Maddison Lewis | Air New Zealand Kupe Leadership Scholar

Bachelor of Laws (Honours)

I care deeply about every New Zealander's right to access legal advice. To have a lawyer who will advocate for you impartially and skillfully is essential to the functioning of any democracy.

It helps ensure that people are treated equally irrespective of their social or economic background and ensures that they can have their side of a dispute presented to an independent adjudicator.

However, lawyers are expensive. In my work as a law clerk and with legal-aided clients, I have seen the financial toll litigation can take on a person. The bills can quickly mount up, and the end of the process often does not appear to be in sight. Leaders, both young and old in the profession, must take the lead in ensuring all people have access to their resources and skill.

This can take the form of an increased commitment to undertaking pro-bono work and developing access programs.

However, I also believe the profession must take the lead in exploring technology that makes legal research and drafting more cost-efficient, and explore other means of practicing, such as embedding cultural awareness into legal advice, to ensure legal advice is more accessible to people of different backgrounds.

Sponsor: Air New Zealand

Mentor: Hon. Justice Andrew Becroft, QSO

Recently appointed Justice of the High Court of New Zealand. An esteemed New Zealand Jurist and Barrister. From 2016 until 2021 Judge Becroft was Children's Commissioner. During his time as Children's Commissioner, he developed strong public positions of monitoring and advocacy on a range of issues related to the safety of children. Prior to that, he practiced community law, and became a District Court Judge in 1996, serving in Wanganui, and Principal Judge of the Youth Court of New Zealand. Throughout his career Judge Becroft has taken a specialist approach to dealing with youth and child offenders and been involved in many organisations and initiatives to support this.