Te Aka Kōrero No. 7 - News from the Law Commission
The Justice Minister asked the Law Commission to advise him on the Government’s plan to treat abortion as a health
issue. So RNZ’s show, The House, took an in-depth look at the Commission, what it does, why and how.
Abortion law reform
The Law Commission is inviting public input on how New Zealand’s abortion laws could be made consistent with treating
abortion as a health issue.
Submissions affect relationship property review
The Law Commission has received over 300 submissions on its review of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976. The
submissions and feedback from the public meetings held around the country have given the Commission plenty to consider.
"To make sure that everyone is aware of our likely recommendations and has a chance to have their say, we are going to
release a Preferred Approach Paper in October 2018," says Law Commissioner Helen McQueen.
The right to silence
The Evidence Act prohibits us from inferring that a defendant is guilty if he or she remains silent. That is a
fundamental right in our Bill of Rights. But is there a distinction between making an adverse inference about a
defendant's credibility and drawing an adverse inference about their guilt? It is a tricky legal issue that the Law
Commission is exploring in its review of the Evidence Act.
Review of Class Actions and Litigation
The Law Commission has a new project looking at both class actions and litigation funding. While the project is not
currently a priority, the President of the Law Commission Sir Douglas White spoke to a symposium at Auckland University
in March on the future of class actions.
Law Commission adviser helps examine gender bias in legal judgments
A new book challenges bias in our legal system by rewriting important judgments from a Māori and feminist viewpoint.
Feminist judgments of Aotearoa New Zealand : te rino : a two-stranded ropewas edited by Elisabeth McDonald, Rhonda Powell, Māmari Stephens and Rosemary Hunter. It re-examines 25 important New
Zealand cases from a feminist or Māori women’s perspective. It asks how those judgments might have looked if written by
feminist judges. Lisa Yarwood, a senior legal and policy adviser at the Law Commission, sat as one of the feminist
judges in the book.
Privacy Bill implements 2011 recommendations
Seven years after the Law Commission completed its review of privacy law the Government has introduced a Bill to
implement is recommendations. The Bill, which draws on recommendations in the Commission’s Final Reports, would
strengthen New Zealand’s privacy protections.
• David Goddard QC is the grants and scholarships committee chair of the Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation -
established earlier this year through a $38 million bequest by the late Judge Ian Borrin in honour of his parents. He talks to RNZ's Kim Hill about the foundation
and about a grant it gave to support research that the Commission will use as it reviews the Property (Relationships)
• Politicians across Parliament voted to support a Private Member's Bill that would implement Law Commission
recommendations to modernise the law of Contempt of Court. The Minister of Justice said the Government will not only
support the bill but is likely to adopt it "so that we can give it the resources and further consideration that it
certainly deserves". Read the full debate on Hansard.