Melissa is a Partner in the Dispute Resolution Team at Saunders Robinson Brown. She is also an independent mediator.

Melissa specialises in commercial and civil litigation and has specialist expertise in insurance law. She is also available for appointment as an independent mediator to help parties to resolve their disputes.

Melissa has represented clients in regards to contractual disputes, negligence claims, disputes involving professionals, shareholder disputes, construction disputes and estate claims.  She has particular expertise in insurance law, having acted for both insurers and policyholders, and insolvency. 

She has significant experience in dealing with liability claims, including professional indemnity, public liability and statutory liability claims, as well as insurance claims arising from the Canterbury earthquakes.  She also regularly advises clients on issues relating to personal and corporate insolvency, including advising and representing liquidators.

Melissa has appeared in the Court of Appeal, High Court, District Court, as well as various specialist tribunals.  She has also been involved in numerous arbitrations and mediations, and is an Associate Member of the Arbitrators' and Mediators' Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ). 

She commenced practice in 1997 at a national firm in Christchurch before moving to Auckland in 2001, where she worked for a large national firm and then specialist insurance litigation firms.  Melissa returned to Christchurch in 2009 and continued to work for an Auckland firm leading their Christchurch office. She joined Saunders Robinson Brown in 2014. 

Melissa graduated from the University of Canterbury in 1996 with a Bachelor of Laws with Honours. 

Notable experience

  • Successfully representing the insureds in New Zealand’s leading case on the obligations of insurers relating to remedial works to a damaged property under a house policy (Sleight v Beckia Holdings Ltd [2020] NZHC 2851).

  • Representing a group of investors in a failed finance company in opposition to an application made by the liquidators in the High Court.

  • Advising liquidators on legal issues arising out of liquidations, including acting for liquidators in High Court proceedings against shareholders in relation to shareholder debts.

  • Acting for policyholders in disputes with their insurers relating to damage to property and financial loss as a result of the Canterbury earthquakes.

  • Acting for clients involved in claims relating to defective work to property, including weathertightness issues.

  • Acting for parties involved in estate disputes.

  • Acting for clients involved in shareholder disputes.

  • Acting in professional negligence claims.

  • Acting for clients involved in contractual disputes, including disputes arising from the sale and purchase of property and caveats.

  • Advising clients involved in regulatory investigations, prosecutions and disciplinary proceedings.


  • Associate Member of the Arbitrators' and Mediators' Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ).

  • Member of the New Zealand Insurance Law Association National Committee.

  • Member of the Institute of Directors New Zealand.

  • Member of the New Zealand Law Society.

  • Member of the Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association of New Zealand (RITANZ).

  • Member of the Canterbury Women's Legal Association (CWLA).

  • Board member of the Justitia Mutual Association Incorporated.