David A R Williams QC, a former student, lecturer and now Honorary Professor of the Auckland Law School, was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2017 New Year Honours list for his services to international law and international arbitration.
Sir David graduated from Auckland Law School with an LLB in 1965, and he has maintained a close connection with the Law School ever since, throughout his long and distinguished legal career.
On his return from Harvard (where he completed an LLM), he taught under former Dean Jack Northey, before entering legal practice and a partnership role at Russell McVeagh (1969-1984). He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1987, and served as a Justice of the High Court from 1991-1994. Sir David has also held part-time judicial appointments in the Cook Islands (including as Chief Justice (2005-2010), and currently as President of the Cook Islands Court of Appeal), and Dubai.
Sir David, who is a member of Bankside Chambers in Auckland and Maxwell Chambers in Singapore, and an associate member of Essex Court Chambers in London, has developed a reputation as one of the world's leading international arbitrators. Alongside his arbitration work, Sir David co-teaches an LLM course in international arbitration with Associate Professor Amokura Kawharu.
Sir David has also published widely, including the leading text on New Zealand arbitration law that he co-authored with Amokura (Williams & Kawharu on Arbitration, LexisNexis, 2011). Amokura was thrilled by the news of Sir David’s knighthood. “David has been a great mentor – to me and other colleagues – for years, and he’s always generous with his time,” she says.