Well-known law reformer Janice Lowe died in Wellington in October 2008 aged 72.
After graduating from Victoria University of Wellington with an MA in French with first class honours and an honours degree in law from Oxford University, she worked for a law firm in London, then for the Department of External Affairs on her return to New Zealand.
However, it was in the law reform division of the Department of Justice that Janice Lowe made her significant contribution to the law in this country. From 1970, she worked as a legal adviser in the division, then as a senior legal adviser. In 1981, she became Chief Legal Adviser and head of the law reform division.
She played a key role in developing such legislation as the Matrimonial Property Act 1976, the Family Proceedings Act 1980 and the Human Rights Commission Act 1977. During the time she headed the division, she helped implement the Official Information Act 1982, the Constitution Act 1986, the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and the Electoral Act 1993. She also made a key contribution to the development of the Human Rights Act 1993.
Janice Lowe was Chief Legal Adviser until September 1995, when the Department of Justice was restructured.
This obituary was first published in LawTalk 723, 16 February 2009, page 4.