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Lawyers saddened at passing of Sir Owen Woodhouse

Lawyers saddened at passing of Sir Owen Woodhouse

New Zealand has lost one of its greatest jurists with the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, New Zealand Law Society President Chris Moore said today.

“Sir Owen was best known as the architect of our world-leading no fault accident compensation system. Among the legal profession he was equally renowned for his reforming and progressive approach to the development of New Zealand jurisprudence,” Mr Moore said.

“His compassion and generous approach to life was always present. Many law students will recall his amusing and succinct judgment where he allowed an appeal by a young man convicted of disorderly behaviour after wading in an ornamental duck pond at a Napier pop festival.

“Sir Owen noted that the ducks seemed unperturbed and ‘remained on the surface of the water with scarcely an increase in their rate of stroke’.

“After he retired as President of the Court of Appeal in 1986, Sir Owen continued with a leading role in our justice system. He was the first President of the New Zealand Law Commission and his leadership set much of the focus which this important institution follows today.

“Lawyers around New Zealand are saddened at the passing of a great New Zealander and a man who has helped improve the quality of life for all New Zealanders.”


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