The Herald reports:
Justice Helen Winkelmann will be the new Supreme Court Chief Justice, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced at her post-Cabinet press conference today.
Justice Winkelmann will replace retiring Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, who is leaving the role in March next year, having reached the compulsory retirement age of 70 for judges. …
Winkelmann graduated with a law degree from the University of Auckland and was admitted to the Bar in 1985, when she was also awarded the Auckland District Law Society Centenary Prize for Best Graduate.
She was a partner at Phillips Fox (now DLA Piper) from 1988 until she became a barrister sole in May 2001, specialising in insolvency and commercial litigation.
She was appointed a High Court Judge in July 2004 and appointed as Chief High Court Judge in February 2010.
She joined the Court of Appeal bench in June 2015.
I blogged last month that Justice Winkelmann was one of the leading contenders. I said:
A judge for 14 years including three years on the Court of Appeal. Was Chief High Court Judge for five years. A very popular Judge with her colleagues. However has had a lot of decisions over-turned on appeal, especially in the Kim Dotcom cases.
Kim Dotcom has tweeted his approval of the appointment, but I don’t think one should let that colour what is a very sound decision.
In fact I suspect Chief Justice Winkelmann will be in the minority far less than Chief Justice Elias who just this week used tortured reasoning to conclude that far far more of the Electoral Act is entrenched, despite the fact all the legislative history was clearly saying the opposite. It screamed of trying to find a legal basis for a personal preference against a law change enacted by Parliament. None of her colleagues thought the appeal had any merit.
Winkelmann is aged 56, so will be the 13th Chief Justice until around 2032.