We are very pleased to announce the new Patron of ELINZ, Graeme Colgan. Graeme’s pedigree and suitability for the role are well-known:
• 1976: graduated LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland;
• 1976 to 1987: practiced as a Barrister and Solicitor in the fields of employment law, family law, criminal law and general civil litigation;
• 1987: practiced as Barrister Sole;
• 1989: appointed as a Judge of the Labour Court of New Zealand (at 35 years of age he was the youngest appointee to that Court);
• 2005: appointed as Chief Judge of the Employment Court;
• 2017: retired from judicial office after 28 years on the bench (the last 12 as the Chief Judge). Graeme is the longest-serving judge of the Employment Court and its predecessors.
Graeme’s experience has also encompassed lecturing to undergraduate and graduate classes at the University of Auckland, Waikato University, Victoria University of Wellington and AUT University in Auckland. He has delivered papers and presentations to numerous New Zealand and overseas employment law conferences. Graeme has lectured at the Royal School for Judges in Cambodia and chaired an ILO project for the reform of the labour laws of Cambodia.
On the role of patron and the future of employment law advocacy, Graeme writes:
“I suppose patrons were traditionally patronising, in the old-school sense and this is how I perceive my role, and certainly not in the modern sense of the word! I see my role as patron to support, quietly and unobtrusively guide, to mentor ELINZ, and to share with it and its members whatever wisdom may have rubbed off on me during in my career. I am honoured to hold this role.
I consider the most important issue for employment law advocacy is to provide the maximum appropriate access to quality justice for all parties to employment disputes. Knowledge (of rights), cost and speed are the three most important elements in accessing fair and dispute resolution in employment matters. Although good self-regulation is the ideal, experience has proved that the maintenance of quality standards and fair cost for disputant parties needs at least a degree of statutory regulation, albeit with practitioner involvement. A strong and effective ELINZ with membership that spans from HR practitioners through lay advocates to specialist employment lawyers and senior counsel, will provide that ‘horses for courses’ need for quality advice and representation in negotiation, mediation and adjudication. I believe that ELINZ is uniquely placed to play this vital role in ensuring access to justice in which all practitioners operate competently, ethically and justly. We owe no less to those we serve.”