Samuels v Employment Relations Authority [2018] NZEmpC 138

EMPLOYMENT COURT – Standing to bring judicial review – Whether breach of natural justice grounds for judicial review

The applicant was an employment law advocate who represented an employee in the Employment Relations Authority. The employee’s personal grievance claim was successful and costs were sought. When awarding costs, the Authority commented that the applicant was an unregulated advocate and therefore did not have the expenses and obligations of his “qualified and registered” counterparts.

The applicant claimed that this implied he was unqualified and therefore had the potential to cause harm to his reputation and impact on his business interests. The applicant said he had no opportunity to address the statements on his qualification. The applicant sought to bring a judicial review on the grounds that natural justice had been breached. At issue was whether the applicant had grounds to bring judicial review proceedings.

The Employment Court held that s 184 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 did not exclude judicial review on the grounds of natural justice (see para 28). The Authority’s determination was challengeable by the employee, but the employee did not want to challenge. The applicant was not a party to the original proceedings and could not challenge the determination (see para 41). Therefore, s 184(1A)(b) did not apply. Because other avenues were closed to the applicant, a judicial review could be brought for the alleged breach of natural justice.

The applicant had standing to bring judicial review.

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Page last revised: 13 November 2018