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Matt Vickers Announces Lecretia Seales Memorial Lecture

Matt Vickers Announces Lecretia Seales Memorial Lecture in Law Reform

The husband of late Wellington lawyer Lecretia Seales has announced today that a memorial lecture will be established in his wife’s name, in partnership with Dr Andrew Butler, Lecretia’s lead counsel in Seales v Attorney General, and the Victoria University Law School. The lecture will be held annually for at least eight years, and will be on the subject of law reform and the constitution of New Zealand. Former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer has agreed to be the inaugural speaker.

Lecretia’s husband, Matt Vickers said: “Lecretia dedicated her career to law reform and sensible, responsible law changes for the benefit of all New Zealanders. I can think of no better way to honour her memory than to establish this event. Though we have raised funds to hold the lecture for several years, it’s my aim to ensure the lecture continues in perpetuity. Lecretia cared about a number of issues, including assisted dying, and this forum will provide an intelligent and thoughtful forum for many important issues to be explored.”

Lecretia Seales took a case to the High Court of New Zealand in May 2015, seeking a judgment that would protect her doctor from prosecution should she consent to be assisted to die. Ms Seales passed away a year ago, on 5 June 2015, on the same day the judgment in Seales v Attorney General was delivered. Though Ms Seales did not get the ruling she sought, her actions helped provoke a parliamentary inquiry into assisted dying which is currently underway. Ms Seales was named New Zealander of the Year 2015 by The New Zealand Herald.

“It is an honour for the Victoria University of Wellington Faculty of Law to be associated with the Lecretia Seales Memorial Lectures in Law Reform. Lecretia will always hold a special place in the heart of the law school and the Wellington legal community. These lectures will attract high calibre speakers and the legal community will continue to benefit from Lecretia’s legacy,” says Mark Hickford, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Law, Victoria University of Wellington.

Dr Andrew Butler said: “Seales v Attorney General was one of the most important human rights cases ever seen in a New Zealand courtroom. It was an honour to be able to act for Lecretia in this case, and also to be able to call her my friend. I am excited about the lecture and look forward to working with Mr Vickers and the Law Faculty of the Victory University of Wellington to secure engaging and provocative speakers for many lectures in the years to come.”

The first lecture will be held in Wellington on the 29th of August, at a venue to be confirmed. It has been funded by a number of philanthropists and friends who supported Lecretia’s efforts for law reform. It will be held jointly with the launch of Mr Vickers’ book, Lecretia’s Choice, which will be published by Text Publishing and launched in New Zealand and Australia.

Mr Vickers said: “In writing this book I aim to help people understand Lecretia’s motivations and why having a choice about how she died was so important to her. Although at its heart it is a love story, I hope too that it will be a valuable resource for informing people of the issues at the heart of the assisted dying debate.”

The debate continues in New Zealand, with Australian broadcaster Andrew Denton appearing in New Zealand for a series of talks from June 19th. Mr Denton's podcast Better Off Dead was one of Australia's top-rated podcasts this year, exploring the facts and myths about assisted dying in Europe and the United States.

For more information on the Lecretia Seales Memorial Lecture for Law Reform, please visit http://lecretia.org/memorial-lecture/

ENDS

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