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Victoria Awards Honorary Doctorate To Former PM

Former Prime Minister Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer is to receive an honorary doctorate from Victoria University, the institution he first graduated from 37 years ago.
Sir Geoffrey will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws to be conferred at the University’s graduation ceremonies in December this year.
Sir Geoffrey received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Victoria in 1965 followed by a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1966 and a Doctor of Law degree from the University of Chicago in 1967 where he was a British Commonwealth Fellow.
He worked as a law clerk and then barrister and solicitor with O’Flynn and Christie from 1964 to 1966 and was a lecturer in political science at Victoria from 1968 to 1969. He then travelled to the United States where he was a Law Professor at the University of Iowa for three years followed by a year at the University of Virginia.
Sir Geoffrey returned to Victoria to work as a Professor of Law from 1974 to 1979 before entering Parliament as MP for Christchurch Central in 1979. He served as Deputy Leader of the Opposition (1983-84), Deputy Prime Minister (1984-89), Attorney-General (1984-89), Minister of Justice (1984-89), Minister for the Environment (1987-90) and Prime Minister (1989-90).
On retiring from politics in 1990, he held a joint appointment as Professor of Law at Victoria and at the University of Iowa. He was also a consultant to the law firm of Chapman Tripp Sheffield Young (1991-94). In 1994, he founded, with Mai Chen, Wellington-based law firm and public law specialists, Chen & Palmer, now Chen Palmer & Partners.
In 1991, he received a knighthood, becoming a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG), was made an Honorary Companion of the Order of Australia and was made a laureate of the United Nations environment programme’s Global 500 Roll of Honour.
Sir Geoffrey has also written several books on New Zealand’s government and constitution, including Unbridled Power (1987) and Bridled Power (1997), which he co-authored with his son and Victoria’s current Dean of Law, Professor Matthew Palmer.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon said the University, as Sir Geoffrey’s alma mater, wanted to recognise his achievements. “Sir Geoffrey, a former Victoria graduate and staff member, has had a distinguished career in law, in New Zealand, the United States and internationally and the honorary doctorate in law recognises his substantial contribution to improving New Zealand’s government, laws and the wise use of its environmental resources.”
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