Constitution Amendment Bill

  • Doug Graham

The Attorney-General, Rt Hon Sir Douglas Graham, noted the tabling of the Constitution Amendment Bill in the House today.

"This short but important Bill does three things," said Sir Douglas.

"It provides for a more transparent appointment process for the Judiciary. It increase's Parliament's powers to remove Judges. And it protects serving Judges from being sued."

"In future, all appointments to judicial office shall be made by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Attorney-General, except for the Chief Justice, who will continue to be recommended by the Prime Minister, and Maori Land Court Judges who will continue to be appointed by the Minister of Maori Affairs," he said.

"The Bill provides for the removal of Judges by the Governor General on an address by Parliament on the motion of the Attorney-General. At present Parliament has the responsibility for High Court Judges but others can be removed by executive decision without Parliamentary involvement," said Sir Douglas.

"The Bill also provides Judges with an immunity from suit when they are acting as Judges. At present some Judges have full immunity while others do not but are indemnified by the Crown. It is considered advisable to preserve the independence of the Judiciary by standardising the immunity from suit."