Law Commission releases report on the review of the Judicature Act 1908

The Law Commission has today released its report on the review of the Judicature Act 1908 and consolidation of courts legislation. The Commission is recommending that Parliament reform the laws governing New Zealand’s courts in order to make them more accessible and intelligible to the public. These laws determine how the country’s trial and appellate courts are structured, their jurisdiction, how judges are appointed to them, and the rules and procedures by which they administer justice.

The Commission is recommending the Judicature Act 1908, the Supreme Court Act 2003 and the District Courts Act 1947 be consolidated into a single, modern, clear, unitary Courts Act.  

The Commission’s review was based on the premise that the fundamental policy underpinning these Acts was sound, but it has made a number of recommendations aimed at improving the clarity of the courts legislation and the efficiency, transparency and accountability of the courts.

The report, entitled Review of the Judicature Act 1908: Towards a New Courts Act (R126, 2012), follows the publication of a 2011 issues paper entitled Towards a New Courts Act – a Register of Judges Pecuniary Interests? (IP21) and a 2012 issues paper entitled Review of the Judicature Act 1908: Towards a Consolidated Courts Act (IP29). 

The Government will now consider the recommendations in the Law Commission’s Report and will respond to them in due course.