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Simon Power

21 October, 2010

New president for the Law Commission announced

The Government has announced that Justice Grant Hammond, a judge of the Court of Appeal, will be the next President of the Law Commission.

"I'm pleased that such a distinguished judge and lawyer is set to lead the commission," the Minister Responsible for the Law Commission, Simon Power, said today.    

Justice Hammond will begin his term on 1 December, and replaces Sir Geoffrey Palmer who is standing down as president after five years.

"Justice Hammond's experience will stand the commission in good stead as it refocuses its priorities on black letter law."

Mr Power also announced the appointment of law professor Geoffrey McLay as a member of the commission for a term of five years, beginning 1 December.

"Professor McLay's diverse areas of legal expertise will make him a valuable addition to the commission and its wide-ranging work programme."

Mr Power paid tribute to Sir Geoffrey Palmer.   

"Sir Geoffrey has made a significant contribution to the commission both through his leadership and the wealth of knowledge and experience he has brought to the role.

"I thank him for that input."

Mr Power also acknowledged the contribution of Val Sim, who completed her three year term with the commission earlier this month.


Justice Grant Hammond graduated from the University of Auckland and the University of Illinois.  He was a partner in the Hamilton law firm Tompkins Wake & Co.  He was a Professor of Law in American and Canadian universities, and chair of a Canadian law reform agency before becoming Dean of Law at the University of Auckland.  He was appointed a judge of the High Court in 1992 and to the Court of Appeal in January 2004.

Geoffrey McLay has taught law at Victoria University since completing an LLM at the University of Michigan in 1994.  His specialist areas include torts, intellectual property, competition (antitrust) law, comparative constitutional law, and ethics. 

The Law Commission is an independent Crown entity established to undertake the systematic review, reform, and development of the law.  The commission investigates and reports to Parliament on how laws can be improved.  It also reviews the law and processes in specific areas selected by it, or referred to it, by the Minister Responsible for the Law Commission.

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