Justice Susan Thomas is to be congratulated on her appointment as Chief High Court Judge, New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa President Tiana Epati says.
“The High Court Te Kōti Matua o Aotearoa is our only court of general jurisdiction. It has been part of our country since 1841. The Chief High Court Judge is responsible for ensuring the orderly and efficient conduct of the High Court's business, and that is an important role which demands someone with a comprehensive understanding of the judicial role, and of the needs of everyone who is touched by our justice system.
“Justice Thomas’ time as a District Court Judge will add to the depth of experience as a member of the judiciary in two of the busiest courts in Aotearoa. In her time as a lawyer she worked in private practice here and abroad and also as an in-house lawyer. Her work in establishing the Special Circumstances Court in Wellington to take a non-adversarial and inclusive approach to homeless offenders demonstrates we have someone who will bring practical experience, insight and compassion to the role.”
Ms Epati has also paid tribute to the Chief Judge Justice Venning who has resigned from the role to return to full-time judging.
“Since his appointment to the High Court as a Master – now Associate Judge – in 1995, Justice Venning has spent 25 years on the High Court bench. From 1 June 2015 he has been Chief High Court Judge. This has been a time of change in all courts, and he has overseen developments in electronic filing and delivery of documents as well as introduction of the Commercial Panel under the Senior Courts Act 2016, implementation of the High Court Rules 2016, and centralisation of High Court circuit work.
“His contribution to our justice system and to our highest court of first instance is applauded. As our country battles COVID-19, his leadership of that court has been visible and authoritative. It is pleasing that he will remain a member of the High Court judiciary after his retirement as Chief High Court Judge.”