Ted Thomas

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For other people named Ted Thomas, see Ted Thomas (disambiguation).
"Edmund Thomas" redirects here. For the Welsh politician, see Edmund Thomas (Parliamentarian).

The Rt Hon. Sir Edmund "Ted"[1] Walter Thomas KNZM QC is a well known New Zealand jurist. He is a retired judge of the Court of Appeal of New Zealand and a former acting judge of the Supreme Court of New Zealand.[2]

He was educated at Fielding Agricultural High School and Victoria University of Wellington graduating with a BA and LLB in 1956, and the higher doctorate LLD in 2009. He was admitted to the bar as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court (later the High Court) of New Zealand.

Following many years as a partner at New Zealand law firm Russell McVeagh, he became a barrister sole and was appointed a QC in 1981.[3]

In 1989-1990 he was President of the New Zealand Bar Association, and in 1990 he was appointed to the bench of the High Court of New Zealand. In 1995 he was elevated to the Court of Appeal. He retired from the appellate bench in 2001. As a judge some saw him as a proponent of judicial activism. He was also noted for his frequent dissenting judgements, particularly after 1996.

In 2002 Thomas was Visiting Fellow at the Research School of Social Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra. From August 2004 he has been serving an as Distinguished Visiting Fellow, The University of Auckland.[4]

He was appointed a director of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in 2003, for a five-year term.[5]

Justice Thomas was brought out of retirement to become an acting Judge of the Supreme Court of New Zealand from 2005.

He is a noted author, his works including The Judicial Process: Realism, Pragmatism, Practical Reasoning and Principles (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005).[2]

Thomas was made a member of the Privy Council in 1996. In 2002 he was appointed a KNZM.[6]

Notable Judgments[edit]

Re Taylor (1992) 4 NZBLC 102,875.


  1. ^ Taylor, Phil (10 April 2010). "A matter of judgment". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 19 May 2012. Sir Edmund (who is widely known as Ted Thomas) 
  2. ^ a b "Retired Judge awarded Higher Doctorate". Victoria News. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "Queen's Counsel appointments since 1907 as at July 2013" (PDF). Crown Law Office. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  4. ^ http://www.humanrights.auckland.ac.nz/uoa/ted-thomas
  5. ^ "RBNZ 2006-2007 Annual Report" (PDF). Reserve Bank of New Zealand. p. 15. Retrieved 2008-05-19. 
  6. ^ "New Year Honours List 2002". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2001. Retrieved 19 May 2012.