A fresh approach to criminal prosecutions for South Auckland has been announced with a rising star in the legal world expected to be appointed as its first Crown Solicitor.
Attorney General Chris Finlayson announced the appointment of Natalie Walker to the role this afternoon, in the name of the Governor General.
He also announced the new Crown Solicitor for the majority of Auckland with experienced criminal prosecutor Brian Dickey - a partner at incumbent Meredith Connell - appointed to the role.
• Auckland's big battle of the barristers
The appointments are the first time the role of Crown Solicitor in Auckland has been divided in two.
Meredith Connell has held the warrant since 1922 and its fight to retain the non-Counties Manukau section saw it facing off against top-flight former staff. The firm's bid to retain the warrant was fiercely contested by ex-Meredith Connell criminal partners Aaron Perkins, Richard Marchant and associate June Jelas.
The roles come with the responsibility of prosecuting criminal cases for the Crown. The lawyers appointed pick up the Crown work for Auckland which is estimated be worth about $10m - about $6m in Auckland and $4m in Counties Manukau.
Ms Walker, a partner at Kayes Fletcher Walker Ltd, was one of a two contenders for the role. Her appointment edges out the more experienced Phil Hamlin.
Ms Walker, a former partner at the incumbent warrant-holder Meredith Connell, is married to Ned Fletcher, whom is also a partner at the firm and is son of Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias..
Waikato-born Mr Dickey, 47, has 25 years experience prosecuting crime. He was also a young high-flyer with 60 jury trials under his belt by the age of 25, including 14 High Court cases.
Most recently, Mr Dickey prosecuted a large number of cases resulting from the collapse of finance companies including Bridgecorp directors. He took over as acting Crown Solicitor with the departure of his mentor Simon Moore QC to the High Court bench.
Justice Moore had described Mr Dickey as possessing "rare brilliance" as a prosecutor to Metro magazine.
What is a Crown solicitor?
The person appointed by the Queen - at the Attorney General's recommendation - to prosecute criminal case for the Crown. The person is usually an experienced lawyer working for a firm which will assist with handling case loads.
Has Auckland got one now?
There is a Crown Solicitor for all of Auckland - Meredith Connell partner Brian Dickey is acting in the role. Auckland now has two - one for the Counties Manukau area and one for the rest of Auckland.
What's the contract worth?
It's estimated to be worth $10 million for all of Auckland.