Specializing in all areas of employment law, Catherine has around 25 years’ experience as an employment and litigation lawyer. She joined the independent bar as a barrister sole in 2012, having held senior roles in employment law including at partnership level in a major city firm. She also has significant experience in civil and commercial litigation.
Catherine has successfully argued many high profiles cases, including recent notable cases such as:
- 2019 - acting as counsel for employee in precedent-setting Employment Court case where employer was injuncted from dismissing employee during the period of an interim reinstatement order;
- 2019 - acting as counsel for employer in case where large penalties awarded against employee for multiple breaches of good faith, despite flaws in redundancy process;
- 2018 - resolution of longstanding dispute involving a senior employee's serious misconduct dismissal, resulting in consent orders made by the Employment Court;
- 2017 - an Employment Court case for an unfair redundancy and unpaid bonus resulting in awards of lost wages, compensation and bonus being paid to her client together with a record costs award;
- 2017 - defending a restaurant chain in proceedings brought by the Labour Inspector in the Employment Relations Authority resulting in zero penalties;
- 2017 - the defence in the Court of Appeal in relation to strike-out and discovery issues;
- 2017 - a leave application in the Court of Appeal for a constructive dismissal case;
- 2017 - an Employment Court case which upheld her client's challenge to the other party's objections to discovery and ordered disclosure of human resources files in relation to "disparity of treatment" conduct;
- 2016 - an unjustified dismissal case in the Employment Relations Authority resulting in reinstatement of her client to his former role;
- 2015 - the defence of a wide range of claims against her client in the Employment Court including breach of contract, breach of good faith and fidelity and breach of employment agreement;
- 2014 - a Court of Appeal case overturning a prior costs decision in longstanding and complex litigation spanning both the civil and employment jurisdictions.
Catherine also won a landmark case on stress in the workplace in the Employment Court, and argued a landmark case on freedom of association for which she was appointed "amica curiae" (adviser to the Court) by the Employment Court and the Court of Appeal.
Catherine holds a Bachelor of Laws with Honours and a Bachelor of Arts in languages. She was admitted to the bar of the High Court of New Zealand in 1990.
A regular presenter and writer on topical employment law issues, Catherine is a member of the New Zealand Bar Association, the New Zealand Law Society, the Auckland District Law Society Inc. and is a committee member of the Auckland Association of Workplace Investigators. Catherine is the Convenor of the Auckland District Law Society Inc. Employment Law Committee, a committee which represents practitioners in regular meetings with Judges, members of the Employment Relations Authority, mediators, Government departments and other employment-related institutions such as trade unions.