Auckland Family Law Conference

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Family Law Conference – Auckland November 2013

This year the annual New Zealand Family Law Conference is to be held over two days in Auckland at the Sky City next week.

It commences the evening beforehand with a Powhiri followed by welcome drinks, and is sponsored by the Family Law Section of the New Zealand Law Society.

There is a great line up of both National and International speakers including the Principal Family Court Judge His Honor Judge Ryan who we are very privileged to have.

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Barrister & Solicitor

Principal Family Court Judge His Honor Judge Ryan

His Honor completed his Bachelor of Laws degree at Auckland University and was admitted to the bar in 1973.

Prior to his appointment to the bench in 1996 where he was granted a Family Court warrant and Youth Court designation, he was a partner in law firm following several years as a Barrister Sole specializing in Family Law.


His Honor presented a paper to the Australian Family Court Judges on case management in 1999, and presented a paper to the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association on Restorative Justice for Children in 2011. He has previously presented and written papers at numerous NZ Law Society conferences both as a Family Law Specialist and as a Judge.

His Honor has assisted in co-presenting a number of seminars to Family Court judges and has been a member of the Family Court education committee. In addition, His Honor established a case flow management practice upon the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act, which was adopted throughout most of the New Zealand Courts.


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Auckland High Court Judge

Another distinguished speaker presenting at the conference is the Honorably Mr Justice Priestley of the Auckland High Court.The Honorably Mr Justice Priestley graduated from Auckland University in 1968 with a BA/LLB Honor and later completed a Masters Degree and doctorate. In 1975 he became a partner on an Auckland law firm, practiced as a Barrister Sole in 1983 and ‘s was appointed as Queen’s Counsel in 1994. His prior roles also include being the chairman of the NZ Law Society’s Family Law Section.



  Five District Court Judgeslawyers-Auckland

In addition to the many the speakers are five District Court Judges;

His Honor Judge Murfitt who has presented many papers at NZ Law Society conferences and seminars. His Honor was appointed to the Family Court bench in 2004       following 30 years as a family law specialist.

Her Honor Judge O’Dwyer a designated Youth Court Judge as well as holding a family Court warrant. Her Honor has a keen interest in raising standards of advocacy in the  Family Court and served on the Family Law Section Executive in 2001 and was a chair of the Family Court Education committee for five years

Her Honor Judge Wills a former partner of East Brewster where she practiced family law for 28 years prior to being appointed to the District Court bench in 2010 where she sits in the Family, Criminal and Youth jurisdictions. Her Honor has conducted family law workshops for the Maori Law Society and presented a NZ Law Society seminar on Child Youth and Family Services proceedings.

His Honor Judge Somerville, who in addition to being a District Court Judge, has been on the Judicial Faculty training judges in mediation since 2001.

Her Honor Judge Smith practiced litigation in the criminal and family Court’s in South Auckland  and then specialized in family law with an emphasis on child advocacy, sexual abuse cases and domestic violence matters prior to her appointment to the bench in 2003.


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Family Law



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