Bronagh McKenna Barrister

Contact Bronagh


+64 27 4556 412


Postal Address

PO Box 65 222
Auckland 0630

Bronagh McKenna


Bronagh is an experienced litigator, with particular expertise in public law, human rights and international law. Over two decades of legal experience, she has acted for government, international organisations, and blue-chip corporates. Bronagh is known as a responsive and trusted adviser who can deliver results, however sensitive or complex the issue.

Bronagh has regularly appeared in the High Court and Court of Appeal.

Before joining the bar, Bronagh was a Crown Counsel in the Crown Law Office’s Constitutional and Human Rights team. She advised government departments and other Crown agencies on a wide range of matters including the exercise of statutory powers, compliance with administrative law duties, the scope of rights under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, the extent of New Zealand’s international law obligations and their domestic implementation, and inquiry-related issues.

Bronagh’s international experience spans both the criminal and commercial spheres. It includes over seven years as a prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague, prosecuting genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Bronagh has also practised as a competition lawyer with premier London law firm Slaughter and May.

Bronagh is a skilled oral advocate, an expert drafter, and can be relied on for her strategic judgement.


LLB, Trinity College Dublin, 1999
LLM, International Law, Cambridge University, 2000
Admitted as Solicitor of the High Court of England and Wales, 2004
Admitted as Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, 2016

Orewa Community Church & Ors v Minister for COVID-19 Response [2022] NZHC 2026 – Represented the Minister for COVID-19 Response and the Ministry of Health in a judicial review regarding whether the government’s COVID-19 traffic light framework breached the right to manifest religion under s 15 of NZBORA.

Wallace v Attorney-General [2022] NZCA 375 – Represented New Zealand Police in defending a claim for damages for an alleged breach of an individual’s right to life following a Police killing.

Newton v Family Court in Auckland [2022] NZCA 207 – Represented the Attorney-General prosecuting an appeal by the Family Court in judicial review proceedings, raising important issues of family law and Family Court practice, including the scope of the child’s right to be heard under the Care of Children Act 2004.

Kerr v Police [2020] NZCA 245 – Represented the Ministry of Justice as intervener in a criminal appeal, involving whether the Police Detention Legal Assistance (PDLA) service breached the defendant’s right to consult and instruct a lawyer under s 23 of NZBORA.

Richards v New Zealand CAT/C/73/D/934/2019 – Represented the New Zealand government in a complaint under the UN Convention Against Torture.

Provided advice to Ministers, often on an urgent basis, regarding the human rights implications of measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Advised government on inquiry-related issues, including advising the Attorney-General on the establishment of the Operation Burnham Inquiry into a number of serious allegations against New Zealand Defence Force personnel operating in Afghanistan.

Represented the Department of Corrections in a number of actions brought under NZBORA.

Acted for the Attorney-General in his capacity as protector of charities in various matters relating to charitable trusts.

Prosecuted cases brought against various political and military leaders in the former Yugoslavia, including Prosecutor v Radovan Karadžić, in which the political leader of the Bosnian Serbs was prosecuted for crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Advised British Airways on its response to European Commission and UK Office of Fair Trading investigations into airline cargo and passenger fare cartels.