Judge takes 26 months to make decision

by NZ Lawyer04 Apr 2014
Chief Employment Court Judge Graeme Colgan has been admonished by the Court of Appeal for taking more than two years to deliver a judgement, according to APN.

Judge Colgan apologised for the delay, but the Court of Appeal still described it as wholly unsatisfactory, saying the 26-month wait came close to meeting the test whereby the delay itself could create a question of law, being that the judge could no longer do justice between the parties.

The case involved Ideas Services, an organisation providing support for people with intellectual disabilities, which dismissed its Southland manager, William Clark, in April 2009.

The Employment Relations Authority upheld the dismissal and Clark subsequently challenged that decision in the Employment Court, with a hearing  held from June 27 to June 29. When the judgment was issued in August last year, Judge Colgan found the dismissal was unjustified and awarded Clark $15,500 compensation.

Ideas Services turned to the Court of Appeal on several points, one of them being that the delay of 26 months affected key findings.

While the Court of Appeal was critical of the delay, it did not give Ideas Services leave to appeal in a decision last week.

However, this is not the first time Judge Colgan has been noted as an example of judges taking an unprecedented amount of time to make a decision.

Last year, Justice Minister Judith Collins reportedly cited three of his decisions when explaining why she wanted to require chief judges of various courts to set up standards for reserved decisions and timeliness of delivery.

Source: APN