Sir Kenneth Keith visits Law School

02 September 2012

Kenneth Keith for web
Sir Kenneth Keith with Sir Peter Blanchard (left) and Lord Kerr (right)

Sir Kenneth Keith, a judge of the International Court of Justice and an Auckland Law School alumnus, gave a lecture at Old Government House on Thursday 9th August entitled ‘Conflict, counsel, courts, commissions. Reflections on how law gets made.’ The audience included Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore (a member of the British Supreme Court), Justice Chambers of the New Zealand Supreme Court, Sir Peter Blanchard (who has recently retired from that court), and Justice Winkelman (the Chief High Court Judge), together with large numbers of other judges, members of the legal profession, the Faculty of Law, and students.

Dean Andrew Stockley, noted that Sir Kenneth is the only New Zealander to have been elected a judge of the International Court of Justice and said that his contribution to New Zealand and international law has been immense.

Sir Kenneth Keith was a Judge of the New Zealand Court of Appeal from 1996 to 2003, a founding judge of the New Zealand Supreme Court from 2004 to 2006, and at various times has served as a Judge of Appeal in Samoa, the Cook Islands, Niue and Fiji. He was a member of the New Zealand Law Commission from 1986 to 1996 and its President from 1991 to 1996.

In his public lecture, Sir Kenneth traced developments in the international law of the sea from the time of the great international lawyer Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) to the present day. He discussed the principle of the freedom of the high seas from its earliest association with the interests of the great naval trading powers such as the Dutch East India Company (which Grotius represented) through to its relationship to the law of piracy and its relevance to contemporary concerns about oil exploration and the environment.

During his visit Sir Kenneth also gave two student lectures. He discussed international criminal law in his talk to the international law class. His lecture to the advanced public law classes ranged widely from the Treaty of Waitangi, to educating people about the constitution and constitutional reform and why he changed his mind about the desirability of a Bill of Rights for New Zealand.


Listen to the recent lecture by His Excellency Judge Kenneth Keith entitled "Conflict, counsel, courts, commissions…Reflections on how law gets made"