At the interface between constitution and community

Judge Emma Smith — Chief Judge’s Advisory Board Member

I was invited to join the Chief District Court Judge’s Advisory Board in 2017 and I hold the public sector portfolio. The work is fascinating, wide ranging, fast paced and privileged.

IImage of Judge E Smith. was appointed a judge in 2004 with jury, general and family warrants and am now based in Christchurch after spending my first six years in Dunedin District Court.

Through this time, I have developed and intensified the interest in governance I had developed in legal practice; particularly the legislative process, the mechanics of government and constitutional issues. It has involved providing advice on the myriad legislative and governance issues that affect the daily work, constitutional role, and independence of the judiciary.

Core work involves advice on the manner and timing of the interface between the judiciary, the executive arm of government and our communities. For example, the need to ensure that the keen interest judges have in developing and implementing judge-led initiatives to enhance access to justice is achieved within constitutional, legislative and financial restraints.

This year a good deal of my work has related to potential change under the District Court Act 2016 in the way the judiciary responds to executive or legislative proposals. It is new and challenging territory.

"The work is fascinating, wide ranging, fast paced and privileged"