High Court Justice Anne Hinton, Auckland
|Postion & Titles:||QC|
|Judge of:||High Court, Auckland, since 2015|
|Specializations and Professional Interests:||Matrimonial property and civil litigation|
|Professional Comments:||Justice Hinton graduated with an LLB (Hons) from Auckland University in 1975. She was admitted in February 1977 and became a staff solicitor with Grierson Jackson & Partners in Auckland.She joined the partnership of Hesketh Henry in 1982, working in civil litigation. In 1989 she left to join the partnership of Simpson Grierson in their Auckland office and headed the civil litigation and matrimonial property team of five lawyers.Justice Hinton became a barrister in 1997 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2002.Anne Hinton was extremely successful as a divorce lawyer, setting new precedent in the division of matrimonial property and acting for some of the most wealthy and powerful people in New Zealand. Her successes include a 2009 landmark Supreme Court ruling granting 40% of the capital appreciation of property own by the husband prior to the marriage to the ex-wife on the ground uncompensated domestic chores contributed to the appreciation.|
|Background / Education:||Graduated LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1975 and was admitted to the Bar in 1977.Joined Hesketh Henry in 1982Became partner in Simpson Grierson in 1989Was joint controlling partner in Waterloo Chambers, Waterloo Towers, Auckland.|
|Degrees:||LLB (Hons), Auckland, 1975|
|Admitted to the Bar:||1977|
|Company Involvements:||50% joint holding with Richard Barry Lange in Waterloo Chambers Limited|
|Interesting Relationships and Coincidences:|
LAW NEWS interview with Anne Hinton upon her 2015 appointment as judge of the High Court.
As a former ADLSI Council and Committee member, Law News was delighted to be able to catch up with the new judge prior to her swearing-in ceremony to talk about her new role, what she will miss about being in practice, and what she is looking forward to in the months ahead.
Law always seemed like the likely career choice for the young Anne Hinton, even back in her school days. Like many others, a taste for public speaking and “performing” nudged her early on along her future path.
“I was always into debating and giving speeches,” said her Honour, “and my teachers used to say I should be a lawyer.” Justice Hinton was one of the first, if not the first, student from her high school (Kawerau College) to go to law school.
“My grandfather was also a lawyer – and while that may or may not have influenced me, I do remember coming up to Auckland and going up in the lift to visit his offices in His Majesty’s Arcade. Those memories have stayed with me.”
Justice Hinton has long been a leading light in relationship property litigation, as recognised by her appointment as Queen’s Counsel in 2002.
However, her background is far broader than her current specialisation belies, with years spent at firms Grierson Jackson & Partners, Hesketh Henry and Simpson Grierson (where she headed up the civil litigation and matrimonial property team) honing her skills in commercial and general litigation.
Undoubtedly, such experience gave her an edge when it came to dealing with the thorny issues inherent in the relationship property-type cases in which she ultimately came to specialise.
“It was only when I went out on my own (in 1997) that I really became a specialist in relationship property – I had a more commercial background at Simpson Grierson, but there was a huge demand in terms of relationship property cases,” Justice Hinton noted.
Similarly, while she has become well-known in recent years for acting for women in economic disparity cases, she has primarily acted for men and says she has always tried to do the best for any client, whoever it is.
“In recent times, I have ended up acting for women on some of the leading cases where inroads have been made towards women getting a better deal at the end of a relationship, and those tend to be the cases you hear about!”
Joining the ranks of the judiciary after such a stellar career in practice was not necessarily a given for Justice Hinton, who has not always aspired to be a judge and has only lately had a change of heart.
“Earlier in my career, when there were hardly any women High Court judges, my female colleagues and I all wanted to be amongst the first women to get there, but I haven’t always wanted to be a judge,” she said.
“However, the timing just feels right now – I had two hearings before the Supreme Court in December, and you don’t get many of those, so this just seems a good time to make the move, and everyone has been very supportive.”
When Law News spoke to the new judge, she was in the throes of clearing out her office in preparation for the move to judge’s chambers.
Apart from some slight pangs about relinquishing the view from her lofty perch on Waterloo Quadrant, Justice Hinton was excited about the changes ahead and seeing what it is like on the other side of the bench.
“It will be a big change, with big challenges, but I am looking forward to those. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed being in practice, but there are certain opportunities that come up, and you have to take them,” said her Honour.
“People say the phone doesn’t ring so much when you are a judge – personally I think that might be a plus as my phone goes all day long.
“On the other hand, I will miss the interaction with people – I am dealing with a whole raft of people each day, from clients to accountants to other lawyers,” she mused.
“I will miss the flexibility I have in practice of coming in when it suits, working late when I need to, but I won’t really miss the court appearances – I feel like I’ve done enough of those. It will certainly be interesting to see it from the other side.”
In reflecting on her long and successful career and practice, a couple of things come to mind as highlights.
“I think being appointed as Queen’s Counsel was a big achievement. I was also proud to chair the New Zealand Lawyers’ Disciplinary Tribunal (as it was then called) – it was something to be sitting on the ultimate legal professional body in the country,” her Honour said.
“There have been some good cases in which I’ve been involved – however, having said that, every case, every client is important, and it’s important not to ignore the need to bring litigation to an end by the best means, which may not be in court.”
When not sitting in court as part of her new role, Justice Hinton enjoys a raft of activities including tennis, yoga and getting out on all the New Zealand “Great Walks”.
In terms of her musical tastes, she likes listening to young women vocalists such as Lorde and Taylor Swift, whom she admires for their ability to make an impact as strong young women in the once male-dominated music scene.
Justice Hinton was sworn in last week and will sit in Auckland.