This obituary is based on the eulogy Bob Narev gave at Stuart Ennor’s funeral.
New Zealand Law Society counsel and legal adviser for the last 20 years, Stuart Ennor died last month in Auckland aged 73.
Born in Auckland, Stuart Ennor began part-time studies in law when he was 16, qualifying at the early age of 20. He commenced his legal career with Trimmer & Teape and then joined his uncle Harold Ennor and John Kiff in 1949 to head their litigation department, staying to give 50 years’ service to the firm now known as Glaister Ennor.
In a eulogy at his funeral, friend and fellow Glaister Ennor partner of 40 years Bob Narev described Stuart Ennor as “a doyen of our profession and a giant of the New Zealand Bar”.
His early years involved criminal and civil litigation, with emphasis on personal injury and workers’ compensation claims. With the advent of the accident compensation scheme, he turned his skills to matrimonial property claims, professional indemnity cases and major civil matters such as JBL, Securitibank and Equiticorp and the Sinclair Inquiry in Australia.
“However, it was as senior counsel for the Auckland and New Zealand Law Societies that Stuart made his most noteworthy contribution to our profession,” Bob Narev said. He took over as counsel in 1979 and provided outstanding service and advice for the following two decades.
One of his most notable commitments to the New Zealand Law Society was his involvement with the Renshaw Edwards case which Bob Narev said was “synonymous with the diligence, skills and prodigious output which characterised all of Stuart’s work”.
He quoted Jock Nicolson, writing on behalf of the New Zealand Law Society in relation to that case, as saying that the NZLS could not have dealt with the issue but for his outstanding efforts as counsel and adviser. Jock Nicolson had written:
“His sound and unswerving advice of an outstanding standard has been available to us over a long period. Not only has the quality of this advice been exceptional but the speed and efficiency which was apparent at all times complemented that quality. Those of us who have been involved in law society affairs where Stuart has acted as counsel have constantly admired his skills and abilities.”
Jock Nicolson went on to write that his legal abilities were equalled only by his humanity and warmth as a person.
Bob Narev spoke of the amazing capacity for work, keen intellect and absolute clarity of thought which enabled Stuart Ennor to do “efficiently and successfully what his colleagues invariably found awe-inspiring”.
“This was combined with absolute integrity, an unwillingness to compromise his high standards and an unfailing courtesy towards both friend and foe, so that even those unsuccessful against him invariably continued to respect the man who may have been a prosecutor but never a persecutor.”
He said Stuart Ennor’s great advocacy skills were also recognised by overseas bodies which made him a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and conferred upon him “the rare distinction” of a Fellowship of the International Society of Barristers.
In the academic sphere, he contributed to the revision of the law on defamation and torts and matrimonial property and to the current Rules of the High Court. He also wrote the sections on Law Practitioners and Religion and the Churches for The Laws of New Zealand.
Outside the law, Stuart Ennor worked with various Auckland youth and church organisations and Bob Narev described him as a good friend and “a man who could at any time during his illustrious career have taken silk as a Queen’s Counsel or accepted the several offers of appointment to the High Court Bench, but instead chose to stay with his partners, to our great benefit, because as he put it, he enjoyed working with us”.
To many people’s surprise, Stuart Ennor married for the first time when he was 61, his wife Brenda being the first qualified woman lawyer to work at Glaister Ennor. Their only child, Laura, was born in September this year.
This obituary was first published in LawTalk 532, December 1999, page 4.