Top law man joining Waikato
29 June 2016
Recently retired Senior Court of Appeal judge and president of the New Zealand Law Commission Sir Grant Hammond is joining Te Piringa - Faculty of Law on a part-time basis as a Professor of Judicial Studies.
Sir Grant, knighted in 2011 for services to law and who received Waikato University’s first Doctor of Laws degree in 2014, will be teaching a course in judicial remedies and assisting with supervision of graduate students.
The judge has had an extensive career that’s combined practice with academia, taking him all over the world.
His early days were spent at Tompkins Wake in Hamilton where he was a partner who worked mostly in litigation. From there he headed for North America, first taking up a teaching fellowship position at the University of Illinois, then working as associate professor at Dalhousie University in Canada and on to a professorial appointment at the University of Alberta, where he was also director of The Institute of Law Research and Reform.
By the late 1980s, Sir Grant decided it was time to come home and was appointed Professor of Commercial Law at the University of Auckland and subsequently became Dean of Law.
From there it was to the bench where he was a High Court judge for 11 years and presided over many civil and criminal cases. Two Waikato cases that still stick in his mind were the Tainui settlement case – the first Treaty of Waitangi settlement to be signed, and the 1995 New Empire Hotel arson in Frankton – in which six people died. The trial was the first in New Zealand to allow television cameras in the court.
Sir Grant then spent a decade as a judge of the Court of Appeal. In 2010 he was also appointed, and still is, a judge of the Samoa Court of Appeal. In the same year he took up the presidency of the New Zealand Law Commission and chair of the Legislation Advisory Committee to Parliament.
Whilst on judicial sabbaticals Sir Grant has also taught as a visiting professor at Cornell University (New York) and was the Robert S Campbell Fellow at Magdalen College at Oxford in 2008. He continues to travel widely to talk about aspects of New Zealand law and has published a large number of books and book chapters on a variety of legal subjects.
He has also made himself available to undertake arbitrations. He was the author of Canadian legislation and has significant North American experience in this area.
Coming from a family farming background, Sir Grant says he’s pleased to be associated with the Waikato again; he grew up here and says it is “home”.