Dale Clarkson

Professional Experience

In 2018 Judge Clarkson completed the intensive mediation training for Cross-Border and Cross-Cultural Disputes and holds an international qualification from MiKK (International Mediation Centre for Family Conflict and Child Abduction), one of the few recognised organisations facilitating Hague Convention mediations. She is understood to be the only New Zealand resident to hold this qualification.

In 2008 she was appointed as the first Chairperson of the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal, an appointment which she continues to hold. The Tribunal deals with the most serious disciplinary proceedings for New Zealand

lawyers, with the power to strike-off practitioners form the Roll of Barristers and Solicitors, along with other significant penalties.

The role as the first Chair, in an entirely new jurisdiction, involved quickly understanding and assimilating legislation in an unfamiliar field. She headed a team which screened all lay members for appointment recommendation to the Minister of Justice and was involved in setting up the processes of the Tribunal and training staff and members.

She has presided over the (at times lengthy) hearings in the early stages of the Tribunal’s work, which would set the parameters of the new disciplinary regime.

The role also carries responsibility for effective administration in managing cases to prompt hearing, in situations where some participants are recalcitrant. There is a statutory responsibility for the just and expeditious process and for annual reporting to


She conducts ongoing training of lawyer and lay members (some without previous court experience), and responsibility for ensuring their integration as a team.

The Tribunal has been widely regarded as successful in achieving its statutory objects of public protection and the upholding of professional standards and the public confidence in the legal profession.

Career Summary

Employment in a large and small city and suburban firms before becoming a Barrister Sole in 1987.

Appointed District Court Judge with Family Court Warrant 1989; retired as a full-time judge in 2006 and holds Acting Warrant as a District Court Judge.

As a District Court Judge of 30 years experience, she has dealt with a wide range of disputes, criminal, family and civil. Procedural competence and the ability to deal with highly conflicted and emotional participants have been essential attributes in her work as a judge.

Judge Clarkson is an extremely experienced mediator, she estimates that she has conducted 1200-1500 mediations. She has undertaken Advanced Mediation training at Bond University. She was a founding faculty member of the Institute of Judicial Studies Mediation Faculty, and as such was one of those responsible for designing a programme and training judges, at all levels, in mediation and settlement conference skills from 1999 until 2007.

She has presented locally and internationally to a wide range of groups, including psychologists, lawyers, judges, law students and multi-disciplinary groups involved in family law. Publications in “New Zealand Family Law Journal” and “International Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law” (jointly with Dr Hugh Clarkson).

Judge Clarkson has held membership, including as officeholder, of a number law-related organisations.

In 2006, Judge Clarkson became Inaugural President of the New Zealand Association of Women Judges.

From 1994 until 2019 (when she surrendered her Family Court warrant) Judge Clarkson was a member of the Editorial Board for the LexisNexis Family Law Service and the New Zealand Family Law Journal. She was also involved in developing the Family Court Website in 2003-4.


  • LLB - Auckland University (1978)
  • Advanced Mediation - Bond University (Australia)
  • Advanced cross-border family mediation - Mikk (Berlin 0
  • Mediation trainer - Bond University (Australia)