Final sitting of Justice Faire

A special valedictory sitting for the Hon Justice John Faire was held last week to mark his Honour’s retirement from the High Court bench after many years of service.

Justice Faire

ADLS President Brian Keene QC wished Justice Faire the best from the entire profession as he addressed the court on behalf of ADLS and NZLS jointly. Mr Keene QC thanked his Honour for his “unstinting” participation with the profession, and passed on NZLS President Kathryn Beck’s good wishes for his retirement and concurred with her comments that Justice Faire has always been known as “courteous, tremendously hardworking and astute”.

Justice Faire was admitted to the bar in 1971 after graduating with an LLB(Hons) from Auckland University where he was a contemporary of Mr Keene QC, who quoted some prescient and clearly-expressed passages from Justice Faire’s honours dissertation from that time, “The law relating to the Real Estate Agent in New Zealand”.

“As a yet-to-be admitted lawyer, your Honour’s dissertation style was the same as in your judgments later. Such was the quality of that dissertation that I fear you over-excited your professor who marked the work. At the very end you bridged the gap between contract law and Hedley Byrne negligent misstatement – then the ‘case du jour’ in legal academia. There was an exultant note next to that paragraph: ‘Good Point!’”

After admission, Justice Faire joined the firm of Stace Hammond Grace & Bishop and quickly rose to become a partner, “cutting a swathe” through the Waikato legal fraternity and the strong Hamilton bar.

Inevitably, Justice Faire “caught the eye of the Wellington powers that be” and, in 1996, accepted appointment as a Master of the High Court (becoming an Associate Judge in 2004). In 2011, he was appointed a Temporary Judge and was sworn in as a High Court Judge in Auckland in 2013.

“If you were married to the law, your mistress was, undoubtedly, yachting,” Mr Keene QC observed. Justice Faire’s life-long involvement with the sport saw him win some 15 New Zealand yachting championship titles and be a member of the country’s America’s Cup Teams for the Perth and San Diego Challenges. His Honour is also a life member and past President of the New Zealand Yachting Federation Inc. and a past member of the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association. Justice Faire also sat as a member of the America’s Cup Arbitration Panel between 2000 and 2003 as part of a group of five arbitrators, all high-standing lawyers with vast experience in arbitration and sport.

“I find it hard to accept that you have been a judge for only three years,” said Mr Keene QC. “I guess I have always seen you since the time of your first appointment as ‘judge material’. Your style as a judge in the conduct of hearings was always measured, polite and interested in exploring all issues. You let counsel know quite quickly what you saw to be the key issues. You were always well-prepared. It was as though your life before appointment had been merely a training ground for a role that you relished.”

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