Matthew Palmer

Research Visitor - Trinity Term 2023

Other affiliations

Magdalen College


Hon Justice Matthew Palmer has a BA (Economics and Political Science) (1983) from the University of Canterbury, LLB (Hons 1st class) (1987) from Victoria University of Wellington, LLM, Master of Laws, Yale Law School (1990), JSD, Doctor of Laws, Yale Law School (1994).  He was admitted to the New Zealand Bar in 1987 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2014. 

He has held positions as: Economic and Financial Analyst and Manager in the New Zealand Treasury; Deputy Secretary for Justice (Public Law); Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of Law at Victoria University & Director of the New Zealand Centre for Public Law; Deputy Solicitor-General (Public Law) at Crown Law Office; and was at Thorndon Chambers, Wellington before appointment to the bench in 2015.  He currently sits in the Wellington High Court.  He is also Chair of the Board of Te Kura Kaiwhwakawā/Institute of Judicial Studies. 

In 2007 Justice Palmer was the New Zealand Law Foundation 2005 International Research Fellow while Herbert Smith Visitor at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Law and Fulbright Senior Scholar at Yale Law School.  He has taught law at Victoria University of Wellington, the University of Chicago, Yale Law School, Hong Kong University and the National University of Singapore.  His book The Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand’s Law and Constittution won the Legal Research Foundation’s JF Northey Memorial Book Award for the best book published in 2008 by a New Zealand-based author.  His most recent book, with Dean Knight, is The Constitution of New Zealand: A Contextual Analysis (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2022).

While at Bonavero he is also a Robert S Campbell Visiting Fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford.