Anita Chan is all smiles after her silks ceremony in the High Court at Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Dunedin barrister Anita Chan has become the first person of
Asian descent to be appointed Queen's Counsel.
Ms Chan was surrounded by family and supporters as she was
sworn into the Inner Bar during a silks ceremony in the High
Court at Dunedin yesterday.
The appointment ''felt like a very momentous thing'', she
Ms Chan was the second woman appointed Queen's Counsel (QC)
in Otago after Judith Ablett-Kerr and only the second QC
appointed in Otago since 1998.
''It's been an extraordinary experience and I feel extremely
honoured by the appointment,'' she said.
''But the thing that has meant the most to me is the
overwhelming amount of energy that has poured in from
friends, family, judges, colleagues here and overseas and
it's been deeply humbling.''
She was ''encouraged by a number of people'' to pursue the
''Last year, I bought a normal barrister's gown which if I
knew I was going to be appointed I wouldn't have bought,''
she said, with a laugh.
''They are quite expensive and I now kick myself.''
She joins Colin Withnall, Judith Ablett-Kerr, Dr Royden
Somerville and Trevor Shiels as Otago-based Queen's Counsels.
Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias said the appointment was ''not
a prize'' but recognition and acknowledgement of Ms Chan's
standing in the legal fraternity.
''All Queen's Counsels are leaders of the Bar,'' Dame Sian
Ms Chan had received ''national and international
recognition'' for expertise in family law, she said.
''This is an area of specialisation in an area of
specialisation and Ms Chan, you have made it your own.''
Ms Chan's appointment to the Inner Bar was ''warmly looked
upon'' by judges of the family court, she said.
Ms Chan graduated from the University of Otago with an LLB in
1984 and worked in several Dunedin law firms, dealing with
criminal, civil and family law and tribunals.
She joined Barristers Chambers in late 1997, later helping
establish Princes Chambers, where she still practises.
She chaired the New Zealand Law Society's family law section
She was one of 14 Queen's Counsels appointed in June.