News Item

December 2020

2020 Cleary Memorial Prize Winner Announced

The Law Foundation congratulates Oliva Klinkum on being awarded the Cleary Memorial Prize for 2020.

Olivia currently works for Meredith Connell as a solicitor and criminal prosecutor for the Crown. Prior to this, she worked as a Judges’ Clerk in the Court of Appeal.

Olivia graduated from University of Otago in 2018 with a 1st class honours degree in Law, and a BA majoring in politics. During her time studying she was awarded the Thomson Reuters Prize in Law Research for the top Honours Dissertation, the Chapman Tripp Prize in Competition Law for top student in Competition Law, and she was awarded a University of Otago Scholarship in Law for high academic achievement in her third year of law.

In addition to Olivia’s academic successes, she has undertaken a range of leadership roles and voluntary community work – from coaching netball and debating at secondary school through to mentoring second year law students and tutoring LAWS101 at Otago Law School. For two years she has been a Refugee Support Volunteer with Red Cross, and during the past year has worked as a leadership instructor with the Future Leaders Academy (FLA), supporting high school students to develop leadership skills. She has recently become an FLA board member. Olivia has also tutored NCEA subjects at Dunedin secondary schools. She frequently volunteers to judge university legal competitions.

Olivia has had a peer-reviewed article on specialist criminal courts published in NZ Criminal Law Review, and co-authored an article accepted for upcoming publication by NZ Law Journal – on improving access to civil justice for self-represented litigants.

Her motivation in studying and practising law has always been to make our world a more just, fair and peaceful place. She says that studying international criminal law alongside criminal justice has ignited her interest in advocating for human rights on an international level, particularly in the areas of refugee law and women’s human rights. She is committed to a career in the law contributing to the fields of criminal law and human rights law.

In August 2021 Olivia will commence her LLM at Harvard University specialising in these areas, with the support of a Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship, awarded to her earlier this year.

The Cleary Memorial Prize is awarded in memory of Sir Timothy Cleary, past President of both the Wellington District and New Zealand Law Societies, and a Judge of the Court of Appeal. This prize, worth $5,000, is awarded annually by the Law Foundation to a young barrister or solicitor who shows future promise in the legal profession.

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