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  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.