Supreme Court Justice Robert Chambers





Professional Data                  2010 Judge Survey Score (1-10)    Ranking (out of 60) 

Postion & Titles: QC
Judge of: Supreme Court, 2012 Previously on the Court of Appeal (2004) and a High Court judge in Auckland (1999)
Specializations and Professional Interests: ++Reported to have died in his sleep the night of 21 May 2013++  Questions surface over the circumstances, with the death not widely reported in New Zealand.

Interests were litigation, or anything that makes him appear important (he simply had a huge ego; which was widely known).

Professional Comments: Judge Chamber’s conservative leanings often left the “law” out of “law and order”.

Chambers J could be an alienating presence on the bench.  Was highly intellegent but because he fancies himself a legal scholar, this self-image rankled a number of his colleagues. However, his energy and work-horse approach to the tedious tasks of writing legal opinions gained him some favour from fellow judges on panels he shared. Highly opinionated and quick to dominate and instill his opinions by nature. He was virtually incapable of preventing his personal opinions from slanting his judgments.

Justice Chambers was quite clever at tailoring the facts of a case to match his attitudes when writing judgments.  Quintessential Type A personality with a Napoleon complex. Bench behaviour can be audacious, as in the multiple drugging and sexual violation case of Richard Sturm, where Justice Chambers caused a mistrial by telling the jury that his interpretation of ‘stupifying’ was quite different than the prosecution and that the jury should rely upon his interpretation.  Loves gossip.  Will often seek to find out as much as he can about a case and the parties through the grapevine before hearing it.

Before he died he married Deborah Anne Smith–Tohill–Hollings..Chambers.  Not sure how many names Robert knew about or how they came about.  She is not a ‘Lady’ in NZ.


Background / Education: Graduated LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1975 and in 1978 gained a doctorate from the University of Oxford. He commenced practice as a barrister in 1981 and was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1992. He was appointed to the High Court in 1999, and to the Court of Appeal in January 2004. Lost out to William Young as President of the Court of Appeal in February 2006.  Left his wife several years ago for relationship property barrister Deborah Hollings of Bankside Chambers.
Degrees: LLB Auckland, 1975, Doctorate from Oxford, 1978
Admitted to the Bar: 1981
Company Involvements: Team Investments Limited, Deborah Hollings Limited, indirect financial interest in Bankside Chambers

Personal Data

Born: 23 August 1953
New Zealand
Sex: Male
Married: 1977, Claire Marion Taylor

2nd wife -Deborah Hollings

Children: 2 (David Robert b.1984, Christopher James b.1988)
Interesting Relationships and Coincidences: Chambers’ current wife Deborah Hollings QC is considerably younger than him and a recent admission to Queen’s Counsel.  Ms Hollings is a trust and family relationship lawyer with Bankside Chambers in Auckland.  Her website profile falsely claims she is the sole shareholder in Deborah Hollings Limited.  In truth Justice Chambers is a 50% shareholder.

Judge Chambers is closely aligned with Michael Stiassny, possibly the largest single litigator in New Zealand. He also has ties to the National Party and is a friend of current National president Peter Goodfellow (son of one of the wealthiest men in New Zealand).

Judging from his past bench performance, Chambers J is willing to twist the law to assist his friends. Would have had assistance of a number of other powerful friends to get where he is today. Don’t expect Chambers J to recuse himself when presented with obvious conflict of interests.

Miscellaneous: Chambers J lives in Remuera, Auckland