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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 July, 2005, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
Rings man can sue for dismissal
Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortensen in The Lord of the Rings
Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortensen starred in The Lord of the Rings
A man who built models for The Lord of the Rings can sue for unfair dismissal, New Zealand's Supreme Court has ruled.

The court ruled that model maker James Bryson was an employee of production company Three Foot Six, rather than an independent contractor.

As such, he is now entitled to pursue personal grievance claims after being made redundant when the models unit was downsized towards the end of filming.

The ruling could affect labour costs across the country's film industry.

Many crew members and workers in connected industries are hired as contractors in New Zealand, keeping costs down and making it an attractive location for overseas productions.

However, local guilds insist this is a one-off case and will not have further ramifications for film production.

"It does not make any significant change to the way contractors are engaged in the screen industry," said Penelope Borland, CEO of the Screen Production and Development Association of New Zealand (SPADA).

The action is the latest in a series of court cases involving director Peter Jackson's Oscar-winning trilogy.

In March Jackson sued film company New Line Cinema, claiming it had withheld profits from the first part of the series.

And last year producer Saul Zaentz sued the trilogy's makers for $20m (10.9m) in unpaid royalties.

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