Skip to Content »

Employment law contingency fees OK

  • November 1st, 2006

Business should ignore the call to ban "no win no pay" agreements by lawyers acting for claimant employees. Contingent fee arrangements can be the only assurance of justice for poor people who have been wronged. There is a simple principled solution to target "no win no pay" lawyers who foment unmeritorious grievance litigation.

Full costs against the loser would do it. If beleaugured employers knew that they were not guaranteed to lose (in time and costs) even if the claim proves spurious, they would not pay the legal standover artists just to get rid of the claim. That principle should apply in all areas. Justice is not done when the person in the wrong can leave the innocent defendant gravely out of pocket.

Pusillanimous NZ judges have thoroughly eroded that ancient principle. NZ is halfway toward the US position where losers don't pay the winner's costs. US law allows lawyers to blackmail settlements out of hapless defendants.

There are better ways to stop crooks and dud workers from abusing employment law. The first would be to end the idiocy that puts the ritual intracies of dismissal process above the merits. Another would simply restore respect for the adult human right to agree on your own terms of employment and to enforce them. For example, the ban on probationary periods deprives the unpromising employee of a fundamental human right – to ask for a chance to try-out for a probationary period. The anxious small employer's freedom of association is negated when  she can not stipulate for a trial perod.

New Zealand's employment lawyers profit from a disgraceful system. The best way to limit their extractions would be to dump the laws they exploit.  


  • brendan
  • November 5th, 2007
  • 2:30 am

need help from a lawyer whom will charge on a contingency basis


Your site was very helpfull. I look forward to your next posting. Thank you

  • Katuni Tilialo
  • May 2nd, 2008
  • 2:44 pm

I need help on an employment matter charge on a contingen basis in the Auckland area please.

Thank you

  • Roland
  • September 7th, 2010
  • 5:53 pm

I need help on an employment matter charge on a contingency basis in the Auckland area please.

  • Bryony Tesar
  • September 29th, 2012
  • 9:56 pm

My partner and I have been dealing with Nelson Building Society for 7 years. We own 2 properites, one being a rental. We fell into arrears several times but managed to pull ourselves through and are now on the right track towards financial stabiliy with our investments. NBS recently sent us an email telling us they would be serving demand on us for arrears with our rates (which we know they can do technically) however they told us this would only happen once the council served notice to NBS re these arrears. As we worked with the council to arrange a satisfactory payment plan, the council did not serve NBS with a demand and we have since carried on with payments. However NBS is still gogin to serve a demand on us eventhgouh we have an arrangement in place for our rates, mortgage account is up to date as is our insurance. They are behaving oppresively and I have reitereated my concerns with no positive outcome. This is our future they are playing with; we are extremely stressed about this situation and beleive there should be some accountability for this behaviour. Please advise if there is contingency lawyer we could possibly contact regarding this issue.
Bryony Tesar

  • Stephen
  • October 1st, 2012
  • 5:12 pm

Hi Bryony
I do not know of any lawyers who specialise in taking on contingent fee cases in New Zealand. I think it is probably because the Law Society rules make it unattractive. But there is instead a developing industry of “litigation funders”. They are basically finance companies which effectively agree to fund cases and to meet adverse cost awards, and to manage them, in return for taking a substantial share of any winnings. They tend to operate only on cases involving large amounts.
You should approach your usual lawyers first to see if they will enter a contingency fee arrangement, but from what you say, you have not yet lost anything and so you have no claim from which you could pay a lawyer taking the risk of acting for you.

Leave your comments:

* Required fields. Your e-mail address will not be published on this site

You can use the following HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>