The Judges and Associate Judges of the High Court
There are currently 47 judges available for sitting comprising 40 High Court judges and 7 Associate Judges. Note the Chief High Court Judge is not fully rostered due to administrative duties as head of court.
Chief High Court Judge
Justice Susan Thomas graduated with a BA /LLB (Hons) from Auckland University in 1982, Senior Scholar and recipient of the Auckland District Law Society prize for best undergraduate record. After practising as a solicitor with the Auckland firm of Holmden Horrocks, in 1983 Justice Thomas relocated to London.
Justice Thomas was admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales and spent almost 10 years as a commercial lawyer in private practice, as in‑house counsel and then as a partner in a London firm.
Returning to New Zealand in 1995, Justice Thomas joined MinterEllisonRuddWatts, becoming a partner shortly afterwards.
In 2005 Justice Thomas was appointed a District Court Judge. In 2012, she started the Special Circumstances Court in Wellington. Engaging with the community and its resources, the Special Circumstances Court focuses on the most challenged and marginalised offenders, trying to break the cycle of offending.
Justice Thomas was appointed to the High Court in 2014, sitting for three years in Auckland before relocating to Wellington where she is now based. As chair of the Judicial Reference Group she worked with the Ministry of Justice, planning for and overseeing technological innovation within the courts. She has also taken a leadership role in work underway within the justice system to improve access to justice and to improve the courts’ processes in the area of criminal justice.
Justice Thomas was appointed Chief High Court Judge on 1 June 2020.
Chief Justice announces Hon Justice Susan Thomas’s appointment as Chief High Court Judge, 2 April 2020 (PDF, 275KB)
Special Circumstances Court DC video in which Thomas J features
The Hon Justice Simon France
The Hon Justice Lang
The Hon Justice Mallon
The Hon Justice Duffy
The Hon Justice Dobson
The Hon Justice Wylie
The Hon Justice Ellis
The Hon Justice Brewer ONZM
The Hon Justice Peters
The Hon Justice Woolford
The Hon Justice Whata
The Hon Justice Katz
The Hon Justice Gendall
The Hon Justice Mander
The Hon Justice Dunningham
The Hon Justice Moore
The Hon Justice Muir
The Hon Justice Hinton
The Hon Justice Nation
The Hon Justice Edwards
The Hon Justice Clark
The Hon Justice Palmer
The Hon Justice Davison
The Hon Justice Cull
The Hon Justice Downs
The Hon Justice Fitzgerald
The Hon Justice Gordon
The Hon Justice Churchman
The Hon Justice Jagose
The Hon Justice van Bohemen
The Hon Justice Grice
The Hon Justice Powell
The Hon Justice Cooke
The Hon Justice Osborne
The Hon Justice Gault
The Hon Justice Walker
The Hon Justice Gwyn
The Hon Justice Doogue
2002, based in Auckland
Justice Venning completed a double major B Comm in 1978 in economics and accounting at the University of Canterbury followed by an LLB (1st Class Hons) in 1981. He tutored commercial Law at the university until 1987. Justice Venning became a litigation partner at the Christchurch law firm Wynn Williams and Co in 1987. In 1995 he was appointed a Master of the High Court, based in Christchurch.
Justice Venning moved to Auckland in 2002 to take up a position as a High Court Judge. He was a member of the High Court Rules Committee from 1999 – 2005, a member of the Council of Legal Education from 2004 – 2015 (Chair from March 2010) and served two terms as the list judge in the Auckland High Court.
In June 2015 Justice Venning was appointed Chief High Court Judge. During his five-year term Justice Venning oversaw the centralisation of circuit work to the three main registries and established the Commercial Panel under the Senior Courts Act 2016. He also maintained the Earthquake list in Christchurch and established several other lists to deal with particular areas of the Court’s work.
Justice Venning resumed his role as a full-time judge of the High Court on stepping down as the Chief Judge on 31 May 2020.
From the Bench - Case Law Update: New Zealand. Speech given at the Banking and Financial Services Law Association Annual Conference Gold Coast, Australia, 29 August 2019. (PDF, 489 KB)
Greater efficiency in civil procedure. Speech given at the NZ Bar Association - Australian Bar Association Joint Conference Queenstown, New Zealand. 23 August 2019. (PDF, 313 KB)
From Toupee to Tooth Decay: Recent Bill of Rights cases in New Zealand. Speech given at the Supreme and Federal Courts Judges’ Conference, Hobart21 Jan 2019. (PDF, 684 KB)
Online Courts: Refresh for Justice. The place of Courts in the age of the internet. Speech given at the ODR Forum 2018, New Zealand Centre for ICT Law, Auckland, 14 November 2018. (PDF, 468 KB)
Commercial Panel (PDF, 684 KB)
2005, based in Wellington
Justice Simon France graduated LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland and worked briefly as a solicitor at Nicholson Gribbin before undertaking overseas study culminating in an LLM from Queen's University, Ontario in 1983. In 1984 Justice France joined Victoria University of Wellington as a lecturer, later becoming senior lecturer and at various times dean of students and deputy dean of the law faculty. In 1995 he moved to the Crown Law Office as a Crown Counsel, becoming team leader to the human rights team in 2002. Justice France was appointed a High Court judge in January 2005 and is based in Wellington.
2005, based in Auckland
Justice Graham Lang attended Otago University and graduated LLB (Hons) (1st Class) in 1980. He was awarded the New Zealand Law Society’s Cleary Memorial Prize in 1981. Justice Lang was a Staff Solicitor at Robinson Toomey & Partners, Napier from 1980, becoming a partner of the firm in 1982. In 1987 he moved to partnership at Elvidge & Partners, and was appointed Crown Solicitor at Napier from 1995 to 2002. He was appointed a Master (now Associate Judge) of the High Court in April 2002 and became a Judge of the High Court in August 2005. He is based at the Auckland High Court.
2006, based in Wellington
Justice Jillian Mallon graduated LLB Hons from Otago University in 1988 and LLM from Cornell University in 1993. She joined the litigation team at Bell Gully in Wellington in 1988, becoming a partner of the firm in 1998. Justice Mallon specialised in general commercial litigation at Bell Gully with most recent emphasis on competition, media and public law. In addition, she taught competition law at Victoria University from 1999 to 2005 and was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the University in 2005. Justice Mallon was appointed a judge of the High Court in July 2006 and she is based in Wellington.
2007, based in Auckland
Justice Duffy graduated LLM (Hons) from Auckland University. Justice Duffy first practised as a solicitor at the Grey Lynn Neighbourhood Law Office from 1981 to 1985. She became head solicitor in 1983. From 1985 to 1988 she practised as a barrister in Auckland. Between 1988 and 1996 she practised as Crown Counsel at the Crown Law Office. From 1991 to 1996 she was team leader of the Crown Law Office commercial regulatory team. Justice Duffy returned to the independent bar in 1996 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1998. She practised in civil and public law. Justice Duffy also conducted a number of statutory committees of inquiry including serving as the Chair of the Ministerial Committee of Inquiry into the Under-reporting of Cervical Smear Abnormalities in the Gisborne region. Justice Duffy was appointed a Judge in 2007 and is based in Auckland.
2007, based in Wellington
The Hon Justice Dobson was educated in Gisborne and completed his LLB degree in 1971. He became a partner in Stone and Co in 1976 (now Minter Ellison) until 1990 when he became a barrister sole, being appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1998. He has been a member of various Law Society committees and was president of the New Zealand Bar Association from 2002-2004. He was appointed a High Court Judge in 2007 and is based in Wellington.
2008, based in Auckland
The Hon Justice Wylie achieved his LLB degree (First Class Honours) from University of Canterbury (New Zealand) in 1975 and PhD in Administrative Law from University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) in 1980. He became a partner in Ronaldson Averill & Co. in the same year and was a partner in Lane Neave Ronaldson from 1983 until 1990. He became a barrister sole in 1991 and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2002. He was appointed a Judge in 2008 and is based in Auckland.
2009, based in Wellington
Justice Ellis graduated BA (English major) from Victoria University in 1982 and LLB in 1986. She was admitted to the Bar in 1989 and was a Legal Advisor with the Law Reform division of the Department of Justice from 1987-1992 and a Senior solicitor in the litigation department of the firm of Chapman Tripp in Wellington from 1992-1996. Justice Ellis then joined the Crown Law Office and was employed as Crown Counsel in that office until her appointment as Director, Legal Services at the Ministry of Economic Development in 2004. In 2005 she rejoined Crown Law and in 2006 became the Team Leader of the Tax and Commercial Team and during 2008-2009 was the Manager of the Crown’s Structured Finance Litigation, before being appointed a Judge of the High Court on 1 November 2009. She is based in Wellington.
2010, based in Auckland
Justice Brewer graduated LLB (Honours, 1st class) from Victoria University in 1979. He was admitted to the Bar in 1980. Between 1980 and 1987 he practised predominantly commercial and property law at Govett Quilliam, New Plymouth.
Justice Brewer was then appointed New Plymouth Crown Solicitor, an appointment he held from 1988-2010. From 1990-2010 he was the senior litigation partner in the firm which became Auld Brewer Mazengarb & McEwen. From 1997-2001 he was a part-time Commissioner of the Law Commission.
Justice Brewer joined the Territorial Force of the New Zealand Army in 1976; appointed a member of the Courts Martial Panel of Advocates in 2001; Judge-Advocate from 2004-2009 and a Judge of the Court Martial of New Zealand from 2009. He retired in 2009 as Director-General Reserve Forces with the rank of Brigadier. Justice Brewer was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2003. Justice Brewer is based in Auckland.
2010, based in Auckland
Justice Peters graduated LLB from Victoria University in 1985 and was admitted to the Bar the same year. She was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales in 1991. Between 1983 and 1987 she was a solicitor with Chapman Tripp Sheffield Young in Wellington. Justice Peters was a solicitor with Arthur Andersen & Co in New York in 1988 and with Allen & Overy in London from 1990 1995. Justice Peters returned to Auckland to work for Russell McVeagh in 1995. She was a partner with that firm from 1997 2004. Justice Peters moved to the independent bar at the end of 2004. Justice Peters is based in Auckland.
2010, based in Auckland
Justice Woolford graduated LLB (Hons) from Auckland University and BA in Japanese in 1977 as well as attaining a BCL from Oxford University in 1981. He was admitted to the Bar in 1977. He held positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Wellington, Singapore and New York 1981-85. Justice Woolford returned to Auckland to work for Meredith Connell in 1986 and became a partner with that firm from 1987 until the current appointment. Justice Woolford is based in Auckland.
2011, based in Auckland
Justice Whata is from Ngati Pikiao and Ngati Tamateatutahi - Kawiti of Te Arawa. Justice Whata graduated from Auckland University in 1992 and was admitted to the bar in the same year, obtaining an LLB (Hons) in 1994. He commenced working with the Auckland firm of Simpson Grierson until 1993 when he took up a position in the general litigation team at Kensington Swan until 1995. He obtained an LLM (1st class) from the University of Cambridge, then took employment with Russell McVeagh from 1997-2001, becoming a partner in 2001. He specialised in resource management law and Maori issues. Justice Whata was appointed a High Court Judge on 1 March 2011, initially based at the Christchurch High Court. He is now based in Auckland.
2012, based in Auckland
Justice Katz achieved her LLB degree from the University of Otago in 1987 and was admitted to the NZ Bar that year. She was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales in 1992 and graduated LLM from the University of London in 1993. Justice Katz commenced her career as a Teaching Fellow at Otago University, followed by several years at Chapman Tripp, Wellington. She then worked for Herbert Smith in London before returning to NZ where she joined the firm of Buddle Findlay, becoming a partner in 1997. Justice Katz moved to Russell McVeagh in 2003 where, prior to her appointment to the High Court in August 2012, she was a senior litigation partner. She sits in Auckland.
2013, based in Christchurch
Justice David Gendall graduated LLB (Hons) from Victoria University of Wellington in 1973. Previously he worked as a law clerk at Luke Cunningham & Clere, and then Buddle Anderson & Co in Wellington. In 1974 he joined the Hamilton law firm of Chapman Feenstra & Cartwright, and in 1975 was admitted to the partnership of that firm (later McCaw Lewis Chapman). In 1988 he retired from partnership and joined the Law School at the University of Waikato as a Senior Lecturer. He was appointed Dean of the Law School in 2000, and then joined the High Court Bench as a Master in March 2002. He became an Associate Judge of the High Court when the title changed in May 2004 and was appointed a High Court Judge in 2013. He is based at the Christchurch High Court.
2013, based in Christchurch
Justice Cameron Mander graduated LLB from Victoria University in 1985 and subsequently LLM (Hons) in 1991. He was employed as a solicitor at Luke Cunningham and Clere before travelling to London, where he was admitted to the roll of solicitors for England and Wales and employed as a litigation solicitor with Clifford Chance. While in England, he obtained a LLM (Hons) from Cambridge University. He returned as a partner to the firm of Luke Cunningham and Clere where he practised as a senior Crown prosecutor and litigator. In 2007 he joined the Crown Law Office as a Deputy Solicitor-General. Justice Mander is based at the Christchurch High Court.
2014, based in Christchurch
Justice Rachel Dunningham graduated BA (Hons) 1st class from Massey University and a Diploma of Teaching from the Palmerston North Teachers’ College in 1981. She then graduated LLB (Hons) 1st class from the University of Canterbury in 1996 and was awarded the Canterbury District Law Society Gold Medal in that year. She was a Teacher at Awatapu College in Palmerston North from 1982-1992 She was then employed in the law firm of Buddle Findlay in Christchurch and became a partner in 2005. She undertook a number of roles with the New Zealand Law Society, including as President of the Canterbury-Westland Branch in 2012-13. Justice Dunningham was appointed a High Court Judge in January 2014 and is based at the Christchurch High Court.
2014, based in Auckland
Justice Moore graduated BA (Hons) from Otago University in 1978 and LLB in 1980 from the Auckland University. He was admitted to the Bar in 1982 and became a solicitor in the firm of Meredith Connell, Auckland and then a partner in 1985. He was appointed Crown Solicitor for Auckland in 1994 and took silk in 2008. Justice Moore is based in Auckland.
2014, based in Auckland
Justice Muir graduated with an LLB (Hons) from Auckland University in 1981 and became a staff solicitor with Holmden Horrocks & Co in Auckland. In 1984 he took leave from Holmden Horrocks for postgraduate studies at the University of Virginia, graduating with an LLM. In 1985 Justice Muir joined the partnership of Holmden Horrocks, working in civil litigation. He left that firm in 1988 to join the partnership of Buddle Findlay, based in their Auckland office and specialising in commercial and banking litigation. Justice Muir went to the independent bar in 1994 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2013. Justice Muir was appointed a High Court Judge in 2014 and is based in Auckland.
2014, based in Auckland
Justice Hinton graduated with an LLB(Hons) from Auckland University in 1975 and became a staff solicitor with Grierson Jackson & Partners in Auckland. In 1982 Justice Hinton joined the partnership of Hesketh Henry, working in civil litigation. She left that firm in 1989 to join the partnership of Simpson Grierson in their Auckland office and headed the civil litigation and matrimonial property team of five lawyers. Justice Hinton went to the independent bar in 1997 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2002. Justice Hinton was appointed a Judge of the High Court in 2014 and she is based at the Auckland High Court.
2015, based in Christchurch
The Hon Justice Gerald Nation graduated LL.B (Hons) from the University of Canterbury, in 1974 and admitted as a barrister and solicitor in 1975. He was employed with the firm of Wynn Williams in Christchurch and became a partner in 1979. He has 35 years' experience appearing in the High Court in both criminal and civil litigation, as well as the Court of Appeal and all lower courts. Justice Nation was appointed a High Court Judge in February 2015 and is based in Christchurch.
2015, based in Auckland
Justice Edwards graduated with a BA and LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1993 and commenced work as a solicitor with the Auckland office of Russell McVeagh. In 1996 she graduated with an LLM from the University of Virginia.
In 1997 Justice Edwards took a position with Herbert Smith in London, before returning to Russell McVeagh as a senior solicitor in 1998. Justice Edwards left Russell McVeagh in 2003 to commence practice as a barrister sole specialising in commercial civil litigation with a particular focus on contract, shareholder and insolvency related disputes.
Justice Edwards was admitted to the permanent bar in the Cook Islands in 2010 and subsequently represented the respondents in the first two Cook Islands appeals to the Privy Council. Justice Edwards was appointed a High Court Judge in June 2015 and she is based in Auckland.
2015, based in Wellington
Justice Clark graduated with an LLB from Victoria University, Wellington in 1986. A former Deputy Solicitor-General (Public Law) Justice Clark went to the independent bar in 2007 where she continued to specialise in judicial review, civil and commercial litigation and public and constitutional law. Justice Clark appeared in first instance and appellate jurisdictions including the Waitangi Tribunal, Supreme Court, Privy Council and the Supreme Court of Tonga. Justice Clark also undertook and appeared before inquiries involving significant public interest issues such as the Coronial Inquiry into the circumstances of the deaths of those who died in the CTV Building and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy. Justice Clark was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2007. She was appointed a Judge of the High Court on 29 September 2015 and is based in Wellington.
2015, based in Auckland
Justice Palmer graduated BA (Economics and Political Science) (1983) from the University of Canterbury, LLB (Hons 1st class) (1987) from Victoria University of Wellington, LLM, Master of Laws, Yale Law School (1990), JSD, Doctor of Laws, Yale Law School (1994).
He was admitted to the NZ Bar in 1987 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2014. He has held positions as manager in the Treasury, Deputy Secretary for Justice, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of Law at Victoria University and was Deputy Solicitor-General (Public Law) at Crown Law Office from 2008-2012. Justice Palmer was the New Zealand Law Foundation 2005 International Research Fellow while Herbert Smith Visitor at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Law and Fulbright Senior Scholar at Yale Law School. He was appointed to the High Court on 14 October 2015 and is based in Auckland.
2015, based in Auckland
Justice Davison graduated with an LLB from Auckland University in 1975 and commenced as a staff solicitor with Glaister Ennor & Kiff, Auckland. He commenced with Keegan Alexander Tedcastle & Friedlander in 1977 and became a partner in 1978.
Justice Davison went to the independent bar in 1990 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1996. He has been involved in various high profile cases and Royal Commissions of Inquiry. Justice Davison was appointed a High Court Judge in December 2015 and is based in Auckland.
2016, based in Wellington
Justice Cull graduated LLB (Hons) in 1977 from Victoria University of Wellington and was admitted to the Bar in 1978 . She was employed as a law clerk and then Staff Solicitor in the firm of Brandons, Wellington from 1976-1983 before becoming a litigation partner in Tripe Matthews and Feist from 1983-1990. She commenced practice as a barrister sole in Wellington in 1990 and was appointed a QC in 1997. Justice Cull has held the positions of Cease and Desist Commissioner under the Commerce Act, Senior Advisory District Inspector under the Mental Health Act and Chair of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission. Justice Cull was appointed a High Court Judge on 28 June 2016 and is based in Wellington.
2016, based in Auckland
Justice Downs graduated from Otago University in 1993 with LLB (Hons). He later completed an LLM (Hons, 1st class) at Cambridge University and a PhD at Otago University. His doctoral thesis was recognised by the Division of Humanities as exceptional. He worked as a junior solicitor at Brewer Mazengarb in 1994, and then Assistant Crown Counsel at Crown Law between 1994-96. From 1996-2005 he worked at Ben Vanderkolk & Associates and then Meredith Connell. He rejoined Crown Law in 2005, later becoming Senior Crown Counsel. There, he appeared regularly in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. He is the editor of Cross on Evidence and a co-author of its 2017 edition. Justice Downs was appointed a High Court Judge on 11 August 2016 and is Auckland-based.
2016, based in Auckland
Justice Fitzgerald graduated LLB (Senior Scholar) in 1992 from Victoria University. She was admitted to the Bar in 1992 in New Zealand, as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales in 1999 and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 2003. She was employed as a litigation solicitor at Russell McVeagh in Wellington from 1992 to 1994, before a move to Clifford Chance in London as a Senior Solicitor from 1994 to 1997 and then at Debevoise & Plimpton in London from 1998 to 2001. Justice Fitzgerald returned to Russell McVeagh, Wellington from 2001 to 2003 and from 2003 to 2006 was a Senior Associate, Dispute Resolution at the firm of Mallesons Stephen Jaques in Sydney. She returned to Auckland in 2006 and in 2007, joined the partnership of Russell McVeagh, where she remained until her current appointment on 22 August 2016. Justice Fitzgerald is based in Auckland.
2016, based in Auckland
Justice Gordon graduated with a BA in History from Otago University in 1974 and completed an LLB from Auckland University in 1983. She joined Russell McVeagh in 1984 and worked primarily in the area of resource management law. In 1986, Justice Gordon joined the Auckland Crown Solicitor’s office, Meredith Connell, where she specialised in criminal law. She became a partner in October 1987 and remained at the firm until 2015. Justice Gordon was appointed a Senior Counsel (now Queen’s Counsel) in 2008. She held the office of Deputy Prosecutor for the Pitcairn Islands from 2001 until 2014 when she was appointed Public Prosecutor for the Pitcairn islands. In 2015 Justice Gordon joined the independent bar and later that year was made Special Counsel at the Manukau Crown Solicitor’s office Kayes Fletcher Walker. Justice Gordon was appointed a High Court Judge on 8 December 2016 and is based in Auckland.
2017, based in Wellington
Justice Churchman graduated with an LLB (Hons) from Otago University in 1979 and also has an LLM from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, (USA) (1991). From 1980-82 he was with the firm of French Sons Burt & Co in Invercargill, then a solicitor with John Farry & Gowing, Dunedin being the sole litigation lawyer there. He became a partner in the firm of Jackson Lucas and Deuchrass (subsequently called Caudwells) in 1983 and, in 2000 became a senior litigation partner in the Wellington office of Kensington Swan.
Justice Churchman went to the independent bar in 2005 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2013. He was on the Crown Panel in Dunedin for 10 years. He also taught employment law for 10 years at the University of Otago. Justice Churchman is based at the High Court, Wellington.
2017, based in Auckland
Justice Jagose graduated with an LLB from the University of Auckland in 1987 and an MA in International Relations from Lancaster University, UK in 1989. He worked as legal advisor to Auckland trade unions until commencing employment with the firm of Chapman Tripp in Wellington in 1995, where he became a commercial litigation partner in 2000. Justice Jagose went to the separate bar in February 2016 and was appointed a High Court Judge in July 2017. He is based at the High Court, Auckland.
2017, based in Auckland
Justice van Bohemen graduated with an LLB (1st class honours) from Victoria University in 1979, as well as a BA in English. He was admitted to the bar in February 1980. He joined the Legal Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and worked there and at the New Zealand Mission to the United Nations at various times over the ensuing years. He was a Senior Solicitor at Russell McVeagh Auckland, a partner for 8 years in Buddle Findlay, Auckland and a partner in Chen Palmer in Wellington for 1 year. From 2005 to 2010, he was Director of the Legal Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and New Zealand’s International Legal Adviser. From June 2010 to April 2015 he was a Deputy Secretary at the Ministry, responsible for Multilateral and Legal Affairs. In May 2015 he took up the role as New Zealand’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York and was New Zealand’s representative on the Security Council. Justice van Bohemen was appointed a High Court Judge in August 2017. He is based at the High Court, Auckland.
2018, based in Wellington
Justice Grice graduated LLB (Hons) from the University of Canterbury. She joined the law firm of Fell and Harley, Nelson in 1978. She joined the team of Harkness Henry, Hamilton in 1981 and went into partnership leaving the firm in 2018. Justice Grice was involved mainly in commercial litigation but sat as a Judge of the High Court of the Cook Islands until 2018. She was President of the New Zealand Law Society from 2000-2003 and Executive Director from 2008 until her appointment as a Judge of the High Court. Justice Grice is based in Wellington.
2018, based in Auckland
The Hon Justice Powell won the Senior Prize in Law and Kensington Swan Scholarship in 1986. He graduated LLB (Hons) from Auckland University in 1987 and was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor in 1987. After working in the firm of Kensington Swan from 1987 to 1994 he moved to Tunnicliffe Walters Williams (later Walters Williams & Co) in 1994, and was a partner from 1996 until 2003. Justice Powell was a partner in Powell Webber & Associates from 2003 until 2011, following which he practised as a Barrister Sole up until his appointment as a District Court Judge in September 2013. Justice Powell was appointed a High Court Judge on 1 March 2018, and is based in Auckland.
2018, based in Wellington
The Hon Justice Cooke becomes the third generation of his family to be appointed to the bench. Justice Cooke graduated LLB (Hons) from Victoria University in 1989 and LLM from the University of Cambridge, UK in 1990. He was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor in 1990 and after a period of working in London with the international law firm Ashurst Morris Crisp as a foreign solicitor, was employed by Chapman Tripp from 1992-94. He went to the independent bar in 1994 and was appointed a Queen’s Council in 2004. Justice Cooke was appointed a High Court Judge on 24 April 2018 and is based in Wellington.
2018, based in Christchurch
The Hon Justice Osborne graduated with an LLB(Hons) from the University of Canterbury in 1975 and an LLM in 1980. He practised as a solicitor in Christchurch from 1976 before travelling overseas in 1980 to spend five years as a Crown Counsel, then Senior Crown Counsel, with the Hong Kong Government. He was a partner at Duncan Cotterill for 21 years and then moved to the independent bar in 2007. In the later part of his practising career he worked primarily in civil/commercial and trust litigation, and professional discipline. Justice Osborne was appointed as an Associate Judge in 2009 and was appointed as a Judge of the High Court in 2018. Justice Osborne is based in Christchurch.
2018, based in Auckland
The Hon Justice Gault graduated with LLB(Hons) from Victoria University in 1987 while employed as a Judges’ Clerk for judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal. In 1988 he travelled to the UK to study, graduating with an LLM from the University of Cambridge in 1989 and joining the London office of international law firm Clifford Chance in the same year. In 1993, he returned to New Zealand and the Auckland office of Bell Gully, joining the partnership in 1997. He specialised in commercial dispute resolution and regulatory proceedings. Justice Gault was admitted as a solicitor in New South Wales in 2001 and is a Commissioned Officer (Major) in the New Zealand Defence Force Reserves. Justice Gault was appointed a Judge of the High Court in 2018 and he is based in Auckland.
2019, based in Auckland
Justice Tracey Walker graduated LLB/BA from Auckland University in 1988 and LLM (London) in 1991. After working at Slaughter and May in London, she returned to Simpson Grierson in 1993. She was a partner of Simpson Grierson between 1997 and 2014 and then special counsel with that firm. Justice Walker moved to the bar in 2019 and co-founded Sangro Chambers. She was appointed a High Court Judge in April 2019 and is based in Auckland.
2019, based in Auckland
Justice Gwyn graduated with a BA and LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1979. Following a period working as a knife hand at the Hawkes Bay Farmers Meat Co freezing works at Whakatu in the Hawkes bay and then a role as Investigating Officer at the Office of the Race Relations Conciliator, in 1986 she commenced work with the Auckland office of Chapman Tripp. Justice Gwyn spent ten years at Chapman Tripp, initially as a solicitor and then as a partner, specialising in civil litigation. Justice Gwyn subsequently joined the Wellington office of Russell McVeagh as a civil litigation partner, with an emphasis on employment law.
Justice Gwyn is a former Deputy Secretary for Justice (Public Law) and was then for eleven years Deputy Solicitor-General (Attorney-General’s Group) at the Crown Law Office where she oversaw the work of the Office’s Constitutional, Human Rights and Treaty of Waitangi teams.
In the period 2014-2019 Justice Gwyn was Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, before her appointment to the High Court in August 2019. Justice Gwyn is based in Auckland.
2019, based in Wellington
Justice Doogue was appointed a Judge of the High Court in August 2019. She graduated from Auckland University in 1981 with an LLB. She became a partner of Cairns Slane in 1986 and then joined Morrison Kent as a partner in 1990. She then joined William Martin Chambers in 1993. She was appointed a District and Family Court Judge in July 1994 and was appointed Chief District Court Judge in September 2011.
Associate Judges of the High Court