Law Commission begins review of Declaratory Judgments

Publication Date 
17 August 2016

The Minister of Justice has requested that the Law Commission commence a review of declaratory judgments.

The declaratory judgment is an important judicial remedy in modern New Zealand.  It provides parties with a convenient means for the efficient and effective resolution of a range of disputes, without the need for further remedies.

President of the Law Commission, the Hon Douglas White QC said:

“This is an area of the law ripe for reform.  There is uncertainty in the scope of the remedy and significant complexity caused by the overlap between the various sources under which a court may find jurisdiction. 

“The Declaratory Judgments Act 1908, in particular, is in need of modernisation.  It is outdated in its language and form.  For example, section 3, the Act’s principal provision, is a single sentence of 172 words.”

The Commission will undertake a comprehensive review of declaratory judgments over the next two years and will consult with the public, as well as engaging key interested parties and convening an Expert Advisory Group.

Updates on the project can be found at the Commission’s website:

The Law Commission expects to report to the Minister of Justice with its recommendations by April 2018.