Judge says honour shared with others

GLENN CONWAY
Last updated 05:00 31/12/2013

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The honour may be his but retired High Court judge Lester Chisholm said it should be shared by the many people involved in the judiciary system.

The former High Court Justice becomes a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for a 40-year-plus involvement in the judiciary and legal system.

Chisholm, who stood down from the bench in August this year, said the award was "a pleasant surprise" but should reflect the work everyone in the judiciary system performed every day.

There were dozens of people involved in the system who worked hard and helped make every part of the operation work well.

Chisholm served as a High Court judge in Christchurch from 1996.

But his career in the legal fraternity dates back decades.

He joined the Napier firm of Willis Toomey Robinson in 1968 and became a partner in 1970.

He served as president of the Hawke's Bay Law Society from 1987 to 1990 and also sat on the New Zealand Law Society Council from 1988 to 1990, serving on its executive for a year.

Chisholm was a member of the New Zealand Law Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal and served as deputy chairman in 1991 before serving as its chairman from 1992 to 1996.

His involvement in legal circles also included serving as an executive judge in Christchurch and working as a member of the Divisional Courts run by the Court of Appeal.

Since his retirement, his main focus has been chairing the board of inquiry into the Ruataniwha dam and irrigation scheme for Central Hawke's Bay, a role that will continue when that resumes early in the new year.

Chisholm said his legal career had been very rewarding and he still missed the people involved in ensuring the legal system operated so well.

He did not, however, miss the "horrendous" tales and stories that often emerged in trials.

"I certainly miss the people, it has been an extraordinary privilege to have been part of the judiciary."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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