Former New Zealand Ministry of Justice lawyer Kelby Harmes has been appointed to a top UK legal role as Deputy Head of the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) beating out what was described in his appointment as “a strong field of candidates”.
He had formerly served as interim Directory and Deputy Head of the Office, which is a powerful government department charged with providing legal advice and support to the Attorney General and the Solicitor General who in turn give legal advice to government on a range of important issues, including sentencing levels.
A former Director General of the Ministry of Justice he returned to the UK in 2015 and joined the Cabinet Office Legal Advisers before joining the AGO in 2018.
Admitted as a barrister and solicitor in New Zealand in 1998 he worked in various legal roles in the public and private sectors until 2003. He then moved to London and was admitted as a solicitor here in 2004. In 2003, Kelby joined the former Department for Constitutional Affairs, now known as the Ministry of Justice, before working as the Private Secretary to the Lord Chief Justice in 2005. He then moved to DCMS Legal Advisers where he was a senior lawyer advising on the London Olympics and Paralympics from 2005-2012.
Commenting on the appointment, Doug Wilson, Director Genera of the AGO said “I’m absolutely delighted to announce Kelby as my deputy at the AGO. Kelby is an inspiring leader and consummate professional whose advice and expertise is respected by the Law Officers and across Whitehall. I look forward to working with him and supporting AGO in making law and politics work together at the heart of government.”