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Phillipa Muir



P+64 9 977 5071

M+64 27 593 5402

Phillipa Muir

Phillipa is one of New Zealand's leading employment lawyers. She acts for many of New Zealand's major corporations, tertiary institutions, and local government bodies.

Phillipa has successfully argued several leading cases in new areas of employment law. These include the first major damages claim brought by an employer against a union, the first successful stress damages case to go to the Court of Appeal, and the first employment law case to go to New Zealand's Supreme Court.

Phillipa heads the employment law group.

  • Asia Pacific Legal 500 Labour & Employment 2022 - Leading Lawyer (Hall of Fame)
  • Chambers Asia-Pacific Employment 2022 - Leading Lawyer
  • The International Who's Who Legal Labour, Employment & Benefits 2021 - Global Leader
  • Asialaw Leading Lawyers Guide Labour & Employment 2018 - Market-leading Lawyer
  • Best in Workplace Relations Award (Australasian Women in Business Awards 2012 & 2014)

Examples of Work

  • University of Auckland (New Zealand’s largest tertiary institute with over 40,000 students and 5,556 FTE staff) – successfully represented the University in relation to two recent Employment Court cases involving disputes with academic employees (one in relation to medical incapacity and the other regarding a restructuring in the School of Music)
  • Holidays Act 2003 – advising a number of employers in the public and private sector on issues with inadvertent non-compliance with the Holidays Act 2003 and obligations to remedy any holiday pay underpayments
  • Westpac New Zealand – key employment law advisor to Westpac for many years, providing strategic advice on triangular employment issues, investigations, disciplinary processes, and union related matters
  • Covid-19 advice – advising a number of clients in the public and private sector on various Covid-19 related issues. The introduction of the Alert Level lockdowns and accompanying Government orders and other legislative instruments posed a number of novel and complex legal issues
  • Sport New Zealand - Phillipa (together with John Rooney) undertook a feasibility study for Sport NZ, to investigate options for a Complaints Management and/or Dispute Resolution System for the New Zealand Sports System (CMDRS)
  • Provides strategic employment advice to many NZ Boards of Directors and holds a number of outside governance roles
  • Fonterra Co-operative Group - advises on all senior executive employment agreements and recently advised on a restructure across multiple jurisdictions
  • Auckland Council - successfully represented the Council in urgent proceedings in the Employment Court, over a dispute under Part 6A ERA on largely untested law regarding the definition of "cleaning services" in relation to vulnerable employees
  • University of Auckland - represented the University in long-running proceedings affecting all academic staff, culminating in a facilitation hearing in 2012 and dispute proceedings in the Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court in 2014-2015

Other Credentials

  • Global Employment Law Alliance - Board member
  • Fletcher Building Employee Educational Fund - Chair
  • Auckland Writers Festival - Chair
  • University of Auckland Faculty of Law - Guest lecturer
  • Employment Law - Co-author
  • Recruitment and Termination - Co-author