We have found a new home! So Dunedin has lost Cadburys and now Mark Henaghan. Otago Law School without its dean, Professor Henaghan, seems like a chocolate factory without chocolate. His mark on both the school and its alumni has been impressive winston reed forex factory indelible.
Untainted by the academe, Professor Henaghan retained the unique ability to not only not take himself seriously but to also seriously resist the trappings of office. I was talking to someone the other day about a brilliant Kiwi student at one of the world’s top-tier universities who was wanting to complete his doctorate and get back into the real world. The university, he said, was virtually claiming his soul and institutionalising him. That’s like some academics, who talk and live differently from the rest of us, focusing upon their research projects and sabbaticals followed at what is often a poor third place, by their students.
With the professor you felt that he was in some respects the anti-intellectual, the one who flew over the academic cuckoo nest delighting in dropping poop upon them from time to time just to remind them we all live in the real world or should do. Facebook has been swamped with tributes to Professor Henaghan whose passion and commitment to his students and to his university was so tangible you could touch it. But there is no doubting that here is a man whose role and stature among hundreds of lawyers, including leading figures in the law, was as unquestioned as it was unmatched by any of his academic peers. I recall first meeting him when checking out his law school with my son and when he took us to his office and generously and with trademark enthusiasm expounded upon the virtues of Otago Law School to the point where I wanted to enrol. As Facebook tributes reflect, his commitment and support for those who have suffered any setback and for the less privileged has been an inspirational example that has saved law degrees, careers and maybe even lives. Not many law school deans can hang their hats on that roster of accomplishment and the gap he leaves as the face of Otago Law School for so many years is one that will challenge the quite different if able abilities of his successor, Jessica Palmer. Let’s not be morbid, he’s not dead after all but he will be sadly missed.
Apart from the Henaghan departure, Invercargill’s personality-in-chief Tim Shadbolt once again kept his city on the edge of its seat as the recent defamation trial came to town, being the first such trial there in over 100 years. The trial has echoes of the Lange case from two decades ago in terms of providing qualified privilege protection for those who honestly criticise political figures. Meanwhile, Fairfax counsel Robert Stewart has left Izard Weston to join Shortland Chambers as a barrister, taking defamation ‘Stuff’ with him while former Victoria University lecturer Dr Bevan Marten, who formerly spent time at Izard Weston, has returned to the fold. The Colin Craig multi-ringed circus continues to come to a court near you. The recent Court of Appeal decision to partially allow Jordan Williams’ appeal, opening the way for a hearing as to damages only, is a highly unusual move in New Zealand but par for the Craig course. 200,000 for the “core element” of the defamation, excluding any aggravating factors.