International women judges' conference coming to New Zealand

Distinguished speakers from around the world to deliver keynotes at biennial conference

International women judges' conference coming to New Zealand

New Zealand has been chosen to host the biennial conference of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ).

Distinguished women judicial officers headline the conference, which has an overall theme this year of “Celebrating Diversity.” The conference will also have a focus on indigenous issues, human rights, and diversity in the courts.

The five-day conference will start with a cocktail reception on 7 May. There will be three days of sessions, including on catering to minorities and diverse communities within the courts, human rights of marginalised groups, transformative justice, and constitutional and criminal justice issues for indigenous communities.

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After the conference, there will also be court and tours of other justice sectors in Auckland and Wellington from 11 May to 15 May.

Supreme Court of New Zealand Justice Susan Glazebrook, president-elect of the IAWJ, and Family Court of New Zealand Judge Mary O’Dwyer, president of the New Zealand Association of Women Judges (NZAWJ), said that five keynote speakers have confirmed their attendance.

Baroness Brenda Hale, recently retired president of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, will talk about her career and experiences in the law. Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, barrister and member of the House of Lords, will tackle gender equality.

Mary Robinson, the first woman to become president of Ireland, will discuss climate change and environmental degradation and its effect on women. The Rt Hon Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, will also be speaking at the event.

Professor Larissa Behrendt of the University of Technology Sydney, will discuss the vital role of the voices of Aboriginal women in the decolonisation of law and in the empowerment of Aboriginal people.

Additionally, the New Zealand Law Society said that Justice Andromache Karakatsanis of the Supreme Court of Canada, Justice Kudirat Kerekere-Ekun of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Chief Justice Meaza Ashenafi of the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia, and Professor James Hathaway from the University of Michigan will also be speakers at the event.

The IAWJ, a charitable organisation registered in the District of Columbia, is focused on the protection and promotion of human rights, particularly those of women and girls. Founded in 1991, it has more than 6,000 members in all levels of courts across 110 jurisdictions.

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