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.

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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.
  • Defending a claim for an employer against an employee in the Employment Relations Authority for breach of non-solicitation of trade clauses.

Get further advice from

Andrew Riches


Direct dial: +64-3-963 1457
Mobile: 021 982 115
Assistant: Donna Lake
Office: CBD

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

I undertake a wide variety of civil work in the District and High Court jurisdictions, and am also well versed in employment and criminal law. I have appeared as lead counsel in the Court of Appeal on civil and criminal appeals and appear regularly in the District and High Courts on these matters. I have 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.

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

I enjoy all aspects of this process, from researching and developing an argument around a case, to court work, which gets me out of the office and challenges me to think on my feet.

I am a Member of the Law Council of the Canterbury branch of the New Zealand Law Society.

I specialise in the following areas:

What My 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


Direct dial: +64 3 265 0312
Mobile: 022 589 7224
Office: CBD

I joined the litigation team at Saunders & Co in 2017, shortly after completing a degree in Master of Laws (with honours). I now assist the team at Saunders with an array of litigation issues including matters relating to criminal and traffic law, insolvency, civil disputes and employment law.

I endeavour to preserve the human aspect in all litigation matters by listening and maintaining meaningful interactions with my clients. I take a pragmatic approach in finding practical solutions to difficult problems. The skills I developed during my Masters degree have ensured I am accomplished in researching and analysing lengthy and complex law in an efficient manner.

I have been in New Zealand since early childhood. I am able to converse in Mandarin and Cantonese and my cultural background means I can easily understand and adapt to different commercial situations or different ways of conducting business.

I am an active member of the New Zealand Chinese Association and enjoy organising social and professional networking events for the Canterbury Chinese Young Professionals group. I am also an avid volunteer at the Community Law Centre and a regular participant at the local Toastmasters Club.

I specialise in the following areas of law:

Claire McCool

Senior Associate

Direct dial: +643 265 0310
Mobile: 021 885 086
Office: CBD

I joined Saunders & Co as an Associate in 2018.

I am an experienced advocate who takes a pragmatic approach to delivering tailored advice to my clients.

I bring 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.  I also advise on workplace health and safety issues from compliance to prosecutions.

My previous experience as a Crown Prosecutor gives me an added edge when providing advice to clients with respect to investigations and court hearings.

I specialise in the following areas:


Deborah Hendry


Direct Dial: +64 3 066 7706
Mobile: +64 022 153 0220
Office: CBD

I am a Lawyer in the Litigation Team at Saunders & Co, specialising in Employment Law.

After completing a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts (English and French) at the University of Canterbury, I launched my legal career in 2017 and joined Saunders & Co in February 2020.

I have developed a deep passion for Employment Law; be it assisting employees with personal grievances or assisting employers with restructures or disciplinary investigations.

I have represented both employees and employers at disciplinary meetings, mediations and at the Employment Relations Authority. I enjoy problem-solving and developing creative legal arguments to assist clients in achieving their goals.

Though I specialise in Employment Law, I also have experience with Wills, Trusts, Estates, Relationship Property, and Conveyancing, which enables me to assist clients with other areas of their lives in addition to their employment issues.

I am a member of the NZLS Canterbury-Westland Branch Employment Law Committee and the Canterbury Women’s Legal Association.

Outside of work you’ll find me at the gym, caring for my various exotic pets and singing my heart out in choirs, bands or at church.

I specialise in the following areas:

Kelly Jamieson

Senior Lawyer

Direct Dial: +64 3 265 0918
Mobile: +64 022 046 5579


Office: Hornby

I joined Saunders & Co as a Senior Solicitor in March 2020.

I am an experienced Employment Lawyer.  I have a passion for Employment Law particularly, because it touches and concerns all of us.

I assist both employees and employers in all areas of Employment Law practice, including personal grievance matters, redundancy/restructuring, drafting employment agreements, disciplinary investigations, and representing clients at mediation.

I have a range of commercial experience having worked as a tax adjudicator in Inland Revenue, private practice in New Zealand and as an in-house legal counsel (involved in commercial intellectual property and franchising) in Australia.  From my previous legal roles and private business interests, I have vast experience in business purchase/sales, leases, franchise matters and residential property purchase/sales.

My personal style is a combination of practical advice and technical expertise to both employers and employees alike.

You will find me down to earth and approachable. I relate well to all that I meet and I am always keen to take on new challenges.

Every client is important to me.

I specialise in the following areas:

What my clients say

“You are the most human lawyer I have ever met.”

Dr Chris Lane


Nicola Coombes


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

I joined Saunders & Co in 2012 soon after my arrival from the UK and became a partner in 2017. I enjoy leading the Ferrymead office with its broad, general practice and family-focused culture. Clients benefit from the smaller office environment and 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 my portfolio, which could include anything from the sale and purchase of homes, commercial buildings and businesses, to leasing, and refinancing. I also assist clients with personal asset planning, trusts, wills and estates, and continue to handle a smaller amount of insurance and earthquake-related work.

I am genuine in my approach and aim to provide prompt efficient service and pragmatic advice, 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 me, with the Ferrymead office assisting a number of community groups and trusts.

I specialise in the following areas:

What My 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


CBD: 131 Victoria Street, Christchurch, NZ

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

Hornby: 5 Goulding Avenue, Christchurch, NZ

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