Appointment of Chief Parliamentary Counsel


Attorney-General David Parker today announced the appointment of Cassie Nicholson 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).  She is responsible for ensuring PCO, which drafts most of New Zealand’s legislation, provides high quality services and advice to the Government and Parliament. 

Ms Nicholson holds a BA/LLB (Hons) from Victoria University of Wellington, was a Commonwealth scholar and holds an LLM from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

She has more than 20 years’ experience at the Parliamentary Counsel Office and has held the position of Deputy Chief Parliamentary Counsel (Drafting Legislation), since 2016. Her previous experience includes leading complex policy reforms and working, in her early career, as a commercial lawyer in the private sector.

“Cassie is a respected leader with a deep understanding and knowledge of the work of the Parliamentary Counsel Office,” David Parker said.

“She is a dedicated public servant and understands the role of the agency within New Zealand’s law making system.”

Ms Nicholson starts in the role on 7 May 2021. The current Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Fiona Leonard, finishes her term on 6 May 2021.

“I would like to thank Fiona Leonard for her service as Chief Parliamentary Counsel. She has made a significant contribution to ensuring our system of government works smoothly,” David Parker said.