Joe Williams is a High Court Judge and former Chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal. He is an internationally recognised expert in indigenous rights law and one of New Zealand’s leading specialists on Māori land and legal issues.
Justice Williams graduated from Victoria University with an LLB in 1986 and from the University of British Columbia, Canada, with an LLM (Hons) in 1988. He was the first Māori lecturer in law at Victoria University in Wellington, he established the first unit specialising in Māori issues at a major law firm (Kensington Swan) and was the youngest person to be appointed to the position of Chief Judge (December 1999).
Joe is a former vice-president of the Maori Law Society, a former president of Te Runanga Roia o Tamamaki Makaurau, the Auckland Maori Lawyers Association, a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a fellow of the Law Faculty of Victoria University of Wellington and was appointed as the Chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal in 2004.
Justice Williams ongoing work and interests are focused on Māori land rights law, language, resource management, environmental law and Treaty of Waitangi issues and he remains determined in ensuring that Māori value systems are recognised within the judicial system.