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Two Wellington QCs die

Two Wellington Queen's Counsel have died.

Helen Aikman QC died in Wellington on 18 January. Ms Aikman was admitted to the bar in 1982 after completing an LLB (Hons) from Victoria University. She worked as a staff solicitor for Buddle Findlay and Tripe Matthews Feist until 1988 before spending a year as a researcher for the Law Commission.

Ms Aikman became a barrister in 1989,  then moved overseas to work as Principal State Solicitor in Samoa in 1992-93. She returned to New Zealand in 1994 to work at the Crown Law Office and represented the Crown in many Waitangi Tribunal hearings. She was appointed Deputy Solicitor-General (Constitutional) in 2002 and left Crown Law in 2004 to recommence practice as a barrister.

She was appointed Queen's Counsel on 19 July 2005 and was a Law Commissioner from 2005 to 2008, where she was responsible for projects on Maori governance and custom and human rights in the Pacific.

Ms Aikman was a co-presenter of New Zealand Law Society seminars on judicial review and also lectured at Victoria University in Public Law. She was a member of a number of Law Society committees and was a Council member of the Wellington District Law Society in 2003-04.

George Tanner CNZM QC died in Lower Hutt on 17 January. Mr Tanner was admitted to the bar in 1969 after completing an LLB from Victoria University. He worked in private practice before joining Crown Law as a Crown Counsel.

In 1981 Mr Tanner joined the Parliamentary Counsel Office as a parliamentary counsel. He was responsible for drafting a wide range of legislation, particularly relating to the privatisation and restructuring of a number of institutions, and also worked on commercial and company law reform. In 1992 he was appointed Deputy Chief Parliamentary Counsel and became Chief Parliamentary Counsel in 1996. He led the Parliamentary Counsel Office through major changes, including to the style and format of legislation plus the major Public Access to Legislation (PAL) project.

Upon his retirement from the Office in 2007 Mr Tanner was appointed a Law Commissioner, a position he held at his death. At the Law Commission he led the major review of trusts law and was a key participant in the statutes revision project and land transfer law review. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2002 and made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to law, in 2008.

Last updated on the 6th July 2016