The Rt Hon Helen Winkelmann (GNZM) was sworn in as New Zealand’s 13th Chief Justice on 14 March 2019. She is the second Chief Justice since the creation of the Supreme Court in 2004.
A graduate from Auckland University, Chief Justice Winkelmann began work as a law clerk with the Auckland law firm Nicholson Gribbin (now DLA Piper). She was admitted to the bar in 1985. In 1988, she became the first female partner and one of the youngest ever in the firm’s then 117-year history. Chief Justice Winkelmann remained at the firm until 2001 when she began practice as a barrister - specialising in insolvency, commercial litigation, and medical disciplinary litigation. In 2004 she was appointed as a High Court Judge, Chief High Court Judge in 2010, and then appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2015.
The Chief Justice has spoken regularly on issues concerning the just and efficient operation of the courts, and access to justice, as evident in her keynote speech to Te Hūnga Rōia Māori (Māori Law Society) "Renovating the House of the Law" (Aug 2019), Ethel Benjamin Address "Access to Justice - Who Needs Lawyers" (Nov 2014) and the Dame Silvia Cartwright Address "What Right Do We Have? Securing Judicial Legitimacy in Changing Times" (Oct 2019).