The Judges

At present there are five judges headed by the Chief Judge. Usually one judge alone presides. However where cases raise important questions, the Chief Judge may elect to have a full court with at least three judges sitting.

Her Honour Chief Judge Christina Inglis

Chief Judge Christina Inglis was sworn in as an Employment Court Judge in 2011 and appointed as the Chief Judge on 10 July 2017. 

She holds an LLM (Hons) from Victoria University and an MA (Hons) from Canterbury University.  She was a Crown Counsel at Crown Law for many years, with a primary focus on civil litigation, public law and employment law. Most recently she led the Human Rights Team at Crown Law.  

While in practice she appeared in most Courts and Tribunals.  Chief Judge Inglis was formerly on the Advisory Board of the New Zealand Centre for Human Rights Law, Policy and Practice and is now on the Board of the Access to Justice Advisory Group, a joint initiative of the Chief Justice and Chief Executive of the Ministry of Justice; is Chair of Te Awa Tuia Tangata, the Heads of Bench judicial diversity committee, and is a member of the Conduct Advisory Committee and the Digital Strategy (for Courts and Tribunals) Advisory Group.

His Honour Judge B A Corkill

Judge Bruce Corkill was appointed an Employment Court Judge in 2014.

He was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor in New Zealand in 1975 where he practiced briefly. He then worked in England until 1982, becoming a Solicitor of England and Wales. After returning to New Zealand and practicing in general litigation in two law firms, he commenced practice as a Barrister in 1997, taking Silk in 2007.

His specialist areas of practice included employment, civil and professional disciplinary work. He was Chairperson of the Health Practitioners' Disciplinary Tribunal from 2006 to 2014.

His Honour Judge K G Smith

Judge Kerry Smith was appointed an Employment Court Judge in 2016.

He graduated with an LLB degree from Canterbury University in 1982 and was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in 1983.

He worked for two law firms in Christchurch before joining a firm that eventually became Buddle Findlay, joining the partnership in 1991. He remained in that partnership from 1991 until December 2015.

His specialist areas of practice were employment, resource management, civil litigation, and health and safety.

Her Honour Judge J C Holden

Judge Joanna Holden was appointed an Employment Court Judge in 2017.

She has a BA LLB and was admitted to the bar in 1985.

Her legal career began with Kensington Swan (then Young Swan Morison McKay) operating in the areas of employment law and general civil litigation.  Subsequently she joined Chapman Tripp’s litigation department where she undertook general civil, commercial and public law litigation and specialised in employment law. 

In 2004 she commenced with Crown Law.  Immediately prior to her appointment to the bench she was a Team Manager in the Crown Legal Risk Group.  Her specialist areas of practice were employment, health and safety, tort and public law.

Her Honour Judge Kathryn Beck

Judge Beck was appointed as a Judge of the Employment Court in Auckland in July 2020 and sworn in on 7 August. Judge Beck will be based in Auckland.

Judge Beck was President of the New Zealand Law Society from 2016 to 2019 and a partner at a boutique employment law firm from 2005 up until her appointment as Judge.  While in practice Judge Beck acted for both employers and unions.

Judge Beck brings nearly 30 years of practical legal experience to the bench. She has been President and Vice President of the New Zealand Law Society, a Convener of the NZLS Employment Law Committee, a submitter for the Law Society to Select Committees on legislative change, and has presented at numerous conferences and educational events for the Law Society.

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