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Self Representation

The Employment Relations Act 2000 establishes various employment institutions which promotes self-representation, as a means of accessing justice. 

The average cost of legal fees to bring a claim to the Employment Relations Authority is said to be $15,000 for a one-day investigation meeting. 

This outweighs the average awards at the Authority, which include:

  • Three months wages (or if you found a job within those three months, your actual lost wages).

  • Compensation, which averages at approximately $15,000.

  • Legal fees of $4,500 for a one-day investigation meeting. 

EXAMPLE: a wholly successful employee, who was employed on minimum wage on a full-time basis, who did not find employment within three months following the termination of employment, is awarded a total of $28,000 for lost wages, compensation and legal fees (tax already deducted).

When legal fees of $15,000 are deducted, this successful litigant will only walk away with $13,000. 

Is that success?

Your Claim

The first step is to understand the claim/s that you want to bring against your employer, and consider the evidence that you have to prove "on the balance of probabilities" your claim/s.You can read about various types of claims on my blog. You can also find some useful material on the Employment NZ website, and in Community Law's online manual.

Honestly, you can find a lot of information on Google: just make sure you're relying on information published by trusted brands.

Once you have established your claim/s, you'll want to start the process of raising this with your current or previous employer. You may firstly wish to utilise MBIE's early resolution process, which is designed to assist employees before raising a personal grievance. You can read more about this here.

If you want to formally raise a claim, you are welcome to use any of the templates below. I have provided notes in red to assist you in completing these documents to a high standard.

You should familiarise yourself with the the dispute resolution process, which you can read about here

Bullying Claim Template

Wage Claim Template

Personal Grievance Template


Purpose of Mediation

Mediation is promoted as the primary means of resolution, as it avoids technical judicial intervention, by recognising that employment relationships are more likely to be successful if problems in those relationships are resolved promptly by the parties themselves. 

Mediation is a necessary part of almost every proceeding, but there will be instances where the parties should not be directed to attend mediation. For example, where mediation:

  • will not contribute constructively to resolving the matter; or

  • will not, in all the circumstances, be in the public interest; or

  • will undermine the urgent or interim nature of the proceedings; or

  • will be otherwise impractical or inappropriate in the circumstances.

Mediation is a free service offered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and can be held in-person, by Zoom or by telephone. It is conducted by a mediator who is an expert in both employment law and employment relationships: creating a safe space for parties to discuss their differences.  

It is my view that mediation is designed to be suitable for self-represented litigants. 

You can apply for mediation here.


The Employment Relations Authority is an investigative body that has the role of resolving employment relationship problems by establishing the facts and making a determination according to the substantial merits of the case, without regard to technicalities. ​

In conducting its role, the Authority is to:

  • comply with the principles of natural justice; and

  • support successful employment relationships and the good faith obligations that underpin them; and

  • determine the substantial merits of any case, without regard to technicalities; and

  • to deliver speedy, informal, and practical justice to the parties to any matter before it; and

  • Act in a manner which is reasonable, having regard to its investigative role.

The Supreme Court recently held that the focus of the employment institutions is to be accessible to all parties: and that includes self-represented litigants.

The Authority allows for accessibility, as it has a focus on problem solving, and. as recently noted by the Employment Court, is expected to do the "heavy lifting" for the parties. 

It is my view that the Employment Relations Authority is designed to be suitable for self-represented litigants. Apply here.

Contact Me

I am available to read, review and provide advice on your documents for only $50 + GST per review. My role is not to strictly proofread, but rather to ensure that you have sufficiently articulated and identified your legal claim/s.

Thanks for submitting!

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