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Catherine Stewart

Who is Catherine Stewart?

About Catherine

Specialising 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:

  • 2017 - an Employment Court case for an unfair redundancy which granted the highest award for compensation for unjustified dismissal in recent times;
  • 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;
  • 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 and the Auckland District Law Society Inc. 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.

Catherine Stewart