High Court Justice Graham Lang

Graham Laurie Lang

High Court Justice Graham LANG

Professional Data:

2014 Judge Survey Score (1-10): 8.0    Ranking (out of 63):  16th Justice Graham Lang photo

Postion & Titles: Former Crown Solicitor, Napier
Judge of: High Court Auckland, since 2005 Associate Judge (Master) Auckland High Court 2002– 2005
Specializations and Professional Interests: Practised Insolvency Law as a Lawyer in Napier
Professional Comments: Judge Lang is intellectually gifted on legal matters but prone to choose legal cunning over a forthright approach to his judicial duties.  Small in stature, ambitious and relatively insecure since moving to Auckland, choosing more times than not to take the easy, even lazy, approach rather than the inspired approach he is capable of as judge.Early in his appointment to the bench Justice Lang prefered to take the honourable approach to his duties.  In short order he was personally hampered by the good-old boys network that has aided him in his career path and – at the same time – found that no one questioned his judicial actions.   Lang J found that he could say anything occurred in a hearing and he enjoyed the tremendous power this gave him.  Hence, Lang J has become extraordinary adept at claiming the less-favoured party agreed to something in a hearing “by consent” in order to ring-fence the claim before him or prevent discovery.  An indicative example is this, taken from a Northland man’s claim against the Attorney General; “He confirmed to me that he was prepared to be bound by the reformulation of his claims as set out in those two documents”.New Zealand lawyers are simply too afraid to challenge any judicial ruling which states they agreed to something they had not agreed to at the hearing; and Lang J is acutely aware of this. One almost comical aspect of Justice Lang that demonstrates he would be a terrible poker player is his distinct and quite noticeable tendency to open his eyes wider when he is up to something devious.  It is an unconcious and very apparent personal trait.  When a litigant sees this in Justice Lang, they are advised to immediately turn on their audio-recorders because Lang’s reserved judgment is destined to instill a completely new reality to what happened at the hearing. This said, Lang may often be even-handed and matter-of-fact in cases where he has no vested interest.  The problem is one never knows this when they appear before him.  His propensity to limit proceedings and transparency in his courtroom – restricting accurate recording of proceedings is one certain indication – often happens too late to counter.  Again, it is only by preventing accurate recording of proceedings that Justice Graham Lang is able to get by with distorting the court record in his judgments.  With Lang especially, it is advisable to always take a secret recording device into court with you.  After Lang J presents an “official account” that sanitizes the submissions, it is too late. As an insolvency practitioner, Lang would have worked closely with many major banks and lending institutions, suggesting a cautious approach by litigants whose interests run contrary to Lang’s in this area.
Background / Education: Graduated from Otago University with LLB (Hons) in 1980. Awarded New Zealand Law Society’s Cleary Memorial Prize in 1981.Was a staff solicitor at Robinson Toomey & Partners in Napier from 1980 to 1987, when he moved to partner at Elvidge and Partners.  Lang J is co-author of Brooker’s “Fisheries Law in New Zealand”.Lang J was appointed Crown Solicitor at Napier from 1995 to 2002. Appointed Master at the Auckland High Court in April 2002 and full judge in August 2005.
Degrees: LLB Otago 1980
Admitted to the Bar: 1980
Company Involvements: Former director Whakatu Property Management Ltd, Ashclyde Holdings Ltd.Shareholder of Breckenridge Water Company Ltd, JLY Ltd, Canary Investments Ltd, Kookachoo Ltd.

Personal Data

Born: 1956 New Zealand Sex: Male
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