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New Chairs for Education Council’s Disciplinary Tribunal

8 July 2016

The Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand is welcoming two new senior legal practitioners to its Disciplinary Tribunal while saying goodbye to Chairperson Kenneth Johnston QC. Theodora Baker has been appointed as the new Disciplinary Tribunal Chairperson to replace Mr Johnston, while Nicholas Chisnall will pick up one of two newly created roles of Deputy Chair alongside existing Alternate Chair, John Hannan.

Education Council manager teacher practice, Andrew Greig, says these are unique positions tailored to a unique function. “We need practitioners with solid understanding of the challenges disciplinary functions of professional bodies face. That means very senior lawyers with broad legal experience, but who also understand law in a regulatory area, and education law. We are very pleased to have attracted Theodora and Nicholas to the roles, while retaining John.”

Mr Greig also thanks Ken Johnston for his contribution to teaching profession case law. “Ken has been with us for 12 years. During that time he’s overseen some very complicated hearings during times of sweeping law change. Many of his rulings have added to both the education and general case law canons.

“We wish him all the best in his new endeavours.”

 About Theodora Baker

Ms Baker has considerable litigation experience, including over eight years preparing and prosecuting disciplinary charges in the health regulatory environment. She was the Director of Proceedings for the Health and Disability Commissioner from 2004 to 2009, and the Deputy Commissioner from 2011 to 2015.

About John Hannan

Mr Hannan is currently a member of the Tribunal and has been since 2011. Over the last few years, Mr Hannan has acted as the Alternative Chairperson (which is the equivalent of a Deputy Chairperson under the proposed new rules).

Mr Hannan is a partner at DLA Piper, a prominent global law firm. His experience is in employment, education and insurance law, as well as public law including human rights and privacy law.

About Nicholas Chisnall

Mr Chisnall is currently General Counsel at the Public Defence Service. His primary responsibility is to oversee the PDS’s appellate work in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. 

Prior to joining the PDS, Mr Chisnall was Crown Counsel at the Crown Law Office and a Crown prosecutor.  He started his legal career with a law firm in the North Island, where he practised commercial and employment law.

Mr Chisnall has significant trial and appellate experience as both a prosecutor and defence lawyer.