Long-serving judge to start work in Dunedin

21:47, Jan 07 2014

A long-serving and well-known Invercargill judge has moved to Dunedin.

Judge Kevin Phillips, who has been working as a judge in Invercargill for almost eight years, said he would miss Invercargill but it was time to move on.

‘I'll miss this lovely court building and the staff but it was time again to move on, really."

His official last day in Invercargill was December 3. In Dunedin he will continue his career as a judge in criminal work, starting on January 20.

Judge Phillips, who has spent 42 years in law in Southland, started his career in 1972 as a lawyer in Gore for 14 years before moving to Queenstown where he was a lawyer for a further 21 years.

There was nothing he would change about his career, he said.


In February, 2006, he was sworn in as a District Court judge and has been in Invercargill since. He has also been a circuit judge to Queenstown.

Since then he has been involved in mainly local authority work.

Becoming a judge was something he had been interested in. He was making changes in his life, his family was a bit older and he thought it was time to move on in life, he said.

The opportunity in Invercargill arose and friends, who were judges, thought he should have a go at it. And he was glad he had.

What stood out the most about his time in Invercargill was the way the court worked and operated. It also came down to the staff, who he described as the highlight of the job.

In Invercargill people often stared, he said, because they knew who he was but he never felt apprehensive about walking around and had never felt insecure.

In Dunedin, he would be doing the same job but the city offered more anonymity and a bigger court.

After he finishes up in Dunedin he would retire, he said.

"We've made some great friends here [in Invercargill].

"While I was apprehensive about coming to live in Invercargill we've had a good time here and will miss it." 

The Southland Times