Anthony Ford

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Anthony David Ford is a Judge of the Employment Court of New Zealand and a former Chief Justice of the Kingdom of Tonga. He was born in Hokitika on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand in 1942 and educated at Hari Hari Primary School, St Bedes College in Christchurch and Auckland University.

Between 1963 and 1967 he worked in the legal section of the Maori Affairs Department in Auckland. In 1970 he was admitted to the bar in Auckland and in July the same year he joined the law firm Bell Gully in Wellington. He specialised initially in personal injury work and then in employment law, commercial litigation and defamation cases.[1] Ford was a partner in Bell Gully between 1974 and 2000. He is a Life Member of the New Zealand Sporting Clubs' Association (SCANZ) and of the New Zealand Licensing Trusts Association and a former Trustee of the Halberg Trust.

In July 2000 Ford was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Tonga.[2] From 2005 to 2007 he also served as a Judge on the Fijian Court of Appeal.[1] In September 2006, Ford was appointed Chief Justice of the Kingdom of Tonga and President of the Tonga Court of Appeal.[2] In those capacities he carried out significant reforms of the Kingdom’s judicial system and in June 2008 he received international recognition for his work when he was invited to travel to New York to be presented with the World Bank’s Reformer of the Year award on behalf of the Tongan judiciary.[3][4]

In November 2007, Ford was Convenor of the 17th Biennial Pacific Judicial Conference in Nuku’alofa which was attended by over 50 judges from around the Pacific, including 21 Chief Justices. In August 2008, Chief Justice Ford was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Queen Salote by His Majesty, the late King George Tupou V.

On 25 March 2010, Ford was appointed to the position of Judge of the Employment Court of New Zealand although he did not take up that position until the expiration of his Tongan contract in September 2010.[1][5]

In January 2015, Ford was awarded the Queens Service medal for services to Tonga and the Judiciary.

Judge Ford is married to Valda and they have 7 children and 15 grandchildren.


  1. ^ a b c "Employment Court Judge appointed". Scoop Media. 1 April 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Tonga appoints Anthony Ford as new Chief Justice". Radio New Zealand International. 1 August 2006. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  3. ^ "Reforming the Courts in Tonga". NZ Aid. 1 February 2009. pp. 22–25. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
  4. ^ "Case Study: Tonga" (PDF). World Bank: Doing Business. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
  5. ^ "Tonga's loss, New Zealand's legal gain". TVNZ. 3 September 2010. Archived from the original on 6 September 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2010.