Associate Judges of the High Court

Associate Judge Bell

Associate Judge Johnston

Associate Judge Andrew

Associate Judge Lester

Associate Judge Paulsen

Associate Judge Gardiner

Associate Judge Sussock

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Associate Judge Bell

2009, based in Auckland

Associate Judge Bell graduated LLB (Hons)/BA from Auckland University.  He studied at Keble College, Oxford University obtaining a BCL degree before returning to New Zealand to be employed by the firm of Simpson Coates & Clapshaw in Auckland from 1978 to 1980.  After a Volunteer Service Abroad assignment in Kiribati establishing the office of Peoples’ Lawyer he returned to Buddle Weir in Auckland from 1983 to 1985 and then became a partner in Webb Ross at Whangarei from 1986 until his appointment as an Associate Judge of the High Court from 27 November 2009.  He is based in Auckland.

 

Associate Judge Johnston

2018, based in Wellington

Associate Judge Johnston holds a BA, an LLB and a Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management from Victoria University; and an LLM (Dist.) from the College of Law of England and Wales.  He was called to the Bar in early 1980.  After short periods in the Crown Law Office and in London, he joined Watts and Patterson in mid 1981.  That firm merged with two others to form Rudd Watts & Stone, and is now known as Minter Ellison Rudd Watts.  Associate Judge Johnston was a solicitor, associate and partner until he retired to join the independent bar in late 1997, becoming a member of Lambton Chambers.  He took silk in mid 2016.  Associate Judge Johnston is based in Wellington.

 

Associate Judge Andrew

2018, based in Auckland

Associate Judge Andrew graduated BA, LLB from the University of Otago in 1984 and the same year was admitted as a barrister and solicitor.  In 1988 he received a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Scholarship and in 1989 graduated LLM from the University of Kiel, Germany (Public International Law).  He was employed between 1984 - 1987 as a solicitor with Meredith Connell, Auckland then from 1990-1993 with Russell McVeagh.  Between 1993 - 1999 he was employed at the Crown Law Office, Wellington, and involved in judicial review and Waitangi Tribunal claims.   He has been a member of the Auckland Crown Solicitor’s Prosecution Panel, part-time member of the Refugee Status Appeals Authority and from 2008 - 2017 a part-time member of the Weathertight Homes Tribunal, Auckland.  As a barrister, Associate Judge Andrew specialised in public law litigation with particular focus on Maori and Waitangi Treaty issues.  He was appointed an Associate Judge in March 2018 and he is based in Auckland.

 

Associate Judge Lester

2018, based in Christchurch

Associate Judge Lester graduated with LLB(Hons) from Canterbury University in 1990.  He was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court in 1991 and worked at White, Fox & Jones. In 1991 and 1992 he was a Judges’ Clerk to the Christchurch High Court Bench.  In 1994, he was employed as a litigation solicitor at Rhodes & Co.  The following year he joined Saunders & Co, initially as a litigation solicitor and then an associate before joining the partnership in 1998. Associate Judge Lester left Saunders & Co in 2003 to join the Bar and co-founded Canterbury Chambers in 2007.  His principal areas of practice were contract, commercial, insolvency and estate litigation. He was appointed an Associate Judge in 2018 and he is based in Christchurch.

 

Associate Judge Paulsen

2019, based in Christchurch

Associate Judge Paulsen graduated from the University of Canterbury with an LLB in 1986 and began his career as a solicitor at Harman & Co. He was admitted to the partnership of Harman & Co in 1991, before leaving in 1998 to travel overseas. From 2000 to 2001 he was an adjudication and mediation member of the Employment Tribunal, whilst also managing a sole practice as a litigation lawyer.

In July 2001 he joined Cavell Leitch Law as the Head Litigation Partner. He practiced in a broad range of areas including commercial litigation, arbitration and mediation, employment, human rights, and criminal law. While in this role, he graduated from the University of Auckland with an LLM (Comm) (Hons).

Associate Judge Paulsen was Lord Chief Justice of the Kingdom of Tonga from 2015 to July 2019. He was appointed an Associate Judge in July 2019. Associate Judge Paulsen sits in Christchurch. 

 

Associate Judge Gardiner

2020, based in Auckland

Associate Judge Gardiner graduated from the University of Otago with an LLB (Hons) in 1995 and began her career as a solicitor at DLA Piper New Zealand. In 1997 she relocated to London and took up a position with Herbert Smith Freehills, qualifying as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales and practising in commercial litigation. She returned to New Zealand and joined Chapman Tripp in Auckland in 2002, where she practised in insurance and commercial litigation.

In 2013 Associate Judge Gardiner obtained an LLM (Hons) from the University of Auckland, and practised public law from 2013 to 2014 at Chen Palmer. She joined the Auckland Council in 2015 managing the Council’s Public Law team. Since 2018 Judge Gardiner was General Counsel for the Council, heading the Council’s in-house legal, risk and insurance department.

Associate Judge Gardiner has also held corporate governance roles in the financial services sector, as an independent director of Devon Funds Management Limited from 2014 to 2020 and the Investment Services Group from 2017 to 2020. Associate Judge Gardiner is based in Auckland.

 

Associate Judge Sussock
2020, based in Auckland

Associate Judge Sussock graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration and LLB (Hons) in 1991, starting as a staff solicitor with Phillips Fox Wellington (now DLA Piper).  She moved to the Crown Law Office in 1993, working as Crown Counsel with the Public Commercial Team until 2001.

After a move to Auckland and time at home with her children, Associate Judge Sussock resumed her career in 2008, joining the commercial litigation firm, Wilson Harle, as Senior Associate. In early 2018 she left to join Lowndes Jordan as a partner in the litigation team.

Associate Judge Sussock was appointed in October 2020 and is based in Auckland.