Employment Law

The ADLS Employment Law Committee represents practitioners in regular meetings with judges, mediators, Government departments and other employment-related institutions such as trade unions. Committee Members regularly publish articles and the Committee runs a full programme of events including the “Burning Issues” seminars, the Employment Law dinner and various conferences. It is one of the biggest and most vibrant ADLS committees and attracts lawyers with a passion for all aspects of employment law.

The Employment Law Committee is comprised of practitioners whose practice is largely or solely involved with employment law. Members are typically practitioners from the large law firms, smaller and boutique firms, and barristers. The Committee meets monthly and sub-committees that have been assigned tasks by the Committee meet as required for the specific tasks assigned. 


  • To identify and discuss issues and bring these to the attention of the relevant organisations and bodies, e.g. Employment Court, Employment Relations Authority, Mediation Service, Government departments. 
  • To promote regular communication between ADLS practitioners and the judiciary, tribunal members, mediators and other stakeholders. 


Any and all issues concerning the administration and procedures of the employment law judicial and legislative organisations. 

The Committee meets annually with senior representatives of the Employment Court, Employment Relations Authority and Mediation Services to discuss topics of interest relating to each of those bodies. Items of general interest are reported in LawNews. 

The Committee assists with the planning and organisation of the ADLS Employment Law Conference, which has been held annually in recent years. The Committee also assists in the planning and organisation of other seminars, including the annual Burning Issues in Employment Law Forum which is always well-attended by those who specialise in employment law. 

The Committee also provides the means by which practitioners are brought together at a social level. A Bar dinner is held each year for practitioners having a particular interest in employment law. These are usually attended by Judges of the Employment Court and others with an interest in this area of law, and this annual event has proved very popular. The Committee also hosts other functions to mark special occasions, e.g. a Bar dinner on the retirement of the former Chief Judge of the Employment Court. 

Input from Profession: 
We encourage fellow members to channel their suggestions or concerns through the Secretary for the Committee, the Convenor for the Committee or fellow Committee members.


Catherine Stewart (Convenor)

Catherine is an employment lawyer with over 25 years' experience and specialises in all areas of employment law including disputes, mediation and appearances before the Employment Relations Authority, Employment Court and Court of Appeal. She joined the independent bar in 2012 having held senior roles in employment law at law firms prior to then.

Phone 021 500 768 - Email catherine@catherinestewart.co.nz
Copeland Ashcroft Law - Tauranga Branch

Kate Ashcroft

Kate has specialised in employment and health and safety throughout her career, and acts for employers across a range of industries throughout New Zealand, giving strategic, compliance and best practice advice on non-contentious matters as well as providing representation in disputes, and conducting independent investigations.

Phone 07 577 8661 - Email kate.ashcroft@copelandashcroft.co.nz
Bell Gully

Elizabeth Coates

Phone 09 916 8800 - Email liz.coats@bellgully.com

Graeme Colgan

Graeme has practiced employment law under 4 distinct legislative regimes since 1976 and, after 28 years as a judge, has returned to practice as a barrister and employment law specialist undertaking mediations, arbitrations, general advisory work and independent workplace investigations.

Phone 021 926 524 - Email graeme@colgan.nz
Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern)

Matthew Dearing

Matt has been with the legal team at the Employers’ and Manufactures’ Association (Northern) Inc. since 2011. He previously worked exclusively for employers in Christchurch before that, as Legal Advisor to the Broadcasting Standards Authority. Matt holds a Master of Laws and was admitted in 2005.

Phone 09 367 0900 - Email matthew.dearing@ema.co.nz

Maria Dew QC

Specialising in employment law, Maria acts for both employers and senior employees and is regularly involved in advice and advocacy on a full range of employment issues. Maria has been a speaker at both the NZLS and ADLS conferences and is an AMINZ and LEADR qualified mediator and Independent Investigator.

Phone 09 307 5251 - Email maria@mariadew.co.nz
Air New Zealand Limited

Nikki Donnelly

Phone 09 336 2400 - Email nikki.donnelly@airnz.co.nz

Mark Donovan

Mark Donovan is a barrister specialising in employment-related matters and disputes, including mediation, appearances before the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment Court, and advising on employment agreements, as well as acting in relation to other civil disputes, including liquidations, restraints of trade, confidential information and regulatory investigations.

Phone 09 550 9854 - Email mail@markdonovan.co.nz
Kensington Swan

Anthony Drake

Phone 09 379 4196 - Email anthony.drake@kensingtonswan.com
LangtonHudsonButcher Lawyers

Angela Evans

Phone 09 916 2595 - Email aevans@lhb.co.nz

Helen Gilbert

Phone 09 912 9245 - Email helen@hgilbert.co.nz
Simpson Grierson

Rachael Judge

Phone 09 358 2222 - Email rachael.judge@simpsongrierson.com
Buddle Findlay

Merepaia King

Phone 09 363 1348 - Email mere.king@buddlefindlay.com
Kiely Thompson Caisley

Simon Lapthorne

Phone 09 366 5161 - Email lapthorne@ktc.co.nz
SBM Legal

Matthew McGoldrick

Phone 09 520 8700 - Email matthew@sbmlegal.co.nz
E tu Incorporated

Anne-Marie McInally

Phone 09 303 9000 - Email anne-marie.mcinally@etu.nz
Garry Pollak & Co Ltd

Garry Pollak

Phone 09 302 2117 - Email gpollak@garrypollak.co.nz
Workplace Law

Margaret Robins

Phone 09 631 5553 - Email mrobins@workplacelaw.co.nz
Air New Zealand

Astrid Sandberg

Astrid is a Senior Workplace Relations Manager at Air New Zealand, specialising in employment law. Astrid has worked both in-house and in private practice in the UK and Germany, and prior to that at Russell McVeagh in Auckland. Astrid has a BA/LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland and a Masters in Law from the University of Cambridge.

Email astrid.sandberg@airnz.co.nz
Anjela Sharma Barrister & Solicitor

Anjela Sharma

Phone 09 375 8700 - Email anjela.sharma@xtra.co.nz
Hesketh Henry

Jodi Sharman

Jodi Sharman is a Senior Associate in the Employment Law team at Hesketh Henry. Jodi holds a Master of Laws, was admitted in 2008 and has since gained considerable experience in working with employees, employers and unions on a range of employment law matters and litigation issues.

Phone 09 375 7637 - Email jodi.sharman@heskethhenry.co.nz
Queens Counsel

Philip Skelton QC

Philip Skelton is a barrister at Bankside Chambers specialising in employment law and general litigation. Prior to joining the independent bar in 2006, Philip was a partner at Russell McVeagh for 14 years during which he was head of that firm’s Employment Law and General litigation practice groups.

Phone 09 307 9966 - Email philip@philipskelton.co.nz
11 May 2018

Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Bill

Submission to the Education and Workforce Select Committee on the Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Bill

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30 Mar 2018

Employment Relations Amendment Bill

Submission to the Education and Workforce Select Committee on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill

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27 Oct 2017

Employment Court - Costs Guidelines

Submission to Chief Judge Inglis on the Employment Court Costs Guidelines

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19 Jul 2013

Employment Relations Amendment Bill

Submission to the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee.

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02 Nov 2012

Civil Fees Review: A public consultation paper

A submission to the Ministry of Justice on the discussion document: Civil Fees Review, specifically the section on Employment Court fee proposals

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