Legal equity champion Chief Judge Christina Inglis receives Honorary Doctorate

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The first female Chief Judge of the Employment Court Christina Inglis will receive an honorary Doctor of Law from Te Herenga Waka―Victoria University of Wellington at its December 2022 graduation.

“This award recognises Christina’s contribution to the law and judiciary, particularly in the areas of employment and human rights,” says Chancellor John Allen.

“As Chief Judge, she has drawn particular attention to issues relating to access to justice, the impact of changing social norms and the balancing of rights and interests in the employment relationship.”

Chief Judge Inglis completed a Master of Law with Honours at Victoria University of Wellington and a Master of Arts with Honours at the University of Canterbury.

She has broad experience in the law with a primary focus on civil litigation, public law, and employment law. She served as a Crown Counsel at Crown Law for many years and led the Crown Law Human Rights Team. She sat on the Advisory Board of the New Zealand Centre for Human Rights Law and Practice. 

Chief Judge Inglis now chairs the judicial diversity committee Te Awa Tuia Tangata, which the Chief Justice and Heads of Bench established to drive change towards achieving a diverse judiciary across all courts. In addition, she sits on the board of the Access to Justice Advisory Group, a joint initiative of the Chief Justice and Chief Executive of the Ministry of Justice with a particular focus on access to civil justice, is a member of the Judicial Conduct Advisory Committee, and sits on the Digital Strategy (for Courts and Tribunals) Advisory Group.

Chief Judge Inglis was appointed to the Employment Court in 2011 and in 2017 became the Court’s first female Chief Judge. She is the first female judge to receive an honorary doctorate from the University.

“Christina has done much to highlight the challenges and opportunities thrown up by new digital technologies and social media, the off-putting (if not crippling) costs of the litigation process, and the need to address barriers to the employment institutions, particularly for vulnerable workers,” says the Chancellor.

Chief Judge Inglis is acutely aware of the need to ensure that employment law keeps pace with societal change and is accessible to all.

Her strong sense of social justice was evident at a recent conference when she asked what happens to those employees and employers, who are not living in poverty but cannot afford the high fees that accumulate when pursuing or responding to employment disputes to mediation and beyond.

“And what of other potential barriers, including the spectre of name publication, information deficits, vulnerability and other non-financial impediments?”

The University looks forward to honouring Chief Judge Inglis at their first full graduation since December 2021. 

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