The Honourable Justice Dame Judith Potter

Justice Dame Judith Potter Thumb                 In this column we profile notable and interesting people involved in the profession, in order to find out a little more about what drives and fulfils them in their role.

What was it about your role that impassioned you and got you excited about your job?
I have recently retired as a High Court judge. My 15 years as a Judge brought daily challenge, variety and interest. In retirement I can use my judicial experience in other pursuits which ensure retirement is active and engaging.

What was the greatest challenge presented by your role?
To do justice to all who come before you in Court, in accordance with the oath every Judge takes when sworn in.

The greatest practical challenge is to keep on top of the relentless caseload and the judgments that flow from it.

What is the achievement (personal or professional) that you are most proud of?
I am very proud to have served as a Judge in a judicial system of which New Zealand can be justifiably proud. I am also proud to have represented the legal profession in 1991-4 as its first woman President in the 120 years of existence of the New Zealand Law Society.

There is current significance in the 120 years, for it is 120 years since women won the right to vote in New Zealand.

What prompted you to go into law?
Fortuitous chance really. Few women studied law when I started in 1960. I did not know what it involved. Fortunately, I loved it from the start.

What human quality do you admire most?
Fairness and tolerance.

What aspect of human nature do you dislike most?
The opposite, I suppose – greed and selfishness.

What is your favourite legal or political-themed movie of all time?
I can’t be original with this response – overwhelmingly the Australian film The Castle. It is a classic, which I have watched many times.


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