Seven District Court Judges appointed

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Seven new District Court judges have been appointed and will take up their roles in March. 

Attorney-General David Parker said the appointees replace sitting Judges who have reached retirement age. Their appointment was foreshadowed in a press release in mid-December. 

Those appointed are: 

Ian Carter, barrister of Lower Hutt has been appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to be based in Whanganui.   

His legal career commenced with Earl, Kent and Co before two years as a Judge’s clerk in the Auckland High Court. Following that he spent time as an associate and senior solicitor specialising in commercial and civil litigation. 

He then joined Crown Law in Wellington and was there until 2013 as Crown Counsel specialising mainly in public law, civil and commercial litigation.  In 2013 he commenced practice as a barrister, although shortly after was appointed as General Counsel for the NZ Security Intelligence Service.  

Following a period of secondment as Senior Crown Counsel back at Crown Law he resumed his practice as barrister.  He has specialised in Civil and Commercial litigation dealing in contractual and property disputes, construction law, insolvency, regulatory compliance and public law. 

Judge Carter will be sworn in on 15 March 2021. 

Anna Fitzgibbon barrister of Auckland has been appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to be based in the North Shore. 

Her first legal role was as a lawyer for the Service and Food Workers Union, before joining Jackson Russell, becoming a partner with that firm and establishing its employment law team.  She was a part-time member of the Refugee Status Appeals Authority between 2000 and 2005 while at the same time working as a founding partner of LawWorks, specialising in civil litigation and mediation. 

She set up as a barrister in 2008, was President of the Auckland District Law Society between 2009 and 2012 and Chairperson of the Auckland Community Law Centre between 2011 and 2012. Since that time she has been a full-time member of the Employment Relations Authority.

Judge Fitzgibbon will be sworn in on 11 March 2021. 

William Lawson, lawyer of Rotorua has been appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to be based in Tauranga. 

He commenced work as a staff solicitor in Invercargill, initially with Macalister Brothers and then, following a move to Rotorua, with Dennett Olphert Sandford.   

He then set up in partnership as Lance Lawson and has been the senior partner responsible for the general development of that firm since that time.  His practice covers criminal, civil and employment law. 

Judge Lawson will be sworn in on 12 March 2021. 

Michael Mika, lawyer of Invercargill has been appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to be based in Lower Hutt. 

He graduated from Otago University, beginning his career with O’Driscoll and Marks Solicitors in Dunedin. Following that he joined Cruickshank Pryde Lawyers in Invercargill and then spent four years working for Drew Jones Solicitors in England.  He returned to Invercargill in 2003 and commenced work for Preston Russell as a Crown Prosecutor. He is a director at that firm. 

Judge Mika will be sworn in on 8 March 2021. 

David Robinson, Coroner of Dunedin has been appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to be based in Dunedin. 

His first role was as a solicitor with Wilkinson Mirkin Crush in Dunedin, before becoming a partner with Wilkinson Adams (Crown Solicitors).  In 2006 he joined Gallaway Cook Allan as a partner before taking up appointment as a Coroner based in Dunedin in 2017. 

Judge Robinson will be sworn in on 23 March 2021. 

Gene Tomlinson, lawyer of Whakatane has been appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to be based in Whangarei. 

He has spent his entire legal career with Gowing and Co based in Whakatane and is a director of that firm.  He is a specialist criminal lawyer with extensive trial experience and is a senior youth advocate for the eastern Bay of Plenty and the Rangatahi Court. 

Judge Tomlinson will be sworn in on 17 March 2021. 

Yelena Yelavich, lawyer of Auckland has been appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to be based in Manukau. 

Her first role was with Meredith Connell as a solicitor, before leaving to travel overseas.  Upon her return to New Zealand she worked as a solicitor for Neurnegen and Co before re-joining Meredith Connell where she stayed until 2015 working as a solicitor and associate. She has since been a Principal Crown Prosecutor at Kayes, Fletcher, Walker Ltd in Manukau and has been a member of the NZ Bar Association training committee since 2016. 

Judge Yelavich will be sworn in on 9 March 2021. 

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