Third-generation High Court judge appointed

The senior lawyer has argued key cases before the country's higher courts

Third-generation High Court judge appointed

Justice Francis Cooke QC has become the third generation of his family to be appointed to the High Court bench.

The senior lawyer has been appointed as a judge of the high court, Attorney-General David Parker has announced. He will be sworn in on 4 May and will sit in Wellington.

Cooke follows the footsteps of his father, Lorde Cooke of Thorndon ONZ KBE PC QC, and his grandfather, Justice Philip Cooke QC MC.

The new judge earned his LLB (Hons) from Victoria University and his LLM from the University of Cambridge. After finishing his masters in 1990, he started his legal career at legacy Ashurst Morris Crisp in the UK.

He returned to New Zealand and joined Chapman Tripp in 1992, before leaving private practice to become a barrister sole in 1994. He took silk in 2004.

The justice has argued several consequential cases before the higher courts, including the Supreme Court decisions on the Wellington Airport extension, the challenge to the Ruataniwha Dam, and the Quake Outcasts case.

Cooke has also been involved in a number of public inquiries. He has been an external counsel to the Transport Accident Investigation Commission since 1999. He was also junior counsel to the commission in the “Winebox” inquiry between 1994 and 1997.


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