A 6th Supreme Court Justice

Chris Finlayson announced:

The Honourable Justice Dame Ellen France has been appointed a Judge of the and the Honourable Justice Stephen Kós will replace her as President of the Court of Appeal, Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson announced today.

The Honourable Justice Raynor Asher and the Honourable Justice Brendan Brown have been appointed Judges of the Court of Appeal.

Justice Ellen France graduated from Auckland University in 1981 and completed her Masters at Queen’s University in Ontario in 1983. After working at the Department of Justice, she joined Crown Law in 1992 and was appointed Team Leader of the Treaty Team in 1993. She was later Team Leader of the Bill of Rights Team before being appointed Deputy Solicitor-General (Public Law) in 1998.

Justice Ellen France was appointed a High Court Judge in 2002, a Judge of the Court of Appeal in 2006 and President of the Court of Appeal in 2014.

The Supreme Court Act says there will be five or six Justices (including the CJ). The normal practice has been five, but six is allowed. Will at least stop any 3-2 decisions!

The Law Society has pointed out:

The appointment of Dame Ellen France to the Supreme Court means that men and women are equally represented on our highest court, New Zealand Law Society President Kathryn Beck says.

Dame Ellen’s appointment from 22 July will mean the Supreme Court has a bench of three men and three women.

“As far as we can determine, no other common law jurisdiction has equal gender balance on its highest court. Judicial appointments are made on merit, and it is encouraging that the near-equal numbers of male and female lawyers in New Zealand are reflected on the Supreme Court.

The balance in other countries is:

  • US – 4M/3W
  • UK – 11M/1W
  • Australia – 4M/3W
  • Canada – 6M/3W
  • Ireland – 5M/4W

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