Late judge established $30m charitable trust

Chief Justice says the late Judge Ian Borrin has left a "magnificent legacy."

The late Judge Ian Borrin has left a “magnificent legacy” with the establishment of a $30 million charitable trust for the development of legal education and research.

The Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation, in memory of his parents, was announced at the district court judge’s memorial service in Wellington today.

It is expected to be worth about $30 million, thought to be one of the largest single-purpose bequests in New Zealand.

The trust, devoted to the development of legal education and research, will be administered by the charitable trust Nikau Foundation, which says the fund will be by far its largest.

An independent grants and scholarship committee established by Judge Borrin, who died last month, will feature the Chief Justice, the president of the Law Society, the Victoria University Law School dean, retired chief judge Thomas Goddard and his alternate David Goddard, QC, as well as a representative from the Nikau Foundation.

Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias says the trust casts its net widely and is a “magnificent legacy,” which will be of lasting benefit.

Members of the legal community at all levels will be supported by grants and scholarships from the trust, as well as law lecturers, graduates and post-graduate students.

Retired and serving judges and public and private sector practitioners can also apply for funding.

“This is a balanced, far-sighted, elegant approach, as might have been expected of Ian Borrin,” Dame Elias says.

“Although the foundation provides direct support to those in the legal community, there is no doubt that its primary beneficiaries are the people of New Zealand who live under the security of law, something Ian Borrin believed in and worked tirelessly for.”

Nikau Foundation chair Chris Milne says Judge Borrin worked hard in his final months to ensure there was clarity to the foundation’s purpose as a lasting tribute to his parents.

“This is a marvellous legacy left by a man who has dedicated his life to law.”

Judge Borrin was born and raised in Wellington, and appointed to the District Court in 1983, serving as the head of the Police Complaints Authority before retiring in 2007, aged 72.

He was a long-time supporter of Victoria University Law School and was described as a quiet gentleman of wit and wisdom, who was also possibly one of the country’s wealthiest judges.

His parents built a substantial business, through both the Peerless Handkerchief Company and substantial property interests in Wellington and elsewhere.

He is survived by his partner Jenny George.

Grants and scholarships are not expected to be available for at least a year.

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