AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Employment Law, Health and Safety, Investigations and Reviews, Local Government, Insolvency and Restructurings, Privacy, Protected Disclosures
Samantha is a leading employment and health and safety law expert. She has over twenty years’ experience and is a skilled mediator and litigator, who is also a regular speaker at conferences and trainer on key employment and health and safety issues.
Samantha has extensive experience working with public sector and local government bodies and she has been involved in a number of high-profile reviews, inquiries and investigations. Samantha has also worked with a wide range of leading New Zealand and global corporates, often working with leaders and lawyers from other jurisdictions and matching the requirements of New Zealand compliance to initiatives proposed from other jurisdictions.
She was previously a partner at Simpson Grierson and she joined the independent bar in late 2021. Samantha has consistently been a ranked lawyer in Chambers Asia-Pacific Employment and Asia Pacific Legal 500 Employment and other leading legal directories.
BA LLB Victoria University Wellington
2021 to present Stout Street Chambers
2002 to 2021 Simpson Grierson
1996 to 2002 Chapman Tripp
Samantha advises and acts on a wide range of employment issues including personal grievances, incompatibility and exit issues involving senior leaders and chief executives, governance issues, bargaining, stress, bullying and incompatibility issues, Holidays Act compliance and audits, Protected Disclosures Act issues and compliance, Privacy Act issues and compliance, pay equity and fair pay. She also has been appointed as an investigator and/or legal advisor to a number of high profile and investigations and workplace reviews.
Health and Safety
Samantha has worked with many high-profile organisations to advise on their legal obligations, options and opportunities to improve their health and safety at work from governance to operational level. Her work is focussed on proactive initiatives and strategies, however, she is skilled at assisting clients with crisis and incident management and investigation processes and reporting. Samantha is an experienced litigator and regularly acts for clients in relation to WorkSafe investigations and prosecutions.
- Litigation and advisory work for a number of key public sector and local government bodies
- Litigation and advisory work for private sector clients, including significant national and global corporates
- Advising global human and animal health businesses on New Zealand employment and health and safety matters
- Providing advice on significant restructurings of New Zealand operations for large energy companies
- Providing advice on significant restructuring and insolvency issues
- Advising local government clients on significant issues arising with chief executives
- Representing the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development in the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment Court and providing advice on a number of employment matters
- Representing BP Oil NZ in the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment Court
- Representing the Secretary for the Ministry of Justice in industrial action
- Representing the Commissioner of Police in the Employment Court
- Providing strategic advice regarding industrial action and strikes regarding the Interislander
- Representation for Fonterra Brands defending claims raised by the Dairy Workers’ Union
- Representing Capital and Coast and Hutt Valley District Health Boards defending a claim challenging surgical training
- Advising foreign fishing companies on local laws for crew requirements
Health and Safety
- Extensive review of a large government Ministry’s procurement processes and overlapping duty arrangements
- Acting for Icepak defending charges laid by Workforce and seeking a court ordered enforceable undertaking
- Advisor for New Zealand Post on investigations and proactive intiatives
- Acting for an international geothermal drilling company which was prosecuted following a crane near miss incident
- Advisor to receivers in diverse areas such as farming, winemaking, hospitality and food manufacturing
- External legal advisor for the Outward Bound External Safety Advisory Committee
- Advising on enforceable undertaking applications
- Audit of a large energy company’s health and safety management system
- Representing and advising the Ministry of Social Development throughout the WorkSafe investigation into the Ashburton shootings at the Ministry’s workplace
- Representation of the New Zealand Defence Force in WorkSafe prosecutions
- Regularly engaged by a number local government authorities and other leading organisations to lead training to elected members, directors, leadership teams, workers and main contractors on the duties and obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA)
- Working with Port Nelson to develop and train on PCBU engagement, consultation, cooperation, and coordination of work, including review and development of worker participation and engagement processes
- Member of the team appointed to support Judge Coral Shaw conduct the Independent Review of FENZ’s workplace policies, procedures and practices to address bullying and harassment.
- Legal adviser on the investigation into the allegations of bullying against the Retirement Commissioner.
- Appointed by the Ministry of Health to investigate complex and serious allegations made by some District Health Boards and other persons regarding procurement practices in relation to a directorate at the Ministry.
- Legal adviser to investigation into allegations made against Roger Sutton, former Chief Executive CERA.
- Legal adviser to the Steering Group (Office of the Privacy Commissioner, KPMG and Malcolm Crompton, the former Federal Privacy Commissioner in Australia) in relation to the independent review of ACC’s privacy and information security policies and practices following the Bronwyn Pullar disclosure.
- Legal adviser to the Ministry of Social Development in relation to the WorkSafe investigation (not the defence of) into the Ministry following the Ashburton Shootings.
- Legal adviser to a client who was called on by the Royal Commission on the Pike River Tragedy.
- Legal adviser to the Ministry of Social Development in relation to an investigation into access of files (including those of children in its care) on the Ministry’s computer servers through its job seeker kiosk.
- Represented Madeleine Setchell following her dismissal from the Ministry for the Environment. This resulted in the appointment of an independent inquirer, Don Hunn, to conduct an independent inquiry into public service recruitment and employment practices.
- She has conducted a high number of investigations for government departments, including MBIE, ACC, Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Health and the Department of Internal Affairs, into serious allegations of fraud, dishonesty, conflicts of interest, bullying and mismanagement.
- Samantha has also been called on to advise many decision makers on their administrative and natural justice obligations during investigations and when applying complaint procedures. This has included providing advice on the scope of review and the legitimacy of conclusions reached by external investigators into investigations of serious misconduct.
- Samantha has also been involved in testing, reviewing and re-writing protected disclosure policies and guidelines and ensuring government departments implement effective strategies for managing these issues. She is very familiar with the requirements and standards set by the PSC and how those impact work in the government sector.
- Accomplished speaker and presenter who has spoken at many Employment and Health and Safety Law conferences and seminars