New Chief Justice to be appointed

With the current Chief Justice Dame Sian Eliasretiring in March the Government is starting to look for a replacement.

Stuff:  The hunt for New Zealand’s next chief justice begins

The Government has opened up applications to head New Zealand’s judicial system, with the Prime Minister looking to recommend the next Chief Justice by the year’s end.

It would be the first appointment of a Chief Justice since New Zealand established the Supreme Court, in a break away from the United Kingdom’s Privy Council.

Dame Sian Elias has held the position since 1999 – a time when the Privy Council was at the apex of New Zealand’s court structure.

Elias is set to retire from the role in March, and while a replacement was ultimately appointed by the governor-general, it was on the recommendation of the prime minister.

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has laid out a detailed appointment process – first led by the solicitor general – to distance it from recent high-profile and highly political Supreme Court appointments in the United States.

Solicitor-General Una Jagose will lead the work to produce a shortlist of suitable candidates for submission to the prime minister. Ardern said she would then consult the outgoing chief justice before making her recommendation to Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy.

The Opposition would also likely be consulted at various points throughout the process.

“Given the significance of the role of Chief Justice in New Zealand’s constitutional order, it is important that the appointment process is conducted against transparent criteria,” Ardern said.

“This is also important because this is the first ever appointment of the head of New Zealand’s final appellate court,” she said.


  1. Ray

     /  November 9, 2018

    This is interesting and the long term effects have the potential to change how things get done in New Zealand
    Geoffrey Palmer and his Lawyer mates would like to foist a system on the country where the Judges would have the final say on how this country is run.
    I am not sure why they think unelected people, who have jobs for life would be better than our elected MPs at this but I suggest that it is because they think they are smarter than us despite the obvious proof that they are not and even if they were the Courts are required to remember how their decisions would look to a ““if a fair-minded lay observer”.
    As I said this will be interesting

  2. Blazer

     /  November 9, 2018

    Finlayson would love the job.
    His ego dwarfs his ..ability.

    • I’m pretty sure he doesn’t qualify, he isn’t and has never been a judge. I’m sure he will be aware of this.

      • Blazer

         /  November 9, 2018

        I see.I thought being Q.C might be enough to be a contendor.

    • Blazer

       /  November 9, 2018

      not a good start to the morning…his ability dwarfs his ..ego…and I don’t like him..either.

  3. robertguyton

     /  November 9, 2018

    “But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has laid out a detailed appointment process – first led by the solicitor general – to distance it from recent high-profile and highly political Supreme Court appointments in the United States.”


    • Kitty Catkin

       /  November 9, 2018

      I give people credit for knowing that we live in NZ and not the US and that our systems are different. We all know that theirs are political and ours aren’t, so it hardly seems necessary to point this out.

  4. Gezza

     /  November 9, 2018

    I’m quite happy Sian Elias is going.

    • Damien

       /  November 9, 2018

      But the replacement will be a woman, [not necessarily deserved] and I pick Susan Glazebrook as a big contender. In essence the contenders cannot be conservative, as the law requires major shifts to reflect societies growing awareness as to the corruption that saturates the system. Glazebrook’s problem is that she can be petty, and more a talker than a doer. But if she did as she talked she would be a sound appointment. If it were to be a male jurist, Palmer J would be an interesting choice, even with his father being a trumpet playing dickhead. He is probably too fresh to be chosen, but change must see youth present at the helm. But a court with both there would be a good start.

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  November 9, 2018