Appointment of Judge of the High Court

  • Christopher Finlayson

Wellington Queen’s Counsel Matthew Palmer has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General Christopher Finlayson QC announced today.

Justice Palmer graduated with an LLB (Hons) (First Class) in 1987. He has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Canterbury and a Masters and Doctorate in Law from Yale Law School.

Justice Palmer held positions at the Treasury and as Deputy Secretary for Justice (Public Law) before taking up the role of Deputy Solicitor-General (Public Law) at the Crown Law Office in 2008 where he remained until 2012. 

While working in the public sector, Justice Palmer provided advice to Ministers, Cabinet and select committees on a range of matters including the agreement of protocols between the Commissioner of Inland Revenue and Solicitor-General. He was lead negotiator for the Crown in an international compensation claim for the MV Rena and in the first historical settlement of a Treaty of Waitangi land claim in New Zealand.

In 2012, Justice Palmer joined the independent bar and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2014. He has specialised in litigation and advice challenging or defending decisions of government, Crown entities and public bodies and has led argument in over 50 public law cases in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court and Waitangi Tribunal.

Justice Palmer was also Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of Law, and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Public Law, at Victoria University of Wellington for five years. He has taught law at the Victoria University of Wellington Schools of Law and of Government, Hong Kong University Law Faculty, Yale Law School, the Australian and New Zealand School of Government and the University of Chicago Law School.

The new Judge will sit in Auckland.