New principal judge steps up to lead Environment Court

David Kirkpatrick takes office after current Principal Environment Judge Laurie Newhook retires

New principal judge steps up to lead Environment Court

A new principal judge is set to lead the Environment Court following the retirement of current Principal Environment Judge Laurie Newhook.

Attorney-General David Parker announced the appointment of Auckland Environment Judge David Kirkpatrick to the role on 20 May. Kirkpatrick will begin his tenure as principal environment judge on 8 July.

Kirkpatrick’s legal career included a 10-year run in Simpson Grierson as a partner in the firm’s local government and environment practice group beginning 1994. He has acted for a variety of clients, including companies and incorporated societies.

During his time with the firm, Kirkpatrick served as the primary legal advisor to some local authorities in Auckland, dealing with matters of public administration, public utilities regulation and resource management.

He became a barrister sole in 2004, with a general specialisation in administrative and public law and a focus on resource management law.

Kirkpatrick has handled matters before a number of courts and legal bodies, including the Environment Court, the High Court, the Court of Appeal, the Privy Council and the Supreme Court. He has also appeared before consent authorities.

He has also presented at conferences and seminars on resource management and local government law.

From 2008 to 2009, Kirkpatrick served as counsel in assistance to the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance. In December 2013, he was appointed chair of the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel, a position he maintained until July 2016.

He first became an environment judge in February 2014, sitting in Auckland.

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