Who has appointed the Judges?

An interesting tidbit that I discovered recently is has recommended to the Governor-General for appointedment every single member of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, bar the Chief Justice.

Here is the breakdown for each court:

  • Supreme Court – Finlayson has appointed five Justices. CJ Elias (appointed by Shipley) retires in 2018 so Bill English may get to appoint her replacement.
  • Court of Appeal – Finlayson has appointed all 10 Justices
  • High Court – Finlayson has appointed 26 Justices, 14 were appointed under Labour. The Chief HC Judge was made a Judge under Labour but made Chief under Finlayson

Quite unusual to have one Attorney-General appoint all but one Justice of the two top courts. This is partially a reflection of the fact we have a retirement age for judges (unlike the US) but also that Finlayson has been Attorney-General for so long.

The longest serving AGs since 1930s have been:

  1. Rex Mason 17 years
  2. Ralph Hanan 8 1/2 years
  3. Chris Finlayson 8 years
  4. Paul East 7 years
  5. Jim McLay 6 years
  6. Clifton Webb 5 years
  7. Geoffrey Palmer 5 years
  8. Margaret Wilson 4 1/2 years

So Chris is likely to become the second longest serving AG next year. I doubt anyone will ever bear Rex Mason’s record.

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