This project was to undertake a review of the structure and operation of all state-based adjudicative bodies in New Zealand, including all courts and tribunals except the top tier of the appellate system.
Terms of reference
The Law Commission will consider and report upon the structure of all state-based adjudicative bodies for New Zealand (apart from the Court of Appeal and Privy Council or institutions in substitution therefore) including:
(a) The volume and nature of work requiring attention.
(b) The appropriate form, nature, and operation of the Courts and Tribunals required to meet all current needs and expectations.
(c) The original jurisdiction of the District and High Courts and associated Tribunals.
(d) The appellate relationship between the District and High Courts, including the form of the appellate regime for appeals from specialist Courts and tribunals, particularly the Family Court and the Environment Court.
(e) The interrelationship of the Employment Court, the Māori Land Court and the Māori Appellate Court, with the District Court and the High Court.
(f) The relationship between the District Court and the High Court and administrative tribunals and other quasi-judicial bodies with regard to both appeal and review.
(g) The role and function of Masters and Registrars within the total Court structure.
(h) The overall structure of how less serious criminal and civil matters may be dealt within the District Courts.
(i) The rights of appeal from the District Court and the High Court to whatever appellate structure exists above them. The Commission will have particular regard to its statutory obligations to take account of te ao Māori (the Māori dimension) and the multi-cultural character of New Zealand society in this exercise.
Striking the balance, Your opportunity to have your say on the New Zealand Court System (NZLC PP51, 2002)
The Commission's Preliminary Paper, Striking the balance, Your opportunity to have your say on the New Zealand Court System (NZLC PP51, 2002) is the first discussion paper for the Structure of the Courts project. It is a general raising of issues relating to the structure and operation of the court system seeking widespread public and professional response as to the problems encountered and any suggested improvements.
Seeking Solutions: Options for Change to the New Zealand Court System (NZLC PP52, 2002)
The Commission's Preliminary Paper, Seeking Solutions: Options for Change to the New Zealand Court System (NZLC PP52, 2002) is the second discussion paper for the Structure of the Courts project. It is a detailed offering of alternatives for reform, following submissions and consultation meetings on Striking the Balance, and an assessment of national and international issues and trends in court reform.
Delivering Justice for All (NZLC R85, 2004)
The Commission's Report, Delivering Justice for All (NZLC R85, 2004).
The Commission’s recommendations for structural changes were rejected. The Commission revisited the structural issues in its Review of the Judicature Act 1908: Towards a New Courts Act (NZLC R126, 2012). Some issues were superseded by the Judicature Modernisation Bill 2013 and the Family Court Proceedings Reform Bill 2012.
There was no requirement for the Government to present a formal response to Commission reports before April 2009.