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Principal Judges

Principal Judges

Appointment Date
His Honour Principal Youth Court Judge AJ Becroft Jury/Youth/Family
His Honour Principal Family Court Judge LJ Ryan Youth/Family


His Honour Principal Youth Court Judge AJ Becroft

His Honour Judge Andrew Becroft was appointed Principal Youth Court Judge of New Zealand in June 2001.

Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and educated at Rongotai College, Wellington, Judge Becroft graduated from Auckland University in 1981 with a BA/LLB (Hons) degree. He practised in Auckland with the firm Fortune Manning & Partners. In 1986 he assisted with the establishment of the Mangere Community Law Centre and worked there as the Centre’s senior solicitor until 1993. He then worked as a criminal barrister in South Auckland until his appointment to the Wanganui District Court in 1996. Judge Becroft is a former council member of the Auckland District Law Society and the New Zealand Law Society. He is current editor of LexisNexis "Transport Law".

Judge Becroft is currently the Patron of the New Zealand Speak Easy Association Inc, which assists those with various forms of speech impediment. He is also President of the NZ Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship.

He is married with three school aged children. Judge Becroft is a keen sports watcher (but an average participant). He is a strong advocate of youth issues.


His Honour Principal Family Court Judge L Ryan

His Honour Judge Laurence John Ryan was appointed Principal Family Court Judge of New Zealand in Feb 2013.

His Honour Judge Ryan was educated at Selwyn College, obtained an LLB at Auckland University and was admitted to the Bar in 1973. He joined the late Brian Shenkin in partnership in 1975, becoming a Barrister sole in 1988 specialising in Family Law. Judge Ryan was appointed to the District Court bench in 1996 with a Family Court warrant and Youth Court designation.

Judge Ryan has been Administrative Family Court Judge for the Northern Region under Sir Patrick Mahony and the recently retired Principal Family Court Judge, Judge Peter Boshier. He’s presented a number of papers internationally including one on case management to the Australasian Family Court Judges at a combined conference in 1999, and a paper on Restorative Justice for Children to the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association in Kuala Lumpur in 2011. He has also presented papers at many NZ Law Society conferences both as a Judge and a specialist family lawyer.

Judge Ryan was a member of the National Caseflow Management committee chaired by Justice Sir John Hansen until that committee was disestablished. Upon the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act, established a caseflow management practice for applications for protection orders that was adopted throughout most of the New Zealand courts. He has been instrumental in establishing and managing the Centralised Fixtures program in the Greater Auckland area.

Judge Ryan has been a member of various Judicial Reference Groups and Working Groups, and a member of the Family Court Education committee where he helped co-present at a number of seminars for Family Court Judges.

Judge Ryan has three children and enjoys boating. He has been a member of the Volunteer Coastguard for over 40 years and has been trained as a marine Search and Rescue co-ordinator. Judge Ryan is a trustee of the Auckland Volunteer Coastguard Charitable Trust.


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