FRANCE, Simon Peter
High Court Justice Simon France
|Postion & Titles:||Former Deputy Dean of Law, Victoria University, Former Crown Counsel|
|Judge of:||High Court, Auckland 2005|
|Specializations and Professional Interests:||Academic|
|Professional Comments:|| Keen advocate of the parochial nature of court appointments and conduct. Calm presence on the bench and a quest for overachievement belie deep-seated personal insecurities.
Justice Simon France was the government lawyer who defended the “ex parte” appeal dismissal practices of the New Zealand Court of Appeal (sometimes by the Registrar) which the Privy Council ruled to be systematic deprivations of due process in R v Taito in 2003. Shortly after this, he and his wife (Ellen France) were both appointed High Court judges. Enough said.
Justice France is considered to have a keen intellect but has personal blind spots in judgment, with significant Machiavellian tendencies which surface increasingly with his tenure on the bench. This most commonly is demonstrated in a judicial approach that the law is subservient to the judgment of the presiding judge.
In one of the first cases heard in 2012 (Chapman v Casino Properties Limited), Justice Simon France ruled that his wife’s ruling in a relationship property dispute (Rabson v Gallagher CA507/2010) provided discretion for him to rule that service on the defendant was not required and that caveated interests of that defendant could be ordered lifted to achieve a practical result in keeping with his wife’s unrelated judgment.
Justice France thoroughly enjoys the baubles of power and privilege. Many lawyers who know him well have little respect for him as a judge.
|Background / Education:||Graduated LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland and worked briefly as a solicitor at Nicholson Gribbin before undertaking overseas study culminating in an LLM from Queen’s University, Ontario in 1983.
In 1984 Justice France joined Victoria University of Wellington as a lecturer, later becoming senior lecturer and at various times dean of students and deputy dean of the law faculty. In 1995 he moved to the Crown Law Office as a Crown Counsel, becoming team leader to the human rights team in 2002.
Justice France was appointed a High Court judge in January 2005 and is based in Auckland.
|Degrees:||LLB(Hons) Auckland, LLM, Queen’s University, Ontario 1983|
|Admitted to the Bar:||1979|
|Married:||Ellen Donour France||Children:|
|Interesting Relationships and Coincidences:||Wife Ellen France J is the Court of Appeal President in New Zealand|