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New Chair of Judicial Control Authority appointed

Media Release

14 October 2008


New Chair of Judicial Control Authority appointed

Kristy McDonald QC has been appointed as the new Chair of the Judicial Control Authority, New Zealand Racing Board Chairman Michael Stiassny announced today.

Ms McDonald is a Queens Counsel based in Wellington and has extensive experience as a litigation lawyer.

The Judicial Control Authority, an independent statutory authority, was established in 1996.  It is the legal body that administers the rules of racing and conducts inquiries into breaches of the rules, across the two equine racing codes – Harness Racing New Zealand and New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing.

Under the Racing Act 2003, Greyhound Racing New Zealand can also join the Judicial Control Authority and plans for that to happen are progressing.

New Zealand Racing Board Chairman Michael Stiassny said the appointment panel was pleased at the excellent response received to the advertising of the position, in both number and quality of applicants.

“Ms McDonald is eminently qualified to take on this new role. She has extensive experience as a barrister practising across a wide range of areas including civil, criminal and administrative law and has been extensively involved as a prosecutor and legal adviser to a number of professional bodies over many years,” Mr Stiassny said.

Ms McDonald is a previous chair of the Mental Health Review Tribunal and the New Zealand Law Society Ethics Committee and regularly sits as a Police Disciplinary Tribunal. She has also been involved in several high profile cases over the years, including acting as Counsel for the Police in the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct.

Ms McDonald gained her Bachelor of Laws and Arts degree from Otago University in 1980 and her Master of Law with Honours from Canterbury University in 1987. She was appointed as a Queens Counsel in 1999 and has appeared in front of the Privy Council on two occasions – in 1993 and 2003.

“I’m looking forward to taking on this new challenge.  It’s important that consumer’s confidence in the integrity of the New Zealand racing industry is maintained and enhanced,” Ms McDonald said.

Ms McDonald replaces Gerard Brown, who has been Acting Chair for the past 12 months after John Grant’s term expired in July 2007. Mr Brown has been responsible for leading a review of the Judicial Control Authority’s business in advance of appointing a new permanent Chair.

Ms McDonald will commence her new role in early November.

For more information about the Judicial Control Authority visit



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