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Brighton man becomes New Zealand's first lawyer on the Autistic Spectrum
A lawyer from Brighton has become New Zealand’s first law professional on the Autistic Spectrum.
Simon Buckingham, who was born, raised and educated in Sussex, crossed the globe to study
law after his struggle with education as a teenager left him homeless.
While he was studying at the University of Waikato’s Law School he was diagnosed as
being on the autistic spectrum.
The 46-year-old added: “I became New Zealand’s first diagnosed and up-front Autistic Spectrum
He has now been asked to stand for Parliament as a Labour candidate and is spearheading a
campaign for equality within the legal system for people suffering with neurological issues.
Simon said: “It has been an interesting ride, that’s for sure.”
Simon has acted as a champion for people with disabilities and plans to use his parliamentary
campaign to battle for better training and awareness in the justice system.
But after getting his degree in International Relations from Sussex he moved to New
Simon is the principal barrister at Buckingham Law in Auckland and has a passion for representing people who otherwise would not get a fair trial.
Simon said: “The problem in New Zealand is that criminal defence lawyers are often letting
their clients down, not intentionally, but through a lack of training and realisation.
“The New Zealand Law Society does no training in the area of disability, especiallyneurological disability, whatsoever – none, nothing. Disabilities? What are they?”
After the Christchurch Earthquake in 2011 he managed to get an autistic boy accused of looting
two light bulbs released from prison.
Simon himself has faced adversity saying that he has found it difficult to find work at larger firms as they do not want the risk of taking on an autistic lawyer.
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