Judicial appointments - Hon. Justice Joseph Williams and Hon. Justice Christine Grice
On 20 December 2017, Attorney-General David Parker announced two judicial appointments. The Honourable Justice Joseph Victor Williams has been appointed a Judge of the Court of Appeal, and Wellington barrister and solicitor, Christine Grice CNZM, has been appointed a Judge of the High Court. Justice Williams’ tribal affiliations are Ngāti Pūkenga and Te Arawa (Waitaha, Tapuika). He is believed to be the first te reo Maori speaker be appointed to the Court of Appeal Bench.
His Honour graduated from Victoria University in 1986 with an LLB and joined the faculty as a junior lecturer in law. In 1988 he graduated with an LLM (Hons) from the University of British Columbia. On his return to New Zealand, he joined Kensington Swan, specialising in Māori issues and environmental law. practice. His Honour became a partner at Kensington Swan in 1992, leaving in 1994 to co‑found the new firm of Walters Williams & Co.
In 1999 Justice Williams was appointed Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court. The following year, he was appointed acting Chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal, a position to which he was permanently appointed in 2004.His Honour was appointed to the High Court Bench in 2008.
The Honourable Justice Grice will be sworn in at 11am on 1 February 2018 at the High Court in Wellington, where her Honour will sit.
Prior to her appointment to the Bench, her Honour was the Executive Director of the New Zealand Law Society (NZLS) since 2010, a role in which she had acted for the previous three years while leading the implementation of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006.
Justice Grice graduated LLB (Hons) from the University of Canterbury in 1979. She first worked at Fell & Harley in Nelson, before moving in 1981 to Hamilton to join Harkness Henry. She became a partner in 1985, leading the firm’s commercial litigation team. She left the partnership to join the NZLS but remained a consultant to the firm.
In 2000 to 2003 Justice Grice chaired the Board and Council of the NZLS as President (only the second woman to serve as President, with the first being Dame Judith Potter). Since 2007 Justice Grice has been a Judge of the High Court of the Cook Islands, sitting in civil and criminal jurisdictions, and on occasion sitting on the Cook Islands Court of Appeal.