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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 2, 2005

Law Professor Palmer To Head New Zealand Government Agency

University of Iowa law professor Sir Geoffrey Palmer has been appointed president of the Law Commission of New Zealand, the government agency that reviews, reforms and seeks to improve the country's laws.

As a former member of New Zealand's parliament, Palmer held several ministries in its government in the 1980s, including prime minister from 1989 to 1990. He also served as attorney general, minister of justice and minister of the environment.

Though a resident of New Zealand, Palmer teaches annually at the UI College of Law and at its summer international law program in Arcachon, France.

The Law Commission reviews areas of the law that need updating, reforming or developing, investigates those areas and reports to Parliament on how New Zealand laws can be improved. The commission also assists government departments in reviews of the law and often assists Parliamentary select committees.

The primary objectives of the Law Commission are to improve the content of the law and the law-making process, administration of the law, and public access to the legal system. The six-member commission is composed of lawyers, judges and legal academics.

"I believe Sir Geoffrey's many years of eminent experience in the law will be a tremendous asset to the Law Commission," said Mark Burton, New Zealand's minister of justice, in appointing Palmer. "As a former prime minister, Sir Geoffrey is both well known and highly respected throughout New Zealand."

Palmer was a full-time member of the UI law faculty in the early 1970s and rejoined on a part-time basis in 1991. He teaches courses in tort law and international environmental law, as well as comparative constitutional law comparing the Westminster parliamentary system of government with the U.S. Congressional system.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,