The Law Commission completed a wide ranging review of the structure and operation of courts and tribunals in New Zealand in 2004 and published the report Delivering Justice for All: A Vision for New Zealand Courts and Tribunals. The Commission is now working with the Ministry of Justice on a project to examine New Zealand’s existing system of tribunals and identify ways in which tribunal arrangements can be improved. The project is considering a number of options for tribunal reform, including the option of establishing a unified tribunal structure as recommended by the Commission in its 2004 report. The first stage of work on the project involved research and analysis of New Zealand’s existing tribunal arrangements. The Commission canvassed widely, via a questionnaire, the views of tribunal chairs and members, and the agencies administering tribunals. The results of the Commission’s early work were published in Tribunals in New Zealand (IP6, Wellington, 2008). The Commission and the Ministry of Justice have worked closely on this project. The Government released a public consultation document, Tribunals in New Zealand: the Government’s Preferred Approach to Reform in July 2008 (to view a copy of the consultation document, please click on the Related Link) seeking feedback on proposals for reform which the Law Commission supports. The Commission will publish a further paper on this reference at the end of October 2008
The Commission, in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice, will provide a final report on the issues involved in establishing a unified tribunal structure, including the operational implications of the incremental inclusion of tribunals in the new structure.
The report will include a draft bill to establish the new unified tribunal structure. In drafting the bill the Commission and the Ministry of Justice will have regard to:
a) the Government response to the recommendation set out in Delivering Justice: Review of Courts and Tribunals NZLC R85;
b) any matters raised in further consultation with the tribunals affected.