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WATCH: A-G, Law Society warmly welcomes Industrial Court president

The new president to head up the latest chapter of the NSW Industrial Court was praised during his welcome ceremony for not only the “profound impact” he has had on the field but also for his Frank Sinatra impressions, his hair, and a “pioneering shoey”.

user iconNaomi Neilson 10 July 2024 Big Law
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The new judge of the Industrial Court of NSW and president of the Industrial Relations Commission, Justice Ingmar Taylor SC, said that on 1 July – the very first day the court returned – more than 50 applications for increased pay and conditions were filed.

Having listed them all to be heard two days later, Justice Taylor said it was “so good to see a courtroom here filled with industrial relations advocates” for the first time since the court was abolished in 2016.

“It has been enormously exciting to oversee the new chapter of this historic institution,” Justice Taylor said during his welcome ceremony.

 
 

The position is a full-circle moment for the new judge, who told another full courtroom on Tuesday (9 July) morning that he had once stood there as a junior solicitor, industrial officer and junior barrister.

“My ultimate ambition then was to be appointed a judge of the Industrial Court of NSW, and I am genuinely honoured and excited that has come to pass,” Justice Taylor said.

Watch the full welcome ceremony below:

Justice Taylor added the importance he has placed on industrial justice and work health and safety (WHS) in his career stemmed from his parents, including a father who died of pulmonary fibrosis from the industrial dust he breathed in as a child in England.

“He would have so loved this occasion,” he said.

According to the NSW Attorney-General Michael Daley, the NSW Industrial Court has a long and distinguished history and is the “oldest industrial relations tribunal of its kind in the world”.

Of its many achievements since 1901, the court was responsible for outlining the principles of the national minimum wage, and it “led the way” in developing standards for redundancy pay.

Following many iterations through the 1900s, the court was abolished, and its matters were transferred to other courts in 2016. The Industrial Relations Amendment Act 2023 brought it back.

Joining Justice Taylor are vice president and Judge David Chin SC and deputy president and Judge Jane Paingakulam.

Daley said Justice Taylor has had a “profound impact” on the industrial relations and WHS space, making him a “pre-eminent authority in the field”, as witnessed by papers, support for junior colleagues, and the “esteem to which you are held”.

“Your Honour, your leadership will ensure this court is strong and independent, fair and reasonable, efficient and productive.

“You are a person of the utmost integrity, which will help create the safest and fairest of workplaces for the people of NSW.

“I know you are extremely proud and eager to get started,” he said.

Daley added that while Justice Taylor has been held in high esteem by his colleagues – and for more than just his World Cup tipping competition and Frank Sinatra impressions on the dance floor – he joked there were a “few tiny faults”.

“Those closest to you believe you are quite fond of your own hair, and they say that becoming follicly challenged is one of your biggest fears,” Daley said to laughter from the courtroom.

“Perhaps Your Honour might take comfort from the fact that this role comes with an optional gown and wig, should one ever be needed.”

Turning to his family, who were credited for supporting the judge in his legal profession, Daley said Justice Taylor managed to woo his wife by drinking champagne from her shoe in what was a “pioneering shoe-y” and a “true act of Australian flirtation”.

“On behalf of the NSW Bar, and of our state and indeed the government of NSW, it’s my very great pleasure to congratulate you on your appointment of a judge of the Industrial Court of NSW and president of the Industrial Relations Commission,” Daley said.

Brett McGrath, president of the NSW Law Society, added that based on Justice Taylor’s “depth and breadth” of experience, “NSW could not have found a better president of the NSW Industrial Court”.

“On behalf of the more than 42,000 solicitors of NSW, we wish Your Honour, and indeed the Industrial Relations Court of NSW, the very best in your endeavours,” McGrath said.

Video credit: ABC pool footage.