Awards to Retired Judge James Burns, the late UH Law Professor Jon Van Dyke, and Justice Simeon Acoba

October 16, 2013

Retired Chief Judge James S. Burns and the late UH Law Prof. Jon Van Dyke will be honored, along with Hawai‘i Supreme Court Justice Simeon Acoba, at a fundraising dinner November 1 when the American Judicature Society Hawai‘i Chapter recognizes their outstanding contributions to the justice system in Hawai‘i.

Burns will receive the chapter’s Lifetime Achievement Award that recognizes a career of his contributions to improving the justice system in the state, as well as serving as an inspiration to many others.

Professor Van Dyke, who passed away two years ago, will be posthumously honored with the national Herbert Harley Award. This award, named for the society’s founder, is the premier state award that can be bestowed on individuals who make outstanding efforts and contributions to improve the administration of justice in their state.

Justice Acoba is also being presented with a national award – the Ninth Annual Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence.  In his nomination letter, Hawai‘i Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald said, “Justice Acoba has been a sitting judge in Hawai‘i state courts for nearly 35 years, and has served at every level of the state court system  . . .  His extensive judicial experience, commitment to public service, and leadership in the area of access to justice makes him an excellent candidate for this award.”

Both Van Dyke and Burns have deep connections to the William S. Richardson School of Law. Van Dyke served for most of his career as a professor at the UH Law School, becoming a recognized international authority on the Law of the Sea and international human rights law, as well as Native Hawaiian law. Burns has been associated with the Law School for years as a mentor for law students who often seek him out because of his wealth of knowledge of and experience in Hawai‘i’s judicial system.

Law Dean Avi Soifer applauded the society for its recognition of all three men and their innumerable contributions to improving the quality of life for Hawai‘i’s people:

“This trio of exceptional individuals truly have made a huge difference within our state and beyond our shores. It is striking that such different personalities have combined to advance the search for justice and to improve our legal system in diverse but ultimately very consistent ways.”

The dinner will be held at the Waialae Country Club on November 1, starting at 5:30 p.m. with no host cocktails, to be followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Single tickets are $250. There are three levels of table sponsorship for tables of 10:

- Maile $10,000

- Ilima $5,000

- Pikake $2,500

The banquet is co-chaired by Ivan M. Lui-Kwan, National Board Member of AJS, and Russell J. Lau, AJS Hawai‘i Chapter treasurer. For tickets, email or call (808) 537-6100.