New Zealand Law Society - Our Profession, Our People

Our Profession, Our People

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Former Appeal Court Judge Justice Douglas White QC has been appointed President of the Law Commission. Justice White was appointed as a part-time Law Commissioner in February. He succeeds Sir Grant Hammond, who has stepped down after nearly six years in the role. New Zealand Law Society President Kathryn Beck has welcomed Justice White’s appointment. “This continues a distinguished legal career, as a Judge of the High Court from August 2009 and of the Court of Appeal from February 2012 until September 2015, in practice as a Queen’s Counsel specialising in civil litigation, and academically through his long association with Victoria University,” she says. “He is still a member of the Cook Islands Court of Appeal. It also needs to be noted that Justice White was a long-time advisor to the New Zealand Law Society before his appointment to the bench. During this time he gave invaluable counsel, advice and support to the benefit of the legal profession and also to everyone involved in the justice system.” Ms Beck has also paid tribute to the retiring Law Commission President Sir Grant Hammond. “The Law Commission has maintained its very high standards of scholarship and leadership of law reform with Sir Grant as President,” she says. “His willingness to engage and consult with all sectors of the community and his organisation’s ability to confront and explain sometimes difficult and controversial legal issues have been greatly appreciated.”

Hamilton lawyer Philip Crayton has been appointed an Acting District Court Judge in Whanganui. Judge Crayton will hold a jury warrant and will be sworn in on 14 June in Hamilton. Following his call to the bar in England and Wales in 1985, Mr Crayton practised as a barrister in the United Kingdom. He then moved to New Zealand and was admitted in 2001. He was a senior staff solicitor with Almao Kellaway Barristers & Solicitors and became a partner of Almao Douch in 2004. He has practised in the criminal jurisdiction with occasional appearances in the Family Court and Youth Court.

Auckland barrister Sanjay Patel has been appointed an Acting District Court Judge in Manukau. Judge Patel will hold a jury warrant and will be sworn in on 22 June in Manukau. Mr Patel began his career in a general practice in 1992. After 12 months he moved to Davenports in Henderson carrying out general civil litigation, criminal and employment work. In 1996 he moved to Corban Revell where he remained until 1999 when he became a barrister sole specialising in criminal defence litigation.

Wellington barrister Christopher Griggs was elected President of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand (ICCNZ) at the ICCNZ’s annual general meeting held in Wellington on 3 May. Mr Griggs was previously an ICCNZ Councillor and succeeds Wellington lawyer Michael Stephens who has been President since 2014. Mr Stephens remains on the ICCNZ Council as a Councillor and Immediate Past President. Mr Griggs has been the honorary legal adviser to ICCNZ since joining the Council in 2015 and was recently appointed to the List of Counsel of the International Criminal Court (ICC). He is only the third New Zealander to be appointed.

One of New Zealand’s well-known authorities on criminal justice reform and corrections policy, Kim Workman, has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Victoria University. Of Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa and Rangitaane descent, Dr Workman has held numerous positions in the criminal justice sector throughout his 57-year career and continues to be a nationwide spokesman for just, humane and effective criminal justice strategies. Following three decades in the public sector, Dr Workman became the national director of Prison Fellowship New Zealand, co-launched the nationally significant Rethinking Crime and Punishment project, and more recently was involved in establishing JustSpeak, a national youth movement advocating positive reform in the criminal justice system. Dr Workman was conferred the degree of Doctor of Literature on 19 May.

Legal Innovation Index

Entries have opened for the 2016 Legal Innovation Index, the annual celebration of legal industry game changers, now in its fourth year. The index is inviting individuals, teams and firms who are disrupting and recreating the practice of law, from across Australia and New Zealand, to submit their entries between now and mid-July.

The index this year will again celebrate individual innovators, legal firms and in-house legal departments and the innovation they display in the development of their businesses, the way they deliver their services and how they teach and mentor.

Judged by innovation and legal experts from across Australia and the world, the 2016 Legal Innovation Index will be announced on 24 August by LexisNexis® Pacific and Janders Dean.

Entries close on 17 July. To enter go to

Roslyn Scholarship

First-year Otago University law student Bridget Newman is the inaugural recipient of The Roslyn Scholarship.

The scholarship was established in 2015, due to the generosity of the TMR Family Trust, with the goal of assisting future students to reach their full potential through the study of law.

The scholarship is offered to undergraduate students enrolled to study first-year law at Otago University. The application criteria requires applicants to demonstrate a clear passion towards studying law at Otago, while also recognising the career potential of a law degree outside the practice of law.

Bridget is in her first year of study towards an LLB and BSc in genetics.

YMCA appoints first female acting CEO

YMCA New Zealand has appointed Tauranga lawyer Arama Ngāpō-Lipscombe as its first female Acting National CEO.

Ms Ngāpō-Lipscombe has spent her career advocating for children and families in New Zealand courts.

Of Marutuahu, Ngati Tamatera, Ngati Pukenga, Ngati Porou ki Harataunga and Irish and Scottish decent, Ms Ngāpō-Lipscombe is the first Māori woman appointed to the Chief Executive role at YMCA New Zealand.

“YMCA NZ is currently working on a robust child protection policy that will be implemented throughout our Associations,” she says.

“The child protection policy will give every parent and caregiver peace of mind that children and youth in our care are our main priority. We strive to be New Zealand’s most prominent child safe organisation.

“Every child that walks through the YMCA doors are our taonga (treasures), and it is why we put our children and young people at the centre of everything we do. We expect our associations to be child safe and committed to this practice.”

The YMCA both nationally and internationally is a not-for-profit organisation. It currently has associations in 13 cities and towns across New Zealand.

Its mission is to build strong kids, strong families and strong communities. The children’s programmes alone cater for over 20,000 children nationwide.

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