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Two new High Court Judges appointed

10 August 2016

Auckland lawyers Mathew Downs and Sally Fitzgerald have been appointed Judges of the High Court. Both will sit in Auckland.

Justice Downs graduated with an LLB(Hons) from Otago University in 1993, an LLM(Hons) from Cambridge University in 2001 and a Doctorate in Law from Otago University in 2011. He was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the New Zealand High Court in September 1994.

He joined the Crown Law Office in 1994, taking up a position as a prosecutor in the Palmerston North Crown Solicitor's office in 1996. He remained there until he joined the Auckland Crown Solicitor's office Meredith Connell in 2003. Justice Downs returned to Crown Law in early 2005 as a Crown Counsel in the Criminal Law Team. In 2013 he was promoted to the position of Senior Crown Counsel. 

Justice Downs has specialised in criminal law and has appeared extensively in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. He has also been a guest lecturer at the universities of Auckland and Otago.

Justice Fitzgerald graduated with an LLB(Senior Scholar) from Victoria University of Wellington in 1992.

Admitted in September 1992, Justice Fitzgerald joined the Wellington office of Russell McVeagh as a solicitor before taking up a position in 1994 at Clifford Chance, London practising in the area of international dispute resolution. 

She became a senior solicitor at Debevoise and Plimpton, London in 1998 before returning to Russell McVeagh in 2001. In 2003 Justice Fitzgerald joined the Australian law firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques. She returned to New Zealand at the end of 2006 and joined the partnership of Russell McVeagh where she is currently a member of the Board of Management.   

Justice Fitzgerald has specialised in complex commercial dispute resolution, including regulatory investigations and proceedings, tax litigation, and arbitration law and practice. She has appeared in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

Last updated on the 16th September 2019