News Item

August 2017

Project celebrates "trail-blazing" women judges

Women lawyers have had to navigate special challenges to reach the top of the New Zealand legal profession. The career and family experiences of many pre-eminent New Zealand women judges have been recorded in a Law Foundation-backed oral history project completed in June 2017. The project initiative came from the NZ Association of Women Judges.

The 24 women judges interviewed for the project discuss the challenges they faced in advancing their careers. Collectively their comments note a gradual change in attitudes from the 1970s, when many male lawyers were sceptical about the role of female lawyers, through to 2000 and beyond when female participation in the judiciary had become the “new norm”.

A summary of the concluding part of the Women Judges Oral History Project prepared by former Supreme Court clerk Elizabeth Chan is available on the New Zealand Law Foundation website: New Zealand Women Judges Oral Histories Project: Part 2 . This builds on her earlier article based on these interviews which appeared in the Victoria University Law Review in 2014 Women Trailblazers in the Law: The New Zealand Women Judges Oral Histories Project, and an article by Justice Glazebrook Voices of New Zealand’s Women Judges: Oral History Project (2013).

On 28 August 2017, the audio interviews and transcripts were handed over to the Alexander Turnbull Library at a function to mark the end of the project.

The Law Foundation contributed $38,477 towards the Women Judges’ Oral History Project