New Chief High Court Judge

by Hannah Norton01 Apr 2015
The Chief High Court Judge has been appointed a Judge of the Court of Appeal.

From June 1, Justice Helen Winkelmann will take up the position of Court of Appeal Judge, while High Court Judge Geoffrey John Venning will move into her existing role Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson announced yesterday morning.

Justice Winkelmann graduated from Auckland University in 1984 and was a partner with Phillips Fox for a number of years before commencing practice as a barrister in 2001. She was appointed a Judge of the High Court in July 2004, and became Chief High Court Judge in 2010.

Speaking to NZLawyer last month, Justice Winkelmann said she was anticipating another busy year for the court, with a number of long criminal trials in Wellington.

Nationwide there are 22 cases awaiting trial expected to take 20 days or more, she said.

“These 19 percent of trials comprise 46 percent of estimated hearing time required.”

“Currently High Court-only matters (mainly murder/manslaughter) make up about 30 percent of the caseload, and protocol cases (mainly serious sexual offending and serious drug offending) make up about 70 percent of the work on hand.”

Most of these will now fall under the supervision of Justice Venning.

Justice Venning graduated from the University of Canterbury in 1981 and joined Christchurch firm Wynn Williams, becoming a partner in 1986. He was appointed a Master of the High Court in 1995 and relocated to Auckland in November 2002 after appointment as a High Court Judge.