Seminar: ‘Leaving their Lordships – Changing New Zealand’s final Appellate Court’, Patrick McCabe

In 1900, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council was the final court of appeal for one-quarter of the world’s people.  It was a key institution of the British Empire.  Despite the major exodus from the Judicial Committee’s jurisdiction in the two decades following the Second World War, New Zealand’s commitment remained steadfast.

In 1983, the Government formally initiated a debate on New Zealand withdrawing from the Judicial Committee.  It took a series of proposals, by successive Governments over the next 20 years, to achieve that change.  This presentation examines New Zealand’s efforts to withdraw from the Judicial Committee, asking why it took so long.

 Patrick McCabe is a retired public servant, who worked as a policy adviser in several Government Departments between 1977 and 2014.  Between, 2001 and 2003, he was a member of the team of officials who worked with the then Attorney-General in developing legislation to establish a new final court of appeal – the Supreme Court of New Zealand – and to end New Zealand appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.  He has post-graduate qualifications from Victoria University of Wellington, from Lincoln University, and from Massey University.

This presentation draws on McCabe’s research on New Zealand’s story: see, Patrick Gerard McCabe, Patriating Appeals: New Zealand’s withdrawal from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, MA Thesis, Massey University, 2016.  Available at

 Venue:            Old Kirk 406 (F L Wood Seminar Room)

Date:               Friday, 25 May 2018

Time:              12:10pm to 1:30pm

For more information: Contact Dr Cybèle Locke (; 04 463 6774).