New Zealand Law Society - Sir James Douglas Hutchison, 1895 - 1981

Sir James Douglas Hutchison, 1895 - 1981

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Sir Douglas Hutchison, a former Supreme (now High) Court judge, died in Wellington on 21 July 1981, aged 86.

After graduating from Victoria University with an LLB, Sir Douglas was admitted to the bar on 20 April 1920. He practised in Carterton and Christchurch prior to his appointment to the then Supreme Court bench in 1948. He served as President of the Canterbury District Law Society in 1938 and was also on the New Zealand Law Society Council in 1938/39. He was on the New Zealand Law Society disciplinary committee from 1938 to 1947.

A keen sportsman, Sir Douglas was knighted in 1959.

During his 17 years’ service on the bench he was Acting Chief Justice several times and twice acted as Administrator during the absence from New Zealand of both the Governor-General and the Chief Justice. He retired from the bench in 1965.

In 1970, he was appointed chairman of the commission of inquiry into the proposal to raise the level of Lake Manapouri. In the same year, he was also appointed Commissioner of Security Appeals to inquire into complaints by citizens that their livelihood was adversely affected by an act or omission of the Security Intelligence Service.

This obituary was published in LawTalk 132, 7 August 1981, page 6.

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