New Zealand Law Society

Navigation menu

People in the Law

13 February 2014

District Court Judge Susan Thomas has been appointed a High Court Judge and will sit in Auckland. Justice Thomas was sworn in on 31 January in Christchurch. Justice Thomas graduated with a BA and LLB (Hons) from Auckland University in 1982 and joined Auckland firm Holden Horrocks as a solicitor. The following year she travelled to London and was admitted in England and Wales, working mainly in private practice acting for a large development company undertaking major property developments, and also spending two years as an in-house counsel for Marks and Spencer PLC, then the United Kingdom’s largest and most profitable retailer. On her return to New Zealand in 1995, Justice Thomas joined Minter Ellison Rudd Watts as a senior associate working primarily in commercial property, construction and resource management. She was made a partner of that firm the following year. In 2005 she was appointed a District Court Judge. During her time as a judge she has been involved in solution-focused judging and in 2012 started a Special Circumstances Court in Wellington to focus on the most challenged and marginalised offenders.

Auckland barrister Warwick Smith has been appointed an Associate Judge of the High Court and will sit in Wellington. Associate Judge Smith graduated with a BA/LLB from Otago University. He was admitted in 1974 and commenced work as a solicitor with John O’Neill & Devereux in Dunedin, where he had been employed as a law clerk for the previous two years. In 1976 he relocated to Auckland and joined Earl Kent Massey Palmer & Hamer, where he remained until 1979 when he left to take up a position as an associate with Alexander Bennett Warnock & Mellsop. He was admitted to the partnership of that firm in 1981 and was also a partner of Earl Kent Alexander Bennett when Alexander Bennett Warnock & Mellsop merged with Earl Kent Massey Palmer & Hamer in the late 1980s. Associate Judge Smith left that firm in 1989 when he was invited to join the partnership of Chapman Tripp Sheffield Young. Since 2000 Associate Judge Smith has been practising as a barrister sole in Bankside Chambers, specialising in intellectual property and general commercial litigation. In 2008 and 2009 Associate Judge Smith spent a year in London completing a LLM course at the University College London. He is a Fellow and Arbitration Panel Member of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand and a member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s world-wide panel deciding complaints under ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.

Wellington lawyer Sarah Bacon has been appointed to the Copyright Tribunal for a term of three years. Mrs Bacon will join Professor Susy Frankel (chair), Paul Sumpter, Peter Dengate-Thrush, Jane Glover and Warwick Smith on the tribunal. A consultant at Izard Weston, Mrs Bacon is a litigation lawyer with particular experience in media law, public law and intellectual property. She is also a trustee of the 2020 Communications Trust.

Pegasus Scholars

Lawyers Holly Hedley, Rina See and Tim Cochrane have been awarded New Zealand Pegasus Scholarships for 2014.

Ms Hedley has been working in the specialist health litigation team at Buddle Findlay in Wellington since she graduated from Otago University. “I have a real passion for health law … and I hope to use my time in London as a Pegasus Scholar to gain further experience working in health related litigation,” she says. 

A graduate of Auckland University, Rina See is a solicitor with Meredith Connell in Auckland. Before that, she was a judge’s clerk.

She has asked to follow barristers in London who are involved in criminal or regulatory work.

Mr Cochrane, also an Otago University graduate, is an associate at Kensington Swan in Wellington. “The Pegasus will allow me to work in a top barristers’ chambers in London for a period of six weeks to develop my experience and networks,” he says. 

The Inner Temple, one of the Inns of Court in London, established the Pegasus Scholarship Trust in 1987 with the aim of building links between the legal professions of the many countries in the world who live under the common law system.

Top in Australasia

International management consultancy, the Boston Consulting Group, has awarded a $15,000 scholarship to Auckland University law student Brierley Penn.

It is the third successive year the scholarship has been won by an Auckland University student and Brierley was the top applicant from Australia and New Zealand.

Ms Penn is completing a conjoint LLB (Hons) and B Com, and has also completed a Certificate in French. Her scholarship comes with a job offer at BCG in Sydney and Ms Penn will take up the opportunity to work for the company. 

Last updated on the 17th March 2016