2025 Judges Clerk at NZ Ministry of Justice, Wellington Region
Mō tēnei tūranga mahi | About this role
JUDGES' CLERKS 2025
Students with a very high level of academic ability and proficiency in legal research, who will complete their undergraduate law degree studies in 2024, are invited to apply for a position as a judges' clerk in the senior courts.
These positions are available in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court of New Zealand in January 2025. The appointments are for a fixed two-year term. Those appointed will be expected to stay in the role for the entire two-year period unless prior dispensation is granted in exceptional circumstances.
Some positions as clerks may be available earlier than 2024. Applicants who could start in mid-2024 should indicate this in their covering letter.
The positions in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal are based in Wellington. The positions in the High Court are based in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Candidates should indicate in their covering letter their preferred location or locations and also if there are locations where they would unable to accept a position.
The present starting salary of judges' clerks on appointment at all levels is $67,845 pa, progressing in six-monthly increments to $82,135 per annum for the last six months of their contract.
Applications should be made through the Ministry of Justice careers website no later than 03 March 2024. Candidates should also forward a copy of their application to the Dean of their Law School. Applications will be sent to the judges who administer the recruitment process on behalf of the respective courts.
Applicants should submit a short covering letter, a copy of their academic transcript, their GPA in law (excluding the first year), a curriculum vitae, a copy of a significant piece of legal writing or research and the names of two or three referees (one of whom must be a legal academic) who may be contacted in relation to suitability for appointment.
In addition to contacting the nominated referees, input on the academic ranking and other attributes of candidates will be sought on a confidential basis from deans of the law schools and other academic staff and any recent legal employers (applicants must provide contact names and details in their CV).
Short-listed candidates for positions with the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal will be interviewed in the week of the 18 March 2024 and offers of appointment to those positions made soon thereafter.
Those who were not short-listed for interviews for the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal and those who are unable to relocate to Wellington may be shortlisted for an interview for High Court positions. Interviews for those positions will be conducted in 15 April 2024. Unsuccessful candidates should expect to be notified by the end of April 2024.
Positions as judges' clerks in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal principally involve working with a single judge, but there will be some work of a more general character undertaken for other judges of those Courts. In the High Court, judges' clerks generally work for two judges, but some may work for a single judge. Some High Court clerks may be required to travel on circuit with their judges.
The role of judges' clerk is to undertake legal research at the direction of the judge or judges to whom the clerk is allocated. Clerks write legal opinions and collate authorities on particular points. They provide comments to judges on their draft judgments and check those judgments for error before delivery. They also write summaries of recent decisions of the courts and provide analysis of issues arising in particular appeals or first instance hearings undertaken by the judges of the courts in which they work. They may also assist with the preparation of speeches and undertake some administrative tasks for their judges.
Many participants in the court system are vulnerable and many suffer the effects of intergenerational trauma. This can be distressing. Potential candidates should also be aware that some of the material clerks are required to work on may be graphic and confronting, especially in the criminal field. Support services are available to assist clerks in dealing with such material.
When recruiting clerks, the judges will be looking, as far as is consistent with the attributes necessary for the role, to make diverse appointments, including diversity of background, experience and subject knowledge. The attributes the judges will be looking for include:
- A high level of academic ability.
- Proficiency in legal research, although an Honours degree is not essential.
- Commitment to upholding human rights and dignity, including gender, ethnic, socio-economic and cultural equity.
- Cultural competence, including knowledge of and a commitment to Te Tiriti and an understanding of tikanga.
- A good understanding of the role of the judiciary within the constitution of Aotearoa/New Zealand and the importance of judicial independence.
- An absolute commitment to confidentiality.
- Good organisational skills and proven ability to prioritise and manage workflows.
- Ability to handle important relationships with skill and sensitivity.
- A professional and focused approach to work.
- An ability to cope with stress.
- Self-motivation and initiative.
- The ability to grasp unfamiliar concepts quickly.
- Lateral and critical thinking ability.
- Ability to work co-operatively with colleagues and court staff.
- Ability and commitment to produce quality work consistently and often under tight deadlines.
- A broad legal education, preferably including Evidence and Company Law.
Ngā taipitopito tūranga mahi | Job details
|NZ Ministry of Justice
|Legal & courts
|Clerk Job Description All Courts 2024.pdf (PDF, 259KB)
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