Sarah Armstrong

Profile

Sarah is an award-winning litigation specialist with over two decades of experience advising on a wide range of commercial disputes, both in New Zealand and in the UK. Prior to joining the bar this year, Sarah was a partner in Russell McVeagh’s litigation practice for 12 years where she served in the role of head of the national litigation group between 2014-2016 and more recently in 2019.  Sarah specialises in litigation strategy, company and securities law and tax disputes, banking and financial regulatory investigations and litigation, company schemes of arrangement, complex contract and tort claims, insurance, product liability, intellectual property, competition and fair trading.

Profile

Sarah is an award-winning litigation specialist with over two decades of experience advising on a wide range of commercial disputes, both in New Zealand and in the UK. Prior to joining the bar this year, Sarah was a partner in Russell McVeagh’s litigation practice for 12 years where she served in the role of head of the national litigation group between 2014-2016 and more recently in 2019.  Sarah specialises in litigation strategy, company and securities law and tax disputes, banking and financial regulatory investigations and litigation, company schemes of arrangement, complex contract and tort claims, insurance, product liability, intellectual property, competition and fair trading.

Profile

Sarah is an award-winning litigation specialist with over two decades of experience advising on a wide range of commercial disputes, both in New Zealand and in the UK. Prior to joining the bar this year, Sarah was a partner in Russell McVeagh’s litigation practice for 12 years where she served in the role of head of the national litigation group between 2014-2016 and more recently in 2019.  Sarah specialises in litigation strategy, company and securities law and tax disputes, banking and financial regulatory investigations and litigation, company schemes of arrangement, complex contract and tort claims, insurance, product liability, intellectual property, competition and fair trading.

Additional information

Case History
  • Co-counsel for the Earthquake Commission in the now resolved 'test case' relating to on-sold properties – Gibling and ors v EQC – and 55 other related proceedings/claims.
  • Lead counsel for Trade Me in New Zealand's largest takeover by scheme of arrangement in 2019.  
  • Lead counsel for multinational primary industry participant in significant commercial litigation with shareholder - Rayonier Canterbury LLC v Waimarie Forests Pty Limited and Phaunos Timber Fund Limited.
  • Co-counsel for Provident Insurance in taxpayer challenge proceeding against Commissioner of Inland Revenue relating to the financial services exemption under the GST Act - Provident Insurance Company Limited v CIR CIV 2018-404-1199 [2019] NZHC 995.
  • Advising a New Zealand retail bank in a 2017 conduct investigation through to resolution.
  • Acted for a leading international insurer in a legal challenge to the Commerce Commission's decision not to approve a takeover offer for another insurer.
  • Lead counsel in High Court proceedings involving Fair Trading Act allegations between competitors in the NZ timber industry over the labelling of Laminated Veneer Lumber products – Red Stag Timber Limited v Juken New Zealand Limited, CIV2017-404-2753 [2018] NZHC 2459.
  • Acting for Spark on successful urgent interim orders application in relation to the NZCC clearance process for a proposed $3.4 billion Sky TV/Vodafone New Zealand merger.
  • Lead counsel for Trustpower Limited in its application to the High Court to effect a $3.8 billion demerger. Re Trustpower Ltd [2016] NZHC 1838 and Re Trustpower Ltd [2016] NZHC 2499.
  • Acting for Siemens in a breach of contract and intellectual property claim against Contact Energy and GE in relation to the sale of electricity turbine (General Electric International Inc v Siemens (N.Z.) Ltd [2016] NZCA 591).
  • Co-counsel for Trustpower Limited in its dispute with the Commissioner of Inland Revenue over the deductibility of expenditure associated with the development of wind and hydro generation projects (Trustpower Limited v Commissioner of Inland Revenue [2014] 2 NZLR 502; see ‘A question of power’, New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, February 2014) and subsequent appeal hearings in the Court of Appeal in 2015 [2015] 3 NZLR 658 and the Supreme Court in 2016 [2017] 1 NZLR 155.
  • Co-counsel for defendant in Bambury v Jensen CIV-2013-404-004230 [2015] NZHC 2384, Fogarty J.

Documents
  • Co-counsel for the Earthquake Commission in the now resolved 'test case' relating to on-sold properties – Gibling and ors v EQC – and 55 other related proceedings/claims.
  • Lead counsel for Trade Me in New Zealand's largest takeover by scheme of arrangement in 2019.  
  • Lead counsel for multinational primary industry participant in significant commercial litigation with shareholder - Rayonier Canterbury LLC v Waimarie Forests Pty Limited and Phaunos Timber Fund Limited.
  • Co-counsel for Provident Insurance in taxpayer challenge proceeding against Commissioner of Inland Revenue relating to the financial services exemption under the GST Act - Provident Insurance Company Limited v CIR CIV 2018-404-1199 [2019] NZHC 995.
  • Advising a New Zealand retail bank in a 2017 conduct investigation through to resolution.
  • Acted for a leading international insurer in a legal challenge to the Commerce Commission's decision not to approve a takeover offer for another insurer.
  • Lead counsel in High Court proceedings involving Fair Trading Act allegations between competitors in the NZ timber industry over the labelling of Laminated Veneer Lumber products – Red Stag Timber Limited v Juken New Zealand Limited, CIV2017-404-2753 [2018] NZHC 2459.
  • Acting for Spark on successful urgent interim orders application in relation to the NZCC clearance process for a proposed $3.4 billion Sky TV/Vodafone New Zealand merger.
  • Lead counsel for Trustpower Limited in its application to the High Court to effect a $3.8 billion demerger. Re Trustpower Ltd [2016] NZHC 1838 and Re Trustpower Ltd [2016] NZHC 2499.
  • Acting for Siemens in a breach of contract and intellectual property claim against Contact Energy and GE in relation to the sale of electricity turbine (General Electric International Inc v Siemens (N.Z.) Ltd [2016] NZCA 591).
  • Co-counsel for Trustpower Limited in its dispute with the Commissioner of Inland Revenue over the deductibility of expenditure associated with the development of wind and hydro generation projects (Trustpower Limited v Commissioner of Inland Revenue [2014] 2 NZLR 502; see ‘A question of power’, New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, February 2014) and subsequent appeal hearings in the Court of Appeal in 2015 [2015] 3 NZLR 658 and the Supreme Court in 2016 [2017] 1 NZLR 155.
  • Co-counsel for defendant in Bambury v Jensen CIV-2013-404-004230 [2015] NZHC 2384, Fogarty J.

Publications and Seminars
  • NZLS CLE seminar on ‘Injunctions, interim orders & emergency relief’, 2018, Tim Stephens and Sarah Armstrong
Professional Activities

Sarah was named 'Disputes Star of the Year' for New Zealand at the Asialaw Asia-Pacific Dispute Resolution Awards 2017, was selected as a finalist in 2018, and is a four-time winner of the New Zealand Litigation Lawyer of the Year award at the ILO Client Choice Awards, for which lawyers can only be nominated by clients (winning in 2019, 2017, 2016 and 2014).   She is also recognised as a leading individual by a number of publications, including Chambers and Partners Asia Pacific, Asia Pacific Legal 500 and Best Lawyers International 2018. In 2017, she was also recognised as a finalist in the 'Best in Dispute Resolution' category at the Euromoney Legal Media Group Asia Women in Business Law Awards.


Outside her professional roles, Sarah has served as an elected member of the NZLS Auckland Branch Committee from 2016 to 2018, is a regular contributor to CPD trainings and is a non-executive director of a private investment group focused on telecommunications, technology, utilities and media.  Sarah was one of the founding partners of Russell McVeagh’s homework club programme at Glen Taylor school in Glen Innes.


  • Partner, Russell McVeagh (Auckland), 2007 - 2019
  • Senior Solicitor and Senior Associate, Russell McVeagh (Auckland), 2005-2007
  • Associate, Hogan Lovells (London), 2000-2003
  • Law Clerk and Solicitor, Bell Gully (Auckland), 1996-1999

Qualifications

LLB (Hons) (Auck) 1995

Year admitted (NZ) 1996
Year admitted (Eng & Wales) 2002

Partner (Russell McVeagh, AKL):  2007-2019

Barrister Sole: 2020

Sarah
Armstrong
sarah.armstrong@shortlandchambers.co.nz
+64 21 337 200
+64 9 306 2784
Shortland Chambers