The Judges of the Court of Appeal
The Honourable Justice Cooper
Justice Mark Cooper studied law at the University of Auckland, graduating LLB (Hons), MJur (Dist) and winning the Fowlds prize in law in 1979. He commenced practice with the firm Butler White & Hanna, which later merged into Simpson Grierson, and was principal legal advisor for the Auckland City, North Shore City and Rodney District Councils, advising on a wide range of laws affecting local government, including resource management, rates and valuation. He also acted for Waikato-Tainui in respect of resource management issues affecting the Waikato River. Justice Cooper became a barrister sole in 1997, and was appointed a Queen's Counsel in 2000. He was appointed to the High Court bench in Auckland in 2004 and to the Court of Appeal in 2014. Between May 2011 and November 2012 he was the Chair of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Building Failures caused by the Canterbury earthquakes of September 2010 and February 2011. He was appointed to be the Chair of the New Zealand Council of Legal Education in 2018, an appointment renewed in May 2021. Justice Cooper is of Ngati Mahānga descent, an iwi of Waikato-Tainui.
Media Release Chief Justice: Acting Judge Hon Robert Dobson (PDF, 140 KB).
Update May 2022: His Honour Justice Robert Dobson's acting warrant was extended for a further term until 31 August 2022.
The Hon Justice French was educated in Invercargill and achieved an LLB (Hons) degree from the University of Otago in 1981. She was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford (United Kingdom) and graduated BCL in 1983. On return to New Zealand she practised in the legal firm of French Burt Partners in Invercargill. She has been a member of various Law Society committees. Justice French was appointed to the Court of Appeal on 6 August 2012.
Justice Forrie Miller (LLM, Toronto: BA/LLB (Hons), Otago) was appointed to the High Court of New Zealand in 2004, and to the Court of Appeal in 2013. He was formerly chairman of Chapman Tripp, solicitors, where he had a commercial litigation practice focused on securities, regulatory and competition law. He was chairman of Unison Networks Ltd, the electricity distributor for the Hawkes Bay, Rotorua and Taupo regions, and the Wellington Girls College Board of Trustees.
In the High Court the Judge was executive Judge for the Wellington circuit. He designed and until 2013 managed the Earthquake List for the many cases arising from the Christchurch earthquakes. For this work he shared the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration Award for Excellence in 2013.
In the Court of Appeal the Judge has been responsible for developing electronic casebooks for use in criminal and civil jurisdictions. He previously chaired the Judicial Reference Group, a cross-bench committee working with the Ministry of Justice on an electronic content management system which will lead to electronic filing and case management systems in all New Zealand courts, and the Judicial Libraries Management Board, which exercises governance responsibilities over judicial libraries. In 2020 he was heavily involved in leading New Zealand courts’ response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Judge published ‘Reform of Courts Administration in New Zealand”  NZLJ 232, calling for a partnership model of courts administration.
The Judge has accepted an Inns of Court Research Fellowship, which is open to Commonwealth judges, at the University of London, and expects to take it up in 2021.
Justice Brown graduated LLB (Hons) in 1976 from the University of Canterbury and was admitted to the Bar in 1977 in New Zealand and to the Bar of the Australian Capital Territory in Canberra in 1990. He was employed as a law clerk in a firm at Christchurch in 1976 and as a solicitor at Bell Gully, Wellington, from 1977-1982 before becoming a partner until 1992. He commenced practice as a barrister sole in Wellington in March 1992 and was appointed a QC in 1997. Justice Brown was appointed a High Court Judge in 2013 and a Judge of the Court of Appeal in August 2016.
Justice Denis Clifford graduated LLB (Hons) from Victoria University of Wellington in 1978. He joined the Wellington law firm Buddle Anderson Kent & Co, leaving in 1980 to take up a position as Visiting Fellow at the University of Illinois Law School. Justice Clifford returned to New Zealand to work for Buddle Findlay in 1982, went overseas again in 1984, working with London firm Slaughter and May, and on return to New Zealand in 1986 became a partner of Buddle Findlay, a position he held until 2001. From 1998 to 2000 Justice Clifford was on secondment from his law firm as a member of the Policy Advisory Group in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Justice Clifford joined the independent bar in 2002. He was appointed a Judge of the High Court bench in April 2006. In April 2017 he was appointed a Judge of the Court of Appeal.
Justice Gilbert graduated LLB from Auckland University in 1977. He was appointed a High Court Judge, sitting in Auckland, in 2012. He was a partner at Kensington Swan from 1985 to 1996, Chapman Tripp from 1996 to 2004 and Gilbert/Walker from 2004 to 2012. He was appointed Senior Counsel in 2008 and a High Court Judge in February 2012. Justice Gilbert was appointed to the Court of Appeal in June 2017.
Justice Patricia Courtney graduated LLB from the University of Auckland in 1982. She joined the Department of Trade & Industry as an investigating officer in November 1982 and in 1983 became a staff solicitor at Heaney Jones & Mason. In 1986 Justice Courtney moved to McElroy Milne and became a partner of the firm in 1989. In 1992, she was a founding partner of the firm of McElroys and was senior partner from 1998 until her appointment as a High Court judge in 2004. Justice Courtney was appointed to the Court of Appeal in February 2019.
Justice Collins graduated with an LLB (Hons) (First Class) from Victoria University of Wellington in 1975, subsequently gaining an LLM in 1976 and an LLD in 1993, both from Victoria University of Wellington. He also obtained an LLM-JS from Duke University in the United States. In 1985 Justice Collins became a partner in the firm now known as Rainey Collins. In 1996 he left the partnership to join the Independent Bar and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2000. He was appointed Solicitor-General in September 2006. Prior to that Justice Collins held positions as President of the Wellington Law Society, Chairman of the Accident Compensation Corporation, Chairman of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal and Executive Vice President of the World Association of Law and Medicine. Justice Collins was appointed a Judge of the High Court in 2012 and a Judge of the Court of Appeal in April 2019.
Justice Goddard graduated with a BA (Hons) in mathematics from Victoria University of Wellington in 1983, subsequently gaining a BA (Hons) in law in 1986 from Oxford University in England, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. Having lectured in law at Bristol University, Justice Goddard returned to New Zealand in 1988 to practise as a lawyer at Chapman Tripp. He was a litigation partner at that firm from 1991 to 1998, before beginning practice as a barrister sole in 1999. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2003. Justice Goddard was a member of the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal from May 2011 to May 2019, and Acting President of the Tribunal from February 2018 to May 2019. He has had extensive involvement in law reform in New Zealand and overseas, advising ministers and government agencies and representing New Zealand in bilateral and multilateral negotiations. He was the Chair of the Diplomatic Session of the Hague Conference on Private International Law that adopted the Hague Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters in July 2019. He was a Vice-President of the Diplomatic Session that adopted the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements in 2003, and a member of the drafting committee for that Treaty. Justice Goddard has more recently been undertaking research at New York University as a Senior Global Fellow from Practice and Government in the Hauser Global Law School. He was appointed a Judge of the High Court and Court of Appeal in July 2019.
Justice Katz graduated from the University of Otago in 1987 and went on to complete an LLM at the University of London, graduating in 1992. Justice Katz spent several years with Chapman Tripp, then worked for Herbert Smith in London before returning to New Zealand and joining Buddle Findlay, becoming a partner in 1997. Justice Katz was a senior litigation partner at Russell McVeagh before being appointed to the High Court bench in 2012. She has been instrumental in developing the courts COVID response. She was appointed a Judge of the Court of Appeal in April 2022.