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Role of the Court

 Q. What is the role of the Employment Court

The Employment Court exists to hear and determine cases relating to employment disputes particularly challenges to determinations of the Employment Relations Authority, questions of interpretation of law, and has first-instance jurisdiction over matters such as strikes and lockouts. 

Q. How can I contact the Employment Court?

The Employment Court Registries are located in Auckland and Wellington.

Q. I have a problem with my employer; where do I start?

The majority of employment related problems should in the first instance be directed to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment who provide services through the Employment Relations Authority and Mediation. Call the Employment Relation Information Centre toll free on 0800 20 90 20 or visit the website for further details.

 If you are not sure whether your application should be commenced in the Court or Authority please contact the office of the Employment Court:

  • Auckland (covering all areas north of a line drawn between New Plymouth, Taupo and Gisborne, including Taupo and Gisborne)  Phone: 09 916 6359 or
  • Wellington (covering all areas south of a line drawn between New Plymouth, Taupo and Gisborne, including New Plymouth)  Phone: 04 918 8800

Q. We might be able to sort the employment relations problem out between us, who should I talk to?

Parties can either settle matters informally or with the help of Mediation Services (a division of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ).  Parties can agree to go to mediation at any time during the Court process.   If you wish to organise mediation please call the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on 0800 20 90 20.  For more information please visit their website.

Q. Will I need an advisor or representative?

As proceedings in the Employment Court are not simple it is wise to have someone with experience to conduct the case.  Unless you are confident and familiar with the workings of employment agreements, legislation and legal procedures it is recommended that you seek advice from a lawyer, union, or employer’s group experienced in advocacy and acquainted with Court procedures.  If you wish to find the lawyer please contact the New Zealand Law Society.

The amount of advice or assistance you will need depends on how complex the problem is.  If you go to an employment advocate or lawyer please note that you should be very clear in your instructions to them on

  •     What work you want them to do and
  •     How much you can pay them. 

Q. I can’t afford a lawyer, what do I do? 

You may qualify for legal aid so you can have a lawyer to represent you.  Community groups, for example the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Legal Service Agency or your local community law centre can help you in this regard.

If you chose to represent yourself you can access our forms under the heading Forms and Filing Fees on the left hand side of our website.  In case you experience any difficulty with downloading the documents please contact the court staff.

Note please that although the court staff will be able to provide some basic instructions with the documents that need to be filed, they cannot give legal advice to parties.

While representing yourself you must observe the rules relating to the procedure in the same way as all other parties.  That may require you to do some research of the legislation and regulations.  It is imperative that the time limits prescribed in the legislation and regulations and any time limits ordered by the Court be strictly followed.

You must provide an address for service where documents can be posted or delivered.  If you change that address you must notify the Court and all other parties.