The Law Commission released an Issues Paper on Joint and Several Liability on 21 November 2012. The paper is available below in PDF and eBook form, or you can view the online version. The submissions deadline closed on Thursday 31 January 2013.
The Issues Paper describes how the rule of joint and several liability works, and identifies its key strengths and weaknesses. Its purpose is to raise issues and encourage submissions based on an informed view of the current law and the alternatives.
The Paper describes the leading options for the apportionment of liability, and examines the advantages and disadvantages with each option. At this stage, the Commission has no preference for any particular option (including the status quo).
The Law Commission previously reviewed this area of law in the 1990s. This Paper summarises the previous Reports, as well as examining the commentary on liability options in light of more recent developments such as the leaky buildings crises and financial collapse. The Paper compares the New Zealand approach to that in Australia, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. In particular, it examines how proportionate liability operates in Australia and the implications of CER for this review. Finally, the economic literature is summarised to provide an analysis of which options may produce more economically efficient outcomes.