Three new District Court Judges appointed

by NZ Lawyer20 May 2014
Wellington-based Crown Counsel Stephanie Brigid Edwards, lawyer Chris Sygrove and Gisbourne barrister and solicitor David Sharp, have all been appointed District Court Judges this week, according to an announcement yesterday from Attorney-General, Christopher Finlayson.

Judge Edwards has been appointed a District Court Judge with a jury warrant to serve in Palmerston North.

A graduate of the University of Otago, she started her legal career as a staff solicitor and then associate for two Whanganui firms, where she gained experience in criminal and family law and civil litigation (1993-97).

She then managed the Public Prisons Service Legal Services Team at Corrections from 1997-2005, where she was responsible for managing civil litigation and other proceedings involving prisons and for providing legal advice to head office and prison management. Edwards is presently Crown Counsel in the Criminal Team at Crown Law.

She has extensive appellate advocacy experience and more recently led the office’s project to implement the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 for Crown and departmental prosecutors.

Edwards was a member of the NZLS Legal Services Committee for two years while in private practice in Whanganui and was on the committee of the Wellington Women Lawyers Association from 2009-2013.

Judge Edwards will be sworn in on 13 June 2014 in Wellington.

Judge Sharp has been appointed a District Court Judge with a jury warrant to serve in Auckland.

He has been a partner in Burnard Bull & Co in Gisborne since 1989 and has extensive litigation experience, including a large number of jury trials and frequent appearances in the summary jurisdiction. 

Outside his criminal practice he has appeared in civil cases in the District Court, High Court and Court of Appeal and has also appeared in the Environment Court, Employment Relations Authority, Family Court, Maori Land Court and the Waitangi Tribunal.

Judge Sharp will be sworn in on 27 June 2014 in Gisborne.

Finally, Judge Sygrove has been appointed as a District Court Judge with jury and Family Court warrants to serve in New Plymouth.

Sygrove was a partner of McCulloch & Sygrove from 1979 to 1996.  During that time he conducted several jury trials in the District and High Courts, as well as extensive summary jurisdiction and Family Court litigation.  He became a sole practitioner in 1996 dealing with a wide range of legal issues with an emphasis on Family Court matters, with particular emphasis on relationship property.  

Judge Sygrove will be sworn in on 4 July 2014 in Wellington.