Marion Thomson Charitable Trust

Who was Marion Thomson?

Marion Thomson (1911-2007) is an inspiring role model for female lawyers in Otago. Marion graduated from Otago law school in 1937 as the only female graduate in her class and the 3rd ever female law graduate, and she won several academic prizes. She then married and had a family so did not practise law (although worked as a legal typist). In 1960, she was offered a position in a firm and was admitted to the bar, making her the fifth woman to be admitted in Dunedin, only two others having been admitted in the 24 years since Marion had graduated.

Marion was a life member of Otago Women Lawyers’ Society (OWLS) and supported many OWLS events and initiatives. She was known for having great attention to detail, her capacity for dealing with clients, and her ability to solve tricky legal issues, particularly in the area of family law. Marion observed the challenge for women seeking to balance a professional career with the demands of raising a family.


The Marion Thomson Charitable Trust

The Marion Thomson Charitable Trust is a registered Charitable Trust and was established in 2009 with the assistance of OWLS. The Trust provides financial support to the wide range of professionals and those working in the community in the area of family law and the Family Court.

The charitable objectives of the Trust are to:

  1. Benefit members of the public who are on legal aid and without substantial means to access justice in Otago and NZ by supporting:

    a. People who are appointed by the Family Court to assist such members of the public; and/or
    b. People who assist such members of the public to use the Family Court system

  2. Advance education to provide scholarships and funding to students, researchers, lawyers and other professionals working in the area of family law or the Family Court in Otago, to attend conferences and education seminars, or to fund local educational seminars and conferences on family law issues.

The Trust can provide modest financial assistance (e.g. grants, loans, payments) to the wide range of professionals and others, as well as organisations, engaging in activities or initiatives in the Family Court. The Trust has discretion to make financial assistance available on such terms and conditions it thinks are appropriate.


Eligibility to apply

Applicants must be individuals or organisations based in Otago, have a Family Law or Family Court focus, and intend to engage in an activity which achieves the Trust’s objects. Examples include: study as part of professional development, attending Law Society seminars and conferences, or funding local seminars and conferences on family law issues.



  1. Please complete the Application Form.
  2. All applications must be received no later than 20 working days before the beginning of the course, seminar or other initiative/activity you would like to attend.
  3. Successful applicants will need to provide a written report to the Trust on the outcomes gained as a result of the financial assistance. They may also be invited to give a presentation to members of the Otago Women Lawyers Society (OWLS).

TMTCT Application Form

Contact details

Please email your application to: