Associate Professor Amokura Kawharu to head Law Commission

The New Zealand Bar Association congratulates Associate Professor Amokura Kawharu on her appointment as Law Commission President. Professor Kawharu will take up her new role on 11 May 2020.


NZBA President, Kate Davenport QC, notes the importance of the role of the Law Commission in reviewing the law of New Zealand and suggesting needed reforms. “Not only do the Commission’s reports pave the way for new and better legislation, but it also informs practitioners in their work before the courts. This is a critical post and Professor Kawharu is well placed to lead the Commission in the future.”


Ms Davenport endorses the comments of Justice Minister, Andrew Little, that Professor Kawharu “has the ability to lead an innovative and forward-looking approach to the law reform process, and brings extensive networks throughout Māoridom and academic circles that can assist in how the Commission addresses its responsibilities regarding te ao Māori.”


Professor Kawharu, whose iwi affiliations are Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Whātua, is the first Māori to hold this position. She graduated with a LLB (Hons) from Auckland University and a Masters of Laws (1st Class) with a major in international law from the University of Cambridge. Following this, she worked in private commercial law practice in Auckland and Sydney, before joining the University of Auckland Law School in 2005.


Professor Kawharu’s  research interests include international trade and investment law, arbitration, and international disputes resolution. She is the is the co-author of the leading text on New Zealand arbitration law with David Williams QC, "Williams & Kawharu on Arbitration."

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