Brighton man becomes New Zealand's first lawyer on the Autistic Spectrum

The Argus: Brighton man becomes New Zealand's first lawyer on the Autistic Spectrum 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
Lawyer.”

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.

The former Brighton College and Technology and University of Sussex student struggled with
academic work.

But after getting his degree in International Relations from Sussex he moved to New
Zealand.

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.

Comments (2)

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10:26am Mon 24 Feb 14

getThisCoalitionOut says...

Well done that man and well done to the University in NZ recognising that he was struggling and finally getting him the diagnosis of being autistic.

I see that Brighton Tech and Sussex Uni' didn't manage to do that - no surprises there.

It also wasn't picked up during his whole time of schooling here either and that is still - far too often - the case today, people do not bother to pick up on problems when they are paid to do so, it is part of a teachers job to do this, but they very, very rarely do.
Well done that man and well done to the University in NZ recognising that he was struggling and finally getting him the diagnosis of being autistic. I see that Brighton Tech and Sussex Uni' didn't manage to do that - no surprises there. It also wasn't picked up during his whole time of schooling here either and that is still - far too often - the case today, people do not bother to pick up on problems when they are paid to do so, it is part of a teachers job to do this, but they very, very rarely do. getThisCoalitionOut

2:36pm Mon 24 Feb 14

Mrs Newcastle says...

getThisCoalitionOut wrote:
Well done that man and well done to the University in NZ recognising that he was struggling and finally getting him the diagnosis of being autistic.

I see that Brighton Tech and Sussex Uni' didn't manage to do that - no surprises there.

It also wasn't picked up during his whole time of schooling here either and that is still - far too often - the case today, people do not bother to pick up on problems when they are paid to do so, it is part of a teachers job to do this, but they very, very rarely do.
It not clear from the story when Simon attended the former Brighton tech or Sussex uni but Autism Spectrum Condition diagnosis has only been around since 1994. My Son was diagnoses at the age 6 in 2000. He is a student at current City college ( the former Brighton tech) and I can say the learning support team for disabled students at the college is outstanding in supporting him at the college.
[quote][p][bold]getThisCoalitionOut[/bold] wrote: Well done that man and well done to the University in NZ recognising that he was struggling and finally getting him the diagnosis of being autistic. I see that Brighton Tech and Sussex Uni' didn't manage to do that - no surprises there. It also wasn't picked up during his whole time of schooling here either and that is still - far too often - the case today, people do not bother to pick up on problems when they are paid to do so, it is part of a teachers job to do this, but they very, very rarely do.[/p][/quote]It not clear from the story when Simon attended the former Brighton tech or Sussex uni but Autism Spectrum Condition diagnosis has only been around since 1994. My Son was diagnoses at the age 6 in 2000. He is a student at current City college ( the former Brighton tech) and I can say the learning support team for disabled students at the college is outstanding in supporting him at the college. Mrs Newcastle

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