Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New Zealand Law Commission Issues Paper on Legal Proceedings Against the Crown

The Law Commission of New Zealand released an Issues Paper last week entitled A New Crown Civil Procedure Act for New Zealand which proposes a new law governing the ability of citizens to bring civil legal proceedings against the Crown and its servant.

From the press release:
"The Crown Proceedings Act is the statute through which New Zealanders can sue the Crown. In the Commission’s view, and in the view of many who work with it, the current Act is convoluted and difficult to follow. The Act has not been updated since it was passed in 1950. It is in need of modernisation to reflect the realities of government in the twenty-first century."

"The proposed statute is not designed to increase the scope of Crown liability, but would better enable the Courts to focus on the allegations made against the Crown (...)"

"The President of the Commission, Sir Grant Hammond, describes the Crown Proceedings Act as 'a statute of considerable constitutional significance'."

" 'Although the Crown Proceedings Act sounds as if it is simply dry ‘lawyer’s law’, it has the important purpose of reflecting New Zealand’s commitment to ensuring that people are able to seek appropriate legal redress against their government. It forms an important pillar of the rule of law,' says Sir Grant."

"An important topic covered in the Issues Paper is the Crown’s ability to refuse to disclose certain information during litigation because of reasons of national security. The Commission is raising a number of options, including the possibility of court hearings in which material might be relied on by the Crown but not fully disclosed to the other side."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:37 pm


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