New Zealand Law Society - Our Profession, Our People

Our Profession, Our People

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Judge Andrew Becroft has been appointed as the new Children’s Commissioner. Judge Becroft, who is currently New Zealand’s Principal Youth Court Judge, will take up the role in July. Judge Becroft, who has been appointed full-time for a two-year term, will also provide advice on how the role of the Children’s Commissioner may evolve as the new operating model for care and protection is implemented. In order to take up the new position Judge Becroft will resign from his position as Principal Youth Court Judge, and will be on secondment from his duties as a District Court judge. Judge Becroft was appointed a District Court Judge in 1996 and appointed to the role of Principal Youth Court Judge in 2001. He assisted with the establishment of the Mangere Community Law Centre, and worked as a criminal barrister in South Auckland until his appointment to the District Court bench, sitting in Whanganui. Judge Becroft is the Patron of the New Zealand Speak Easy Association Inc, which assists those with various forms of speech impediment, and chairs the board of the Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship (NZ) Inc. He is married with three children, aged 20, 19 and 15.

Kevin Kelly of Wellington has been appointed an Acting District Court Judge. He will be sworn in on 24 May in Wellington and will sit in Wellington. Mr Kelly has been Deputy Secretary Treaty and Director Office of Treaty Settlements at the Ministry of Justice since 2012. From 2009 to 2012 he held senior legal positions within New Zealand Police, including Chief Legal Advisor. He previously held senior positions within Land Information NZ, Ministry of Economic Development, State Services Commission and Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Judge Kelly has also been appointed as chairperson of the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority.

Whanganui Crown Solicitor Lance Rowe has been appointed an Acting District Court Judge with a jury warrant to be based in Palmerston North. Judge Rowe will be sworn in on 9 June in Whanganui. Mr Rowe was appointed Crown Solicitor for Whanganui in 2008 and has prosecuted numerous jury trials and cases in the District Court and High Court. Before 2008 he practised primarily as a criminal defence trial lawyer. A former New Zealand Law Society Whanganui branch President, Mr Rowe is chairperson of the Life to the Max Trust, a programme which engages with children and their families to prevent offending in the Whanganui community.

Auckland barrister Alan Goodwin has been appointed an Acting District Court Judge with a Family Court warrant to be based in Manukau. Judge Goodwin will be sworn in on 21 June in Auckland. Mr Goodwin was a solicitor in London, practising in family law, housing law and serious crime. He immigrated to New Zealand in 1994 and has since practised exclusively in family law. Mr Goodwin is a barrister sole based at Eden Street Chambers. He was previously a managing partner at Corban Revell Lawyers in Auckland. Mr Goodwin is also a Family Dispute Resolution approved mediator and a private mediator.

New Zealand lawyer Sean Rush has become the first resident New Zealander to be represented on the Board of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN). Mr Rush hopes to use the appointment to promote the benefits of AIPN membership for commercial and legal negotiators in New Zealand’s petroleum sector. AIPN has 4,500 members worldwide. Mr Rush’s firm, Spindletop Law, is New Zealand’s only boutique oil and gas legal practice. Established in Wellington in 2014, Spindletop focuses on oil and gas joint ventures, acquisitions, developments, gas sales, disputes. Starting out as a Hawke’s Bay criminal lawyer in 1992, Mr Rush’s OE in 1994 led him into the petroleum sector; initially in London, followed by the Middle East, Canada and back to London. He returned to New Zealand in 2013 as Todd Energy’s upstream commercial manager. Mr Rush has maintained his English law practising certificate and has reconnected with his former law firm, Memery Crystal LLP in London, as a specialist consultant English law solicitor to advise their oil and gas clients.

Wellington lawyer John McCay has been appointed to the board of NZ On Air. A partner of Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, with experience in corporate and commercial law, he is a sport, technology, media and entertainment lawyer and has been involved in a range of New Zealand feature films including Whale Rider, World’s Fastest Indian and In My Fathers Den. He also works in intellectual property, confidentiality and trade secrets. Previously chair of Film New Zealand and a trustee of the New Zealand Arts Festival and the New Zealand Film and Television School, Mr McCay has been a board member of the New Zealand Film Commission since 2015. He is currently a trustee for the Wellington Arts Foundation and Limbs4all Trust.

Kieron McCarron has been temporarily appointed Manager and Registrar of the Supreme Court. He succeeds Gordon Thatcher, who retired on 29 April. Kieron moved to the role from being Chief Advisor Legal and Policy at the Judicial Office for Higher Courts. He has over 20 years’ experience in the justice sector and was the first office solicitor at the former Department for Courts. In 2001 he joined the Office of the Chief Justice, and subsequently the Judicial Office for Higher Courts.

Lawlink celebrates 30 years

Lawlink, a network of law firms established in May 1986, celebrated its 30th birthday at its 2016 conference, held in Dunedin on 15 and 16 April.

One of the birthday celebrations was the cutting of a birthday cake.

This year’s conference featured a line-up of speakers that included Dr Adam Fraser, Dr Bob Murray, Dr Neil Oakes and well-known Dunedin tech guru Ian Taylor.

Lawlink is a network of 17 law firms from around New Zealand who share ideas, resources and business processes. By harnessing and enhancing best practices from around the Lawlink network, each firm is able to effectively support its people to be better lawyers and to deliver a great client experience – every time!

Three lawyers win prestigious scholarship

Three lawyers are among the eight 2016 recipients of the prestigious William Georgetti Scholarship for postgraduate study.

The scholarship aims to create opportunities for the “best brains” to undertake postgraduate study and research in a field that is important to New Zealand’s social, cultural or economic development. The scholarship is administered by Universities New Zealand and this year over $400,000 was awarded.

In making the announcement, Professor Lucy Johnston, chair of the selection panel, says the panel was impressed by the academic calibre and commitment to New Zealand’s future demonstrated by all eight scholars.

David Bullock has been awarded $38,000 for one year towards his LLM at Yale University in the United States. He holds a LLB (Hons)/B Com in Economics from Victoria University. He is a former Judges Clerk to the Chief Justice and is currently a solicitor at LeeSalmonLong, a specialist litigation firm in Auckland. After Yale, David hopes to encourage international debate in environmental law.

Bree Huntley has been awarded $69,000 for one year to study an LLM at Harvard University in the United States, specialising in administrative and constitutional law. She is interested in the reform of New Zealand’s public law related to delegated legislation. Bree has a BA/LLB (Hons), from Auckland University. She previously worked as a Judges Clerk to the Chief Justice and is currently a barrister with Thorndon Chambers in Wellington.

Alice Osman has been awarded $61,000 for one year to study an LLM at Harvard University in the United States. She will focus on New Zealand’s class action regime as a way to improve access to justice and minimise the disadvantage faced by lay litigants. Alice has a BA/LLB (Hons) from Otago University. She was a Judges Clerk in the High Court before becoming a junior barrister with Stout Street Chambers in Wellington.

Auckland lawyer on global diversity list

Auckland lawyer Mai Chen is one of two New Zealanders who have been named on The Economist’s Top 50 Global Diversity List.

Ms Chen is listed in the Top 50 Diversity Figures in Public Life, a category that recognises the achievements of individuals who have used their position in public life to make an impact in diversity. The Global Diversity List is affiliated with the Global Diversity Awards, which produces the annual European Diversity Awards.

Ms Chen is chair of the Superdiversity Centre for Law, Policy and Business. She is also managing partner at Chen Palmer Partners, chair of New Zealand Asian Leaders, Adjunct Professor for the Law Faculty at Auckland University and a director of the BNZ.
The Global Diversity List states that Ms Chen is championing the role of diverse New Zealanders noting “that by 2035 some 50% of her country will be of Asian, Māori or Pasifika descent”.

The other New Zealander listed is Philip Patston, managing director of Diversity New Zealand Ltd, who was named in the top 10 diversity consultants.

For more information on the Global Diversity List, see

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