12 Dec 2014

Controversial Chief Justice James Prendergast finally profiled

From Nine To Noon, 10:06 am on 12 December 2014

Dr. Grant Morris is a law lecturer who has written the first biography of one of New Zealand legal history's most infamous figures - this country's third chief justice, James Prendergast. The author of the book, "Prendergast: Legal Villain?", says the country's second longest-serving Chief Justice was best known for referring to the Treaty of Waitangi as a "simple nullity". Dr. Morris says while the comment has led to Prendergast being reviled, he was - during his lifetime - a highly respected lawyer and judge, who was arguably New Zealand's dominant legal professional from 1865 to 1899. Dr. Morris says the more the Treaty has been celebrated, the more Prendergast has been condemned, and in his book, explores whether Prendergast was as much of a villain as he's been painted. Dr. Morris is a Senior Lecturer at Victoria University's Faculty of Law.