Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Two year Employment Court delay labelled 'extraordinary'

Malcolm Beattie. Photo / Richard Robinson
Malcolm Beattie. Photo / Richard Robinson

The Supreme Court has called a more than two year wait for an Employment Court ruling "extraordinary and most unfortunate".

Two former directors of a travel and hospitality company are suing and are being sued by the firm in an Employment Court case.

They are also defending a separate High Court case brought by the company, called Premier Events Group (PEG).

PEG provided services for events such as the 2011 Rugby World Cup and was set up in 2003 by Malcolm Beattie, Anthony Regan and Robert Gill.

Both Beattie and Regan stepped down as directors and had stopped working at PEG by March 2010 but the company soon after issued High Court action against the men and entities associated with them.

In the High Court proceedings, the company has alleged the men breached their obligations as directors and negotiated directly with clients, secured termination of the clients' contractual arrangements with Premier and made substitute contracts with these clients for their own benefit or the benefit of their companies.

Some of the clients they allegedly took with them when leaving Premier included Toyota New Zealand and the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

In the separate Employment Court case, PEG alleged Beattie and Regan breached restraint of trade and confidentiality provisions in their employment contracts.

In turn, Beattie alleged PEG had made unauthorised reductions in his salary and attempted to deprive him of earnings and profits from a proposed business deal.

Regan, in his claim, also sought lost wages and compensation from PEG.

These three sets of claims were traversed in the Employment Court in May 2012.

But a decision in that case has yet to be released and the Supreme Court yesterday said that the delay was "both extraordinary and most unfortunate".

The comments are made in a Supreme Court ruling declining Beattie and Regan leave to appeal on whether their High Court action should be struck out.

The pair argued the High Court proceedings would involve re-litigation of the same allegations addressed by the Employment Court.

However, the High Court and Court of Appeal both refused to strike out the case and the Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear their argument.

"The usual approach of this court is to entertain appeals against judgements of the Court of Appeal refusing strike-outs only in compelling circumstances. The applicants do not meet that high threshold," the Supreme Court said.

See the latest Supreme Court decision here:

Read also:
Event duo ask judge to strike out claims

- NZ Herald

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