach. Depending on circumstances, he will either negotiate a practical solution for the client, or refer their problem to be resolved in court.

Andrew enjoys all aspects of this process, from researching and developing an argument around a case, to court work, which gets him out of the office and challenges him to think on his feet. Clients appreciate the guidance and reassurance provided by Andrew during what can be a complex and challenging process, when emotions sometimes run high. He is not afraid to tackle heated disputes should they arise.

Andrew is a Member of the Law Council of the Canterbury branch of the New Zealand Law society and Trustee of the St Albans Shirley Club.

In his spare time he enjoys spending time outdoors, researching his family history and running, completing his first half marathon in 2016. However most of Andrew’s time outside the office is focused on his wife and young daughter.

Andrew specialises in the following areas:

What Andrew’s clients say

“I shall feel honoured if you would consider my remarks regarding Andrew Riches, worthy for something. No doubt, Andrew Riches is a brilliant asset for Saunders & Co. I have lived in the USA and Canada for more that 20 years and have had an opportunity to meet lawyers in Christchurch and abroad but this young man looked to me way ahead of his age, and he is outstanding when comparing him with other lawyers in this small city. His approach and intelligence, his demeanour at this age, is bewildering. I am a very international person so please do not take my remarks for granted, you will see it to be true, he will be a big name soon in this city. I wish him a good future.”
Muhammad Ashraf Christchurch

Cherry Mo

Lawyer

Direct dial: +64 3 265 0312
Mobile: 022 589 7224
E-mail: cherry.mo@saunders.co.nz

Cherry joined the litigation team at Saunders & Co in 2017 shortly after completing a degree in Master of Laws (with honours). Cherry now assists the team at Saunders with an array of litigation issues including matters relating to criminal law, family law, relationship property and employment law.

She endeavours to preserve the human aspect in all litigation matters by listening and maintaining meaningful interactions with her clients to get to the root of any problem. Cherry then takes a pragmatic approach in finding practical solutions to difficult problems. The skills developed during her Masters degree have ensured Cherry is accomplished in researching and analysing lengthy and complex law, efficiently and productively.

Cherry has been in New Zealand since her early years at kindergarten. She is able to converse in Mandarin and Cantonese and her cultural background means she can easily understand and adapt to different commercial situations or different ways of conducting business.

Cherry is an active member of the New Zealand Chinese Association and enjoys organising social and professional networking events for the Canterbury Chinese Young Professionals group. She is also an avid volunteer at the Community Law Centre.

In her spare time, Cherry likes tramping/hiking, playing tennis and spending time with her family. It is Cherry’s goal to travel overseas every year or two. So far, she has visited France, Italy, Poland, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Belgium, Luxembourg, England, China, Indonesia and Japan.

Cherry specialises in the following areas of law:

Claire McCool

Associate

Direct dial: +643 265 0310
Mobile: 021 885 086
E-mail: claire.mccool@saunders.co.nz

Claire joined Saunders & Co as an Associate in 2018.

She is an experienced advocate who takes a pragmatic approach to deliver tailored advice to her clients.

Claire brings extensive experience on all aspects of employment related matters including: performance and disciplinary processes, restructuring, redundancy, leave entitlements, employment agreements and policies, industrial relations and post-termination obligations. She also advises on workplace health and safety issues from compliance to prosecutions.

Claire’s previous experience as a Crown prosecutor gives her the added edge when providing advice to clients with respect to investigations and court hearings.

In her spare time, Claire enjoys escaping the office to travel the globe and explore the outdoors.  Over the years, Claire has been lucky to travel the length of New Zealand to compete in a variety of sports codes. Being a devoted sports enthusiast, she usually plans her holidays to coincide with sporting occasions.

Claire specialises in the following areas:

 

Michael Kirkland

Consultant

Direct Dial: +64 3 963 1455
Mobile: 021 0285 1682
E-mail: michael.kirkland@saunders.co.nz

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

Nicola Coombes

Partner

Phone: +64 3 940 2435
E-mail: nicola.coombes@saunders.co.nz
Assistant: Stephanie Davison

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

Peter Tatham

Consultant

Direct Dial: +64 3 265 0915
Mobile 027 448 6336
E-mail: peter.tatham@saunders.co.nz
Assistant: Jennifer Whitbread

Peter is a consultant who joined Saunders & Co in 2013, from Franklin Law in Pukekohe where he was a Senior Solicitor practising as a civil and family court lawyer and head of the estates administration team.

Based at our Hornby office, Peter has an extensive general practice with an emphasis on estate administration and litigation, relationship property agreements and litigation, wills, enduring powers of attorney, and residential property conveyancing. He also has significant experience in rural legal matters, in particular, the dairying and chicken farming industries.

With a relaxed, friendly approach, Peter relates to a wide range of people, and is able to help individuals to solve any legal issues they may face. Relationship property makes up around half of Peter’s practice. He is known for being calm and pragmatic as he helps clients navigate what can be emotionally-charged situations.

Peter is well organised, likes to keep a tidy office, and enjoys using technology to communicate with his clients.

Outside of the office, Peter likes to keep up with world affairs, and each day reads international newspapers and journals on the bus to and from work. He also enjoys spending time with his German Shepherd dog, spending time tramping in the great outdoors, has held management and administration roles in football (both at club and regional level), and regularly writes poetry.

Peter specialises in the following areas:

What Peter’s clients say

“I am so pleased that I chose Saunders & Co for all my legal requirements. I have found that they are very professional and a pleasure to deal with.”
Marie Hansen

“The team that assisted me during my relationship split, proved to be professional and went above and beyond to assist me. They made the process as simple as they possible could, they also showed empathy during a very stressful time.”
Logan Gianelly

We would just like to thank you for all your assistance in the whole process of buying our first home. It was not smooth but with your help it was made easy. We’d be very happy to recommend you to family and friends in the future. We will be in touch if we need your service again.”
Dennis Demanawa and Marie Bulaong

“We were very pleased with Peter’s help in understanding our options and are pleased to now have a local Hornby contact for legal advice in the area of commercial debt recovery. We appreciated his prompt attention to questions and advice.”
Heather Ruddle, Prestige Commercial Vehicles

“Thank you to both of you Peter and Jennifer, for the sensitive way in which you managed to navigate our issues. I acknowledge you were often placed in an uncompromising position needing to deal with our emotional frustrations and sometimes angry outbursts. With your patient guidance and understanding we have now reached an amicable outcome.”
R Naida Glavish ONZM JP, Co-Chair Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua

 

 

 

Locations:

CBD: 131 Victoria Street, Christchurch, NZ

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

Hornby: 5 Goulding Avenue, Christchurch, NZ

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