New Zealand Law Society - Reminder about changes to Employment Court Practice Directions

Reminder about changes to Employment Court Practice Directions

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Employment Court Chief Judge Graeme Colgan says lawyers are reminded about several relatively minor changes to Employment Court Practice Directions.

Chief Judge Colgan says the changes were made as the result of an Employment Court Judges meeting at the end of 2016. His advice is as follows:

Practice Directions Page: The format of the Practice Directions page on the Court's website now simply refers to those Practice Directions which are current and which will be listed with brief descriptions of their subject matter and links to them.

"Amended challenges incorporating costs determinations": The current Practice Direction entitled "Amended challenges incorporating costs determinations" will provide:

"Where a substantive determination of the Authority has been challenged, and a costs determination has subsequently  been issued  by the Authority,  leave is  not  required to file an amended statement of claim expanding the challenge to include the issue of costs, unless the challenge to the costs determination is filed more than 28 days after the Authority's costs  determination. Leave will also  be required  to  file an amended  statement of claim to  a costs determination where  the amended  statement  of claim is  to  be filed less than  30 days before  the allocated  hearing of the challenge."

Pilot Costs Guideline Scale Practice Direction: This has been extended by one year to 1 January 2018. This is to allow more cases to be subject to the guideline, for  a  review in  about  August 2017  of the success in practice  of  this  pilot and,  hopefully, for  at  least  one  judgment  to  illustrate  and explain  it  in operation.

Sealing of judgments: There is now  a new  Practice Direction  dealing with  the sealing  of  judgments in cases where leave to appeal against  an  Employment Court judgment  is  to be  sought from the Court of Appeal. The content of this new Practice Direction has already been circulated to lawyers' organisations although it will also be on the website because it affects also the probably fewer cases brought by unrepresented litigants  or those represented by lay advocates.

GST on costs awards: Although not the subject of a Practice Direction, the  Judges  have  noted  the  recent judgment  of  the Court of Appeal in New Zealand  Venue  and  Event  Management  Ltd v  Worldwide  NZ  LLC [2016] NZCA 282 which deals with GST on costs awards. The Judges take the view that this judgment will guide their practice  in  cases  in which a party entitled to an award of costs is not GST-registered.

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