Public to have say on Evidence Act

Publication Date 
28 March 2018

The Evidence Act is working well but there are several issues that may need fixing, says Law Commission President Sir Douglas White.

Today the Law Commission released an Issues Paper outlining possible ways to improve the Evidence Act 2006.

The Commission would like people to submit on how the Act is working in practice and how Parliament could improve it.

The paper is available online at www.lawcom.govt.nz and submissions are open until Friday 15 June 2018.

The Evidence Act 2006 contains the rules of evidence that apply to cases before the courts.

Sir Douglas, says:

“The rules of evidence govern who may say what and how in court proceedings and also what documents and material items they may present. The rules of evidence are crucial to fair, just and expeditious proceedings. They are an integral part of the rule of law.”

Parliament requires the Commission to review the Evidence Act every five years.

This is the Commission’s second review of the Act. Sir Douglas says:

“Our preliminary view is that the Act is still working well. However, we have identified some issues that warrant consideration and possible amendment.”

The Issues Paper looks at the rules governing:

  • conviction evidence;
  • the right to silence;
  • unreliable statements and improperly obtained evidence;
  • identification evidence;
  • the conduct of experts;
  • privilege;
  • veracity evidence;
  • co-defendants’ statements; and
  • giving evidence in sexual and family violence cases.

The Commission is also considering whether the Evidence Regulations 2007 are easy to understand and work well.

For more information:

  • Stephen Day, Law Commission Communications Adviser, 021 2900 734