The Government has appointed Attorney-General Chris Finlayson as a Queen's Counsel.
Mr Finlayson and the Government's chief legal adviser, Solicitor-General Michael Heron, are the first QCs to be appointed since the title was restored last month.
It is traditionally given to barristers at or near the top of the legal profession.
Prime Minister John Key says Mr Finalyson has one of the country's finest legal minds.
An Attorney-General has not been appointed QC since 1995 and a Solicitor-General not since 1981.