New Zealand Law Society - The Honourable Justice William Young

The Honourable Justice William Young

The Honourable Justice William Young

We farewell one of New Zealand's most highly regarded and longest serving jurists who served on the Supreme Court for twelve years.

The final sitting of the Honourable Justice William Young was held on 13 April 2022 at the Supreme Court, presided over by Chief Justice Dame Helen Winkelmann.

The ceremonial sitting provided an opportunity to publicly acknowledge Justice William Young’s distinguished career as a jurist, and the service he has given to the courts since first being appointed as a Judge of the High Court in 1997.

Addressing the Court was the Attorney General, Hon David Parker, the President of the Law Society, Jacque Lethbridge, and Maria Dew QC, President-elect of the New Zealand Bar Association. Also in attendance was the President of the Court of Appeal (Justice Stephen Kós), the Chief High Court Judge (Justice Susan Thomas), the Chief Judge of the Employment Court (Judge Christina Inglis), the Chief District Court Judge (Judge Heemi Taumaunu) and Judges of the Court of Appeal and High Court.

Justice William Young graduated from the University of Canterbury in 1974 with an LLB with first class honours and was awarded the Gold Medal in Law by the then Canterbury District Law Society for being the top graduating law student in his year.

Justice William Young then completed a PhD at Cambridge University before returning to New Zealand to practise law in Christchurch. He was a partner in the firm RA Young Hunter & Co, before commencing practice as a barrister in 1988. He was appointed as a Queen’s Counsel in 1991. He became a High Court Judge in 1997, was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2004, and became President of that Court in 2006. He was promoted to the Supreme Court in 2010. From April 2019 to November 2020, Justice William Young served as chair of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the 15 March 2019 terrorist Attack on Christchurch masjidain.