High Court Justice Matthew Palmer

Palmer, Matthew

High Court Justice Matthew Palmer, QC

Professional Data:   matthew palmer Justice High Court

2014 Judge Survey Score (1-10): not rated   Ranking (out of 60): not rated


Position & Titles:  Queens Council 2014, former Deputy Solicitor General 2008-2012.  In addition Justice Palmer has held a range of positions within government and academia, including Treasury, Justice, Crown Law and Victoria University
Judge of: High Court, Auckland, appointed October 2015 Auckland
Specializations and Professional Interests: Politics, public policy.

Mr Palmer QC has specialised in litigation and advice challenging or defending decisions of government, Crown entities and public bodies and has led argument in over 50 public law cases in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court and Waitangi Tribunal.

A rather comprehensive list of Matthew Palmer’s writings can be found at http://works.bepress.com/matthew_palmer/ , and a list of judicial decisions in cases he was involved are published below this profile

Professional Comments:  Matthew Palmer has the ability to quickly grasp and deal with complex issues.  By NZ lawyer standards, he is far more highly educated.  Both are in stark contrast to most of his judicial colleagues.  Matthew Palmer may be the brightest jurist in New Zealand.

Justice Palmer’s extensive and entrenched relationships within the secretive and mendacious New Zealand government bureaucracy also provide him with a tremendous amount of intimate legal knowledge.  Conversely, these relationships make it impossible for him to be independent on the bench.   Palmer had been keenly aware of how vociferously the Crown attacks those who expose misfeasance and undermine public perception that New Zealand has low corruption but his judicial appointment in late 2015 came with a familiar reminder of the ‘carrot and stick doctrine’.

Immediately after representing Mangawhai Ratepayers in their corruption and misfeasance appeal against Kaipara District Council at the Court of Appeal, where top officials within the Serious Fraud Office and Office of the Auditor General were also implicated, Palmer’s appointment to the bench was announced by the Attorney-General.   Palmer was already on the bench when he lost that appeal after refusing his clients’ instructions he attack the Kaipara District Council (Validation of Rates and Other Matters) Act 2013  which retrospectively validated rates which Kaipara Council now agreed had been set unlawfully.   Palmer caught wind ahead of hearing that if he raised this issue and won, the legislation could not survive and would need to be entirely rewritten.  His appointment mid-representation also eliminated any risk that Palmer might get religion when arguing a further appeal to the Supreme Court (where it was immediately appealed).

Background / Education: Justice Palmer graduated with an LLB (Hons) (First Class) in 1987. He has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Canterbury and a Masters and Doctorate in Law from Yale Law School.

Barrister in Thorndon Chambers prior to his bench appointment

Justice Palmer was also Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of Law, and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Public Law, at Victoria University of Wellington for five years.   He has taught law at the Victoria University of Wellington Schools of Law and of Government, Hong Kong University Law Faculty, Yale Law School, the Australian and New Zealand School of Government and the University of Chicago Law School.

Degrees:  LLB (Hons), Juris Doctorate, BA (economics and political science)
Admitted to the Bar:  1987.  Joined the independent bar in 2012, appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2014
Company Involvements: CITY CERTIFIERS LIMITED (1263352) (Struck off) – Ceased Director
DYNAMITE AUCKLAND LIMITED (900951) (Struck off) – Director

Personal Data

Born: 1964
New Zealand
Sex: Male
Married: wife- Marissa Children:
Interesting Relationships and Coincidences:  Son of Sir Geoffrey Palmer

Judicial Decisions Online involving Matthew Palmer

34 results: