Letters : Appointment defended
I am responding to your editorial comment where you said it is galling and inappropriate for Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson to be the first new appointment as one of Her Majesty's counsel [Express, December 18].
The attorney-general is the principal law officer of the Crown and is responsible for supervising the administration of the law by the state. The second most senior law officer of the Crown in the solicitor-general.
In any consideration of who should be appointed Queen's counsel, the persons holding these positions should be considered first. This is out of respect for the positions they hold, the constitutional importance of these positions, and the links these positions have to the Crown. The lawyers who now hold the offices of attorney-general and solicitor-general are lawyers of unquestionable pre-eminence. For these lawyers not to have been appointed as Her Majesty's counsel would have been disrespectful to their offices.
It is wrong and unfair to suggest that in the case of the attorney-general, this appointment took a place which might have been available to another lawyer. There is no quota. Lawyers are appointed on merit, and I believe that custom and respect for the Crown mean that those who hold the offices of attorney-general and solicitor-general will be considered first.
Christopher Finlayson had a home in Marlborough and remains a regular visitor to and supporter of this region. Having known and respected him for 30 years, I am not able to leave your criticism of his appointment unchallenged.
The Marlborough Express