Appointment of Chief Parliamentary Counsel

  • John Key
Prime Minister

Prime Minister John Key today announced the appointment of Fiona Leonard as Chief Parliamentary Counsel for a term of five years.

The Chief Parliamentary Counsel is the principal advisor and Chief Executive of the Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO).  They are responsible for ensuring PCO, which drafts most of New Zealand’s legislation, provides high quality services and advice to the Government and Parliament. 

Ms Leonard holds an LLM from the University of Cambridge as well as a BA and LLB (Hons) from the University of Canterbury.

She has held the position of Deputy Chief Parliamentary Counsel since July 2013, and acted in the role for two years prior to that. She has previously worked as an adjunct lecturer at Victoria University, a legal advisor for the Ministry of Justice and as a legislative consultant in the Pacific region.

Ms Leonard has also held a variety of litigation roles, including Commercial Property Litigation for London Borough of Hackney, General Litigation for Young Hunter, and Commercial and Civil Litigation for Kensington Swan. 

“Fiona is a highly qualified legal drafter and her experience in the Parliamentary Counsel Office will give the agency consistency and certainty of leadership,” Mr Key says. 

Ms Leonard will commence her term on 7 May 2016. The current Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Mr David Noble, will remain in the role until 6 May 2016.

“I would like to thank Mr Noble for his service as Chief Parliamentary Counsel. He has made a significant and lasting contribution to New Zealand’s government and legal system,” Mr Key said.