U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Appointing Judges: A Judicial Appointments Commission for New Zealand?

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2004
51 pages
This paper examines issues related to the creation of a judicial appointments commission to identify and recommend suitable candidates for judicial office in New Zealand.
Currently in New Zealand all judges are appointed by the Governor-General, using various advisory mechanisms depending on the type of court. This paper first details the features of the current judicial appointment procedures in New Zealand and also provides an overview of the major methods of judicial appointment used in other countries. This is followed by a summary of the key features of judicial appointment commissions or recent proposals to establish a commission in selected countries. In describing the features of judicial appointment commissions, the paper first considers the appointment of commission members. Appointments to most commissions in countries that have them include one or more of the following: the executive (state governor or Minister); designated judicial officers; ex-officio membership; a range of nominating bodies representative of the key groups of judges, lawyers, and lay people; and the legislature. The size and membership of appointment commissions can vary from as few as 5 to as many as 33. Most commissions can develop their own policies and procedures in accordance with statutory guidelines when selecting candidates for judicial office. The appointment process involves four phases: the initial phase, the formal interview, the advice to the Minister, and the appointment. In suggesting options for a New Zealand judicial appointments commission, the paper proposes having eight members who consist of three lay people who are not practicing lawyers and have never held judicial office, the Chief Justice, one other senior judge, the President of the New Zealand Law Society, the President of the New Zealand Bar Association, and another person whose identity will vary according to expertise related to the particular court for which an appointment is to be made. Questions are presented for responses from readers in order to stimulate discussion regarding the establishment and features of a New Zealand judicial appointments commission.


No download available