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Sinclair Black Entertainment Lawyer Auckland New Zealand

Mick Sinclair 
LLB (Auckland)
(London School of Economics)


With over 30 years in the entertainment industry, Mick is one of New Zealand’s most experienced entertainment law specialists. As the original founder of Sinclair Black in 1989 and the author of "The Laws of New Zealand: Recreation and Entertainment", he has unrivalled experience in negotiating and drafting agreements in the entertainment, media and sports industries; and in providing legal advice and opinions on the commercial and intellectual property issues that are unique to these fields. Prior to founding Sinclair Black, Mick worked primarily in civil litigation, and has continued in specialist areas of litigation such as intellectual property, defamation and privacy. As a result, he is well skilled in assisting clients to resolve disputes by alternative means to litigation, or alternatively, finding the best court lawyers.


As an active member of New Zealand’s arts and entertainment scene, Mick is on the Board of SPADA (screen producers association), He was previously on the boards of The International Comedy Festival, Black Grace Dance Group and the Going West Literary Festival.  He has also advised the governing bodies of the Film Technicians, Cinematographers and Directors Guilds, Advertising Producers Association and leading Arts and Recreational Sports organisations.


Whether negotiating or drafting agreements, structuring projects, providing IP advice and clarifying legal issues; or even linking clients to years of entertainment, government or legal contacts; Mick aspires to  a clear and pragmatic approach to resolving legal issues “on time and on budget”.


Melanie Chuter
BA/LLB Hons (Victoria)

Mel has a breadth of experience as a film and television lawyer, gained over a 15-year career in New Zealand and the UK. Following a BA/LLB (first class honours) from Victoria University, Wellington, she has worked as legal and business affairs for the broadcasting funding agency NZ On Air, as well as in-house legal for one of the UK’s largest TV production, distribution and talent management companies and for Paramount Pictures International’s acquisition and co-production business. This gives her unique experience navigating complex local and international production projects. 


Mel joined Sinclair Black in 2014. She works with clients on all matters from early development and funding of their projects, through to production and distribution as well as general intellectual property matters. Mel enjoys working through commercial and legal challenges facing emerging producers, creatives and charitable entities, and when not “lawyering” or watching films is kept busy by three children and their dog, gardening,  fishing and a lot of time on Auckland’s east coast beaches.


Christy Whelan
LLB/BA (Auckland)


After completing an LLB / BA at Auckland University, Christy worked as a solicitor at Russell McVeagh before moving to sports law firm CottSport (where he represented NZ Cricket and the NZ Rugby Union). He first joined Sinclair Black at the end of 2011 and has since held various roles in the music & media industry in NZ (Head of Music Licensing & Creation at Les Mills International, Chairman of indie label association IMNZ) and in the UK where he spent 5 years representing record labels & rights holders and working with global brands, broadcasters, promoters, platforms and talent as senior legal counsel for the BPI, BRIT Awards and Mercury Prize.


Christy has returned to Sinclair Black in 2022 bringing with him a global perspective and broad base of commercial & legal experience. His enthusiasm, creativity and approachable style enables him to deal efficiently and effectively with a wide range of clients and their legal issues, and when he finds the time, he continues his passion for playing music as a songwriter and musician.

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