Justice Davidson takes up his High Court post

June 26, 2015 | By More

High Court-panoply1Special thanks for his work on the Pike River mine disaster inquiry were passed on as Christchurch’s newest High Court judge took up his post with a special ceremony in the city’s most ornate courtroom.

Justice Nicholas Davidson QC was appointed this month by the Attorney-General Chris Finlayson. He will sit in Christchurch.

Presiding over the special sitting was the Chief Justice of New Zealand, Dame Sian Elias. Twelve QCs attended.

Fourteen judges from the higher courts sat on the bench, most of them in the red ceremonial robes and flowing wigs. The Chief Justice welcomed people who may not have been in courts before. She said: “The forms we observe are a little antique, but I hope you will find that there is serious meaning here, too.”

Justice Davidson graduated from the University of Canterbury in 1971 and became a barrister and solicitor with Duncan Cotterill and Co in Christchurch. He left that firm to join Young Hunter and Co, where he became a partner in 1975.

He went to the independent bar in 1988 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1996. He represented the Serious Fraud Office into the Wine Box Inquiry, and was counsel for the Royal Commission of Inquiry for the families of the men killed in the Pike River mine disaster in 2010.

The Attorney-General told the sitting that Bernie Monk, the spokesperson for the Pike River families, and people from the families had travelled to Christchurch for the occasion.

He thanked Justice Davidson for his work on the Royal Commission. “You were a great advocate for those families.” He had been measured, professional, and tenacious on their behalf.

Justice Davidson has served on several sports disciplinary tribunals and in administrative posts.

Dame Sian said Justice Davidson’s experience in the law had been “vast and exceptionally varied”.

She told him: “You are regarded as someone who has been a tower of strength to practitioners.” He was greatly liked in legal circles not only for his work but for his kindness and warmth.

Justice Davidson said it was “a splendid assembly”. He said he was touched by the number of members of the legal bar who had attended the ceremony. “I have had 40 years of fun, as well as making a living.”

He said the Pike River inquiry had involved “magnificent, resolute families”. It had been a life changing experience. “It was an immersion in a story which many, with reason, were reluctant to tell.”


Category: Focus

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