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Catherine Stewart

Who is Catherine Stewart?

About Catherine

Specializing in all areas of employment law, Catherine has around 30 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:

  • 2021 - acting as counsel for COVID-19 commentators Shaun Hendy and Siouxsie Wiles in a successful removal application to the Employment Court;
  • 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 NZ Bar Association, the New Zealand Law Society and the Auckland District Law Society. Catherine is a member of the Employment Law and Privacy Committee for the NZ Bar Association and is the Convenor of the Auckland District Law Society 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 can be contacted on:

Landline: 09 215 7564

Mobile: 021 500 768


Catherine Stewart