Sir Kenneth Keith to deliver inaugural Sir Owen Woodhouse Memorial Lecture

16 August 2017
Sir Kenneth Keith
Sir Kenneth Keith

The Auckland Law School is proud to present the inaugural Sir Owen Woodhouse Memorial Lecture delivered by Sir Kenneth Keith, entitled Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety: Promoting safety through law, national and international, and by other means.

The lecture commemorates the life of one our most distinguished judges. Sir Owen’s compassion, generosity of spirit and social conscience were reflected in his work as President of the Court of Appeal, President of the Law Commission, and Chairman of the Royal Commission that recommended a no fault accident compensation scheme. He made an immense contribution to New Zealand’s law and society.

Sir Owen Woodhouse's work concerning personal injury, particularly in his Royal Commission and at the Law Commission, was not limited to compensating those who were injured or incapacitated, but extended to the earlier stage of preventing injury as well as to rehabilitation. So the draft bill, included in the 1988 report of the Law Commission about the accident compensation scheme, is entitled Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act.
Sir Kenneth says: “The purpose of this inaugural lecture in Sir Owen's memory is to take a broad view, as he would have wished, at some of the ways in which safety, especially in situations of peril, may be promoted.
“The lecture will touch on the roles of brave and visionary individuals, of courts, of legislators, of treaty makers and of the scholarly community. Among the names, likely and unlikely, who may appear are the Good Samaritan, Pope Pius V, Henry Dunant and Florence Nightingale, Franz Kafka, Edward Tregear, Louis Brandeis, Albert Thomas, William Beveridge and Owen Woodhouse,” he says.

The Sir Owen Woodhouse Memorial Lecture has been established by Sir Owen’s family and friends, and will be held annually, with the intention that it be given by a New Zealander and an international visitor in turn.  It will be given in Auckland and Wellington each year and lecturers will reflect Sir Owen’s interests in the law, social justice, and social reform.

Sir Kenneth Keith was for many years a member of Victoria University of Wellington's Faculty of Law, where he is now Professor Emeritus. He has been a member and president of the New Zealand Law Commission, a judge of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of New Zealand, and a judge of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. He was also a member of the Legal Division of the Department of External Affairs and the United Nations Secretariat in New York, a Judge of Appeal in various Pacific countries, a member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London and an international arbitrator.

The inaugural Sir Owen Woodhouse Memorial Lecture
Sir Kenneth Keith: Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety: Promoting safety through law, national and international, and by other means.
Wednesday 30 August, 5.30pm
Kensington Swan
Level 1, 18 Viaduct Harbour Avenue, Auckland

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Miranda Playfair
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