Ellen France

The Honourable
Dame Ellen France
Justice of the Supreme Court
Assumed office
22 July 2016
Preceded by Sir John McGrath
Personal details
Spouse(s) Hon. Justice Simon France

Dame Ellen Dolour France, DNZM (born 1956) is the current president of the Court of Appeal of New Zealand.

Dame Ellen's parent were both teachers. A legal career was suggested to her by her career counsellor and her response was "alright, I'll try that."[1]

France graduated LLB from the University of Auckland in 1981, and obtained her masters from Queen's University in Ontario, Canada in 1983.[2] From 1982, she worked as a solicitor for the Auckland practice of Subritzky, Tetley Jones & Way.[2] From 1984, she was a legal adviser in the Department of Justice Law Reform Division, followed by work for the Crown Law Office.[3] In 2002, she was appointed to the High Court in Auckland. She received her appointment as a judge to the Court of Appeal in June 2006.[2] She was appointed president of the Court of Appeal of New Zealand with effect from 1 September 2014, succeeding Sir Mark O'Regan.[2] She made history in August 2015 when the Appeal Court bench was made up by three women when she sat with Justice Christine French and Justice Helen Winkelmann.[4]

In the 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours, France was appointed an Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the judiciary.[5]

France met her husband at the Auckland University halls in the late 1970s. Justice Simon France is a judge at the High Court.[1]


  1. 1 2 Thomas, Rachel (6 June 2016). "Damehoods for Karen Sewell, QSO, and Justice Ellen France". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Finlayson, Christopher (20 June 2014). "New Supreme Court and Court of Appeal appointments" (Press release). Wellington: Government of New Zealand. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  3. "The Judges of the Court of Appeal". Courts of New Zealand. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  4. "Milestone for Court of Appeal - an all women bench". The New Zealand Herald. 7 August 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  5. "Queen's 90th birthday honours list 2016". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 6 June 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
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