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Emma Moran (Sweet)

Emma Moran stands out for her clear thinking and clear articulation of the issues, and an ability to cut through to the key points.
Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2023

Emma is an experienced commercial litigator who advises clients and resolves disputes in sectors including public law, insurance, and life sciences. 

She has appeared as counsel before all levels of New Zealand courts, in specialist tribunals and commercial arbitration.  As a solutions-focussed advocate who is proficient in all forms of alternative dispute resolution, Emma is adept at resolving disputes outside of the judicial process. 

She has cutting edge regulatory expertise and experience working across borders with clients including insurers, investment funds and financial services providers, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, and government entities. 

Emma specialises in advising clients on the interface between their public and private law obligations. Her practice is dynamic, agile, and nimble. She routinely grapples with new and novel legal issues as they emerge. 

Emma is the New Zealand Life Sciences sector lead, advising domestic and international clients on complex regulatory matters in the sector — including in relation to healthcare regulation medicinal cannabis, therapeutic claims, and medical devices. Emma's medico-legal experience includes appearances at coronial inquest hearings.

As head of the New Zealand firm's Public Law practice, Emma acts for numerous local authorities and has in in-depth knowledge of key local government legislation. She regularly advises on governance and decision-making, electoral services, rating issues and all aspects of public law.

Professional QualificationsBarrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, 2008


  • Acted for Make It 16 Inc in its ground-breaking, successful human rights challenge to the New Zealand Supreme Court seeking declarations that the current voting age is inconsistent with the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of age (pro bono). 
  • Obtained a scheme of arrangement under Part 15 of the Companies Act in respect of a licensed insurer and variable annuity provider enabling it to sell assets in a statutory fund and cancel policies (Re Lifetime Income Ltd [2022] NZHC 810].
  • Appeared for an interested party in two public interest based judicial review proceedings challenging the validity of the New Zealand Covid-19 vaccine roll-out.
  • Broad insurance claims experience (both for and against insurers) including in respect of public liability, indemnity, professional negligence, directors and officers, travel and healthcare. 
  • Multiple successful High Court appearances on behalf of Capital & Coast District Health Board concerning a complex multiparty dispute relating to the construction of the $300million+ Wellington Regional Hospital.
  • Successfully appealed an application for judicial review of a decision to decline membership to a professional members’ association necessary to enable a person to practice as a licensed insolvency practitioner (Kamal v Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association of New Zealand Inc [2021] NZCA 514). 
  • Advised a Fortune 500 multinational teledentistry company on all aspects of the New Zealand dental regulatory regime from the initial stages of testing the suitability of the New Zealand market throughout the establishment of the business and ongoing operations. This involved consideration of issues pertaining to therapeutic claims, healthcare regulation and medical devices.
  • Successfully opposed an application for declaratory judgment by New Zealand's largest electricity retailer against the Commissioner of Utilities Disputes concerning the interpretation of the Consumer Guarantees Act and the Commissioner's exercise of discretion and decision-making process (Contact Energy Ltd v Moreau [2018] NZHC 2884).  
  • Successfully appealing a judicial review that has a significant impact on the local government sector (Wellington City Council v Minotaur Custodians Ltd [2017] 3 NZLR 464 (CA)).
  • Advising multinational biopharmaceutical companies operating in the medicinal cannabis sector on the regulatory requirements for importing CBD products (including dietary supplements and/or food products) into New Zealand.
  • Advising multinational entities in the construction sector on the hazardous substances regulatory regime including requirements for product labelling, storage, disposal, transport and advertising. 
  • Victoria University of Wellington, BA (Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations), 2008
  • Victoria University of Wellington, LLB, 2008


Ranked 'Next Generation Partner' in the Legal 500 Asia-Pacific directory for Dispute Resolution and mentioned for Insurance
Ranked 'Up and Coming' in Chambers & Partners Asia-Pacific 2023 directory for Public Law
Named in the Young Influencer category of NZ Lawyer's Most Influential Lawyers list, 2022
Named in LawFuel's Power List of Emerging Litigators as one of 14 'ones to watch' on the litigation front, 2020.  Described by LawFuel as 'The Specialist', the listing quoted a client who said Emma is 'pragmatic and smart'
Finalist, Young Private Practice lawyer, NZ Law Awards, 2020 

Prior Experience

Earlier in her career, Emma gained experience working in-house for a large central government department and in the United Kingdom with time spent conducting civil actions to recover the proceeds of organised crime, including corporate fraud and evasion.

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Director, Justitia Mutual Association Inc
  • Taituarā — Local Government Professionals Aotearoa
  • Society for Construction Law
  • Wellington Women Lawyers Association
  • New Zealand Law Society