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The NSW Government recently announced the appointments of three highly experienced barristers to the newly re-established Industrial Court of NSW.

The Resurrected Court

The Industrial Court played a significant, but brief, role in the state’s industrial relations history before its abolition in 2016.

Originally established in 1901 as the Court of Arbitration, it has seen several iterations throughout the 20th century, existing as a separate entity at various points until 1926 when it was dissolved and replaced by the Industrial Commission of New South Wales.

The Industrial Relations Act of 1991 saw a revival of the Court, tasked with handling civil matters, prosecutions, and legal issues. However, a 1996 reform streamlined the system, merging the court back into the broader Industrial Relations Commission.

The Industrial Relations Act of 2005 enabled the commission to be called the Industrial Court of New South Wales in court sessions. However in 2016, this was once again dissolved when all industrial disputes and matters relating to work health and safety in New South Wales were transferred to other courts.

The Industrial Court’s return in 2023, by the Industrial Relations Amendment Act 2023, reflects a commitment to create a specialised venue for industrial relations matters in NSW. It will handle industrial disputes and work health and safety issues, acting as a superior court of record equivalent to the Supreme Court and Land and Environment Court. As stated by Attorney General Michael Daley, the court’s re-establishment fulfills an election promise to provide public sector employees with “fair and independent” dispute resolution. Industrial Relations Minister Sophie Cotsis added that “by creating a one-stop shop for industrial justice, the new Industrial Court is a significant win for working people.”

Meet the Appointees

Leading the court as President will be Ingmar Taylor SC, a recognised expert in employment law and work health and safety. Joining him are Vice-President David Chin SC, a specialist in work health and safety, industrial, employment and discrimination law, and Deputy President Jane Paingakulam,  who has experience in criminal law and public sector issues.

Both Cotsis and Daley  highlighted the experience and qualifications of the appointees.

“I am delighted to announce three eminent and respected legal practitioners will be the first appointees to the Industrial Court of NSW,” Daley said.“I congratulate the respected and very qualified Mr Taylor SC, Mr Chin SC and Ms Paingakulam on their appointments to the court,” Cotsis added.

The three candidates will now be formally recommended to the Governor for appointment.