Judge Laurence Ryan has been appointed Principal Family Court Judge, Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson QC announced today.
Principal Judge Ryan was the acting Principal Family Court Judge since October 2012, when Judge Peter Boshier signalled his retirement. He took over the permanent role on 1 February 2013.
Principal Judge Ryan graduated with an LLB from Auckland University in 1972 and joined the late Brian Shenkin in partnership in 1975. He practiced as a barrister sole specialising in family law from 1988 until his appointment to the District Court bench in 1996 with a Family Court warrant and Youth Court designation. He has been the Administrative Family Court Judge for the Northern region under Sir Patrick Mahony and Judge Boshier.
His judicial work has included the presentation of conference papers on case management and restorative justice for children to Judges in the Australasian and Asian regions as well as papers to his New Zealand colleagues both as a Judge and a specialist family lawyer. He has been a member of the Family Court Education Committee and helped to co-present at a number of seminars for Family Court Judges.
Principal Judge Ryan was a member of the National Case-flow Management Committee, chaired by Justice Sir John Hansen, until its dis-establishment. At the time of the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act, the Principal Judge established a case-flow management practice for application for protection order that was later adopted throughout most of the New Zealand courts. He has been instrumental in establishing and managing the Centralised Fixtures programme for the Greater Auckland area and he has contributed to various Judicial Reference Groups and working groups dealing with specific issues.