What does Wilson Mean?
Thursday 5th Jul 2001 Stephen Franks Media Release -- Justice
Attorney-General Margaret Wilson’s public statement on abolition of appeals to the Privy Council is very worrying, ACT
Justice spokesman Stephen Franks said today.
"It seems to show detachment from reality and ignorance of the legal system.
"Ms Wilson suggested to the Justice and Law Reform Select Committee that importing overseas judges to sit in a New
Zealand Court of Final Appeal was a possibility. This was not one of the options raised in her discussion paper. At
least it seems to acknowledge the risks of being confined to our own tight little pool. But it is unrealistic to expect
judges of the quality we presently get. They will begrudge the time. It will simply lead to the New Zealand Judges
sitting alone when no overseas judges are available.
"More worrying were Ms Wilson’s references to a ‘Commonwealth Court’ like the ‘European Court’ being the 'way to go'.
This is completely detached from reality. Has she consulted any other Commonwealth countries over this proposal, and why
does she think that we would be interested in the decision of a Judge from Malawi on international commerce or from
Malaysia on civil rights?
"I don’t know which European Court Ms Wilson was referring to. The European Court of Human Rights is not a domestic
Court of Final Appeal, it is an international law body. The European Court of Justice is effectively the Supreme Court
of a Confederation administering law made by the central bodies of that confederation. Why does Ms Wilson think that
either provides an appropriate alternative model for the Privy Council, and what other countries does she think will
"It is clear that Ms Wilson knows only one thing, that she wants to get rid of appeals to the Privy Council. Then all
decisions can be made by Courts to which she and her colleagues appoint the judges. The rest is just smoke to confuse
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