The International Association of Women Judges Biennial Conference

We are delighted that New Zealand has been chosen to host the biennial conference of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) from 7 to 10 May 2020. 

The biennial conferences of the IAWJ form an extremely important part of the IAWJ’s mission.  Delegates come together to share their experiences and ideas for best practice in areas such as promoting human rights and combating domestic violence, discrimination and gender bias, both within the judiciary and the world at large. This opportunity to share best practice is particularly important for judges from developing countries.

All members of the IAWJ, including male judges and associate members, are welcome to attend IAWJ biennial conferences. The last three biennial conferences were held in Arusha, Tanzania, Washington DC and Buenos Aires and attracted up to 1000 registrants.

The Auckland conference starts with a cocktail reception on Thursday 7 May 2020, followed by three days of sessions on a variety of topics.  The overall theme for the conference is “Celebrating Diversity” with three substreams: indigenous issues, human rights and diversity in the courts. These will encompass issues such as catering for minorities and diverse communities within the courts, human rights of marginalised groups, transformative justice, and constitutional and criminal justice issues for indigenous communities. 

The sessions will have judicial speakers from around the world, providing an opportunity not often available in New Zealand to experience a true global perspective.  We are also very keen to highlight innovations and experiences of the Pacific and New Zealand (and, in particular, those of Māori), as well as showcase the country more generally. There will be court and other justice sector tours of interest to our foreign delegates on Wednesday 6 May 2020 (Auckland), Monday 11 May (Auckland) and Tuesday 12 May (Wellington).  There may also be an optional workshop on 13 and 14 May in Wellington. 

We are pleased to announce that five keynote speakers have confirmed their attendance:

  • Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, will be talking on climate change and environmental degradation, and, in particular, its effect on women.
  • The Rt Hon Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and administrator of the UN Sustainable Development Programme. 
  • Baroness Brenda Hale, current President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, will reflect on her career and experiences in the law.
  • Baroness Helena Kennedy, barrister and member of the House of Lords, will be discussing progress made toward gender equality and the remaining barriers.
  • Professor Larissa Behrendt (Eualeyai/Kamillaroi), from the University of Technology Sydney, will speak on the role the voices of Aboriginal women can play in both the decolonisation of law and in the empowerment of Aboriginal people.

The New Zealand Association of Women Judges (NZAWJ) supports the 2020 biennial conference, both financially and by being part of the organising committees. We also thank the Ministry of Justice and all Heads of Bench, including, in particular, Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann, Justice Stephen Kós, Justice Geoff Venning and other heads of bench for their support of the conference.  

We look forward to seeing you there. 

Justice Susan Glazebrook, President-Elect of the IAWJ
Judge Mary O’Dwyer, President of the NZAWJ