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First appointment round for Senior Counsel

Friday 1 August 2008

First appointment round for Senior Counsel

The Attorney-General, Hon Dr Michael Cullen, together with the Chief Justice, the Rt. Hon Dame Sian Elias, announced today that the first appointment round for Senior Counsel (formerly Queen’s Counsel) will take place in 2008.

The Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, which comes into force today, provides for Senior Counsel. A key change introduced by the Act is that eligibility is no longer restricted to lawyers who practice at the separate bar, but includes all litigation specialists.

Appointments of Senior Counsel continue to be made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Attorney-General and with the concurrence of the Chief Justice. The Governor-General retains the discretion to appoint Senior Counsel in recognition of their extraordinary contributions to the law in fields other than advocacy.

“I have convened a Selection Panel to provide advice on the candidates for appointment. The Solicitor-General, David Collins QC, chairs the Panel with two members from the New Zealand Law Society and two members from the New Zealand Bar Association. The selection panel will consult with the profession and judiciary. It is not proposed to adopt an interview process,” Dr Cullen said.

“The Chief Justice and I have issued Guidelines for Candidates (available at and set out the criteria for appointment and other information about the appointment process,” Dr Cullen said.

The regulations set a fee of $500 for applicants, reflecting the costs of the appointment process. Applications for appointment as Senior Counsel open today and should be sent to the Solicitor-General no later than 15 August 2008.


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