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Family and District Court appointments

11 February 2005

Family and District Court appointments

Attorney-General Margaret Wilson today announced the appointments of David Burns as a Family Court judge and Susan Thomas as a District Court Judge.

David Burns of Auckland will be sworn in on 15 March, replacing Judge Jim O'Donovan in the Auckland Family Court. Judge O’Donovan will retire later this year.

Mr Burns has practised as barrister sole specialising in family law since 1997. He was initially heavily involved in criminal law but later moved more into general practice, covering family law, property law, and estate and commercial work. He has been counsel for child since 1981 and is on the selection panel for Auckland. He was elected to the Executive of the Family Law Section of the New Zealand Law Society in 2000 and became Chair of the section in 2002.

Mr Burns was active in Relationship Services for 16 years in both tutoring and leadership roles.

Susan Thomas of Wellington will replace Judge Anand Satyanand, who retires this month, in the Wellington District Court. She will be sworn in on 23 March.

Ms Thomas is currently a partner at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts. She served on the Board of Minter Ellison Rudd Watts from 2000 to 2004. She worked in London from 1983 to 1991, during which time she was a partner in a medium sized London firm for three years. She also worked as in-house counsel for Marks and Spencer plc in London. Ms Thomas' experience has mostly been in commercial property, construction and resource management.

Ms Thomas also sat on the board of Tennis New Zealand from 1997-2001.


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