Southland’s first QC

It’s taken 112 years but the first ever Queen’s Counsel (QC) from Southland will be appointed this week and she is already inspiring young women in the region to follow in her footsteps.

Fiona Guy Kidd will be sworn in at a ceremony in Invercargill this afternoon (February 21) as the region’s first ever QC since the position was implemented in New Zealand in 1907.

Mrs Guy Kidd said she was honoured by the appointment and was particularly proud of becoming the first ever QC from Southland.

“It makes it particularly special. There’s not too many regional QC’s. Another QC emailed me and said welcome to the select regional club. It’s very small. So it’s special. And there’s been lovely feedback from the local profession and (they have) been really excited about it.”

She said feedback she had received from young females in particular had been special.

“I’ve had quite a few cards from younger women particularly saying that it’s great to have a role model of someone who’s a senior lawyer, a mother and doing it in the region.”

Originally from Auckland, Mrs Guy Kidd studied law at the University of Otago before practising in both Auckland and Wellington. She moved to Southland in 2011 and said she enjoyed the different types of cases that presented themselves in the region.

“I’ve acted for a number of farmers with effluent issues and cattle in rivers, cattle in conservation land, so more rural based. You’re very much influenced by the area you live in,” she said.

“You’re just learning new stuff but that’s what’s great about the law is you’re learning new stuff and then applying what you know to it.”

The role of QC is seen as the pinnacle for barristers and is appointed by the Governor General after a nomination and selection process. It means a barrister can be called upon at any time to represent the the crown, if required, which Mrs Guy Kidd says gives a connection “right to the very top”.

She said she was personally called by by Attorney-General David Parker to offer her the position.

“There were 10 of us appointed throughout the country and so he rang all of us and we had to keep it secret for about – it seemed forever – but about three weeks, to keep it secret, except for our nearest and dearest.”

Mrs Guy Kidd said a large number of her family would be at the ceremony and would celebrate the appointment with a large dinner and party that night, which also just happens to be on her birthday.

“One QC rang me and said the work gets harder from now, which is scary because a lot of what we do is challenging. But I enjoy it.”

This article was originally written for The Advocate. You can read the published version here

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