Polly Pope


Litigation/Restructuring & Insolvency


Polly is one of New Zealand's leading commercial disputes lawyers. She has been instructed in several of New Zealand's most significant disputes. Her areas of interest include class actions, financial regulatory enforcement, construction and projects, and restructuring and insolvency. Her client list includes a number of New Zealand’s largest listed companies, multinational corporations, major trading banks and financial institutions, and public sector organisations. Polly was appointed Chair of Russell McVeagh's Partnership in 2021.

Polly also accepts instructions as an arbitrator. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) and of the Arbitrator's and Mediator's Institute of New Zealand, and a recipient of the Sir Ronald Davison Award for excellence in arbitral award writing.

"Her technical ability is second to none, and her ability to distil the complex into the easy to digest is unparalleled. Her manner in tough negotiations is also a real skill. In Polly, you know you have a lawyer that is your best chance of getting a good outcome." -  Chambers and Partners, Asia Pacific Guide 2023.

"Polly's attention to detail is second to none. She is a strong advocate who ensures strong outcomes." - Chambers and Partners, Asia Pacific Guide 2022.

"Polly is a highly respective lawyer across the industry"­ Legal 500, Asia Pacific Guide 2020.


Polly is instructed in a range of high-stakes disputes for commercial parties. Her particular areas of interest include:

  • Class Actions and Commercial Disputes: As class actions become increasingly important in New Zealand, Polly is winning instructions in both current and threatened class actions. Polly frequently advises and acts in matters concerning commercial contracts, disputes arising out of M&A transactions, and claims in negligence.

  • Financial Regulatory Disputes and Investigations: Polly has acted for entities subject to investigations and enquiries by the Financial Markets Authority, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Commerce Commission, NZX, and offshore financial regulators.

  • Construction and Projects Disputes: Polly has acted as counsel in confidential arbitrations and adjudications under construction contracts, and in negligence and tort claims. Her clients include principals, financiers, contractors, subcontractors and consultants. She has acted in international commercial arbitrations relating to major infrastructure projects, domestic arbitrations, adjudications, mediations and High Court proceedings concerning commercial and large-scale residential, and maritime projects.

  • Insolvency and Restructuring: Polly acts for receivers, liquidators, voluntary administrators, and creditors. She has also acted in several of New Zealand's most significant solvent corporate reorganisations, takeovers, and returns of capital by way of scheme of arrangement under Part XV of the Companies Act 1993.


LLB (Hons First Class), University of Otago
MIR (Distinction), Victoria University of Wellington
Member, Society for Construction Law
Member, Restructuring, Insolvency and Turnaround Association of New Zealand


Polly is a member of the Arbitration Panel and Adjudication List of the Arbitrators', Mediators' Institute of New Zealand, Global Women, and acts as an Adjudicator for the Building Disputes Tribunal. 

She is an experienced advocate, and a member of the faculty of the New Zealand Law Society's Litigation Skills Course. Polly is co-author of the Consumer Credit, Laws of New Zealand (LexisNexis); editor, arbitration chapters of Sim's Court Practice (LexisNexis); co-author, The Practitioner's Guide to Global Investigations 2020 New Zealand Chapter (Global Investigations Review); and co-author, ICLG: Class and Group Actions 2020 - New Zealand (Global Legal Group).

Polly is recognised by Chambers and Partners Asia-Pacific 2023 Guide for both Restructuring and Insolvency and Dispute Resolution. The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022 Guide has listed her as a 'Leading Individual' in Restructuring and Insolvency, and Real Estate and Construction. Polly is recognised as 'Highly Regarded' by IFLR1000 2022 for Restructuring and Insolvency.

Polly is also recognised in Litigation, Insolvency and Reorganisation Law in New Zealand by Best Lawyers® 2024 Guide, and is recommended for Construction, Projects & Infrastructure law and Insolvency and Restructuring law in the peer-nominated Doyles Guide 2021. Polly is recognised a 'Litigation Star' in Benchmark Litigation's 2022 Guide and won best in Restructuring and Insolvency at the 2021 Asia Women in Business Law Awards.

Polly was admitted to practise in New Zealand in 1999 and in England and Wales in 2003. Polly gained international experience in the international arbitration and litigation teams of the leading global firms Debevoise & Plimpton and Clifford Chance.

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