Cleary Memorial Prize

The Cleary Memorial Prize was instituted 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 until his death in 1962. This award recognises and commemorates the fine example Sir Timothy’s own life has set for young people entering the profession.

From 2022 the New Zealand Law Society will administer the Prize on behalf of the New Zealand Law Foundation while it is in recess. The Law Foundation will continue to provide the prize money. Both the Society and the Foundation are committed to ensuring the prize remains relevant and will continue the original intent of the prize.

Applications close 5pm 1st September each year.

The Prize is awarded to the person who shows the most promise of service to and through the profession as demonstrated by:

  • Personal character.
  • Qualities of leadership (shown by) achievement and service at school and at university.
  • Reliability, progress & enthusiasm in practical training in preparation for the practice of law.
  • Academic attainments.
  • Participation in community service.
  • Personal interests & participation in general activities.

Applications are open to any barrister and/or solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand. Applicants are eligible for consideration for the prize if they apply within a three year period from the date of their admission to the bar. A person meets the three year eligibility period if the third anniversary of their admission to the roll of barristers and solicitors falls within the calendar year in respect of which the award is to be made.

Example: A practitioner who was admitted in June 2019 would be eligible to apply for, and be awarded, the Prize in 2022 even if the award was decided in September 2022; however, the practitioner would not be eligible for the 2023 award.

If any applicant considers there are exceptional circumstances affecting the timing of their application, they may request special consideration for a dispensation from the qualifying period for eligibility when they apply. Any application for special consideration to apply outside the 3 year eligibility criteria is considered on a broad discretionary basis by the New Zealand Law Society. Whilst all circumstances provided in support of special consideration are taken into account, there are no specific criteria that require consideration or satisfy eligibility outside three years. The New Zealand Law Society’s decision on any such special application is final.

Value $5,000 annually.

Applications close 5pm 1st September each year.

Please read the terms of reference then email the following application information to prior to the closing date. Note, if the closing date falls on a weekend, then you have until 5pm on the following Monday to submit your application. Applications must include the following:

  • A personal statement as to why you believe you are a suitable candidate for this award, your aspirations for your future in law and how you believe you might contribute to the profession and society generally.
  • A letter of nomination (only if applicable).
  • Academic transcripts.
  • Letter from the Dean or senior member of the Law Faculty attended on your performance and contribution to the Faculty.
  • Details of awards, academic prizes, etc.
  • Details of who we can expect references/testimonials from. Note letters of reference (at least two) should be emailed directly by the referee to the application email and are generally not included in your application. References should focus on aspects of your character and achievements relevant to the criteria and address your suitability for the award.
  • Evidence of the date of your admission to the Bar.

Your application and supporting information should provide evidence of your:

  • Character
  • Leadership potential
  • Academic achievement and attainments
  • Community service activities, both past and present
  • Reliability, progress and enthusiasm in practical legal training
  • Personal interests and participation in general activities.

If possible, please also upload a good quality jpg file of a recent head and shoulders photograph. This is not part of your application but will be used for publicity purposes should you be successful. Providing a photograph is optional.

Terms of Reference

Full List of NZLF Cleary Memorial Prize recipients



Cleary Memorial Prize Recipients

2023: Oliver Fredrickson

About the recipient

2022: Phoebe Clifford

About the recipient


2022: Jack Trevella

About the recipient


2021: Eve Bain

About the recipient

2020: Olivia Klinkum

About the recipient
Photo of Olivia Klinkum 2020 Cleary Memorial Prize winner

2019 : Jack Alexander

About the recipient
Photo of Jack Alexander 2019 Cleary Memorial Prize winner

2018 : Laura Hardcastle

About the recipient
Photo of Laura Hardcastle 2018 Cleary Memorial Prize winner

2017 : Rosa Polaschek

About the recipient
Photo of Rosa Polaschek 2017 Cleary Memorial Prize winner

2016 : Johanna McDavitt

About the recipient
Photo of Johanna McDavitt 2016 Cleary Memorial Prize joint winner

2016 : Joshua Pemberton

About the recipient
Photo of Joshua Pemberton 2016 Cleary Memorial Prize joint winner

2015 : Alexandra Sinclair

About the recipient
Photo of Alexandra Sinclair 2015 Cleary Memorial Prize joint winner

2015 : Ashiq Hamid

About the recipient
Photo of Ashiq Hamid 2015 Cleary Memorial Prize joint winner

2014 : Seamus Woods

About the recipient
Photo of Seamus Woods 2014 Cleary Memorial Prize winner

2013 : Sam McMullan

About the recipient
Photo of Sam McMullan Cleary Memorial Prize joint winner

2012 : Rebecca Rose

About the recipient
Photo of Rebecca Rose 2012 Cleary Memorial Prize joint winner

2012 : Catherine Harwood

About the recipient
Photo of Catherine Harwood 2012 Cleary Memorial Prize joint winner

2011 : David Turner

About the recipient
Photo of David Turner 2011 Cleary Memorial Prize Winner

2010 : Matthew Reuben Windsor

About the recipient
Photo of Matthew Windsor 2010 Cleary Memorial Prize Winner

2010 : Rebecca Elvin

About the recipient
Photo of Rebecca Elvin 2010 Cleary Memorial Prize Winner

2009 : Colin Francis Fife

About the recipient
Photo of Colin Fife 2009 Cleary Memorial Prize Winner

2009 : Jeremy Wiremu Alexander Johnson

About the recipient
Photo of Jeremy Johnson Cleary Memorial Prize Winner

2008 : Jason N.E. Varuhas

About the recipient
Photo of Jason Varuhas 2008 Cleary Memorial Prize Winner

2007 : Nicholas Whittington

2006 : Malcolm Birdling

2005 : Jonathan Kilby Scragg

2004 : Alyssa Rochelle Phillips

2003 : Sacha Liesyl Wallach Green

2002 : Anna-Marie Elisabeth Kirk

2001 : Rachel Mary Carnachan

2000 : Joanna Claire Mossop

1999 : Hanna Wilberg

1998 : Anna Rawlings and Nicole Moreham

1997 : John Peterson

1996 : Simon Mount

1995 : Timothy Cameron

1994 : Jane Anderson and Campbell Walker

1993 : Marc Corlett

1992 : Joanne Maree Appleyard

1991 : Adam Stephen Ross

1990 : Paul Anthony Key

1989 : Sean Patrick Baldwin

1983 to 1988 : No awards were made

1982 : Miriam Rose Dean

1981 : Graham Laurie Lang

1980 : Michael Bruce Taggart

1979 : Michael Philip Crew

1978 : David William Mayhew

1977 : No award made

1976 : Evan Christopher Williams

1975 : No award made

1974 : John Francis Timmins

1973 : Andrew Hawksworth Brown

1972 : William Akel

1971 : Gerald Francis Kember

1970 : Austin John Forbes

1969 : John Richard Wild

1968 : John Prebble

1967 : Alan Raymond Galbraith

1966 : Donald Malcolm McRae

1965 : Andrew Patrick Charles Tipping

1964 : William David Baragwanath


Forgotten your password ? Click right here.
Not registered ? Click here to create your account