Law Commission reports back on two work programmes

  • Amy Adams

Justice Minister Amy Adams has welcomed two Law Commission reports on how the justice system responds to victims of sexual violence and on the use of classified and security-sensitive information in civil court proceedings.

Ms Adams says the Government will consider the recommendations of both reports and respond in due course.

“I asked the Law Commission to resume the important work on alternative trial processes because I believe there’s more work to be done to help victims of sexual violence, particularly in preventing them from being re-victimised by their dealings with the justice system,” Ms Adams says.

“Victims of sexual violence have already suffered a harrowing ordeal. It’s worth exploring any ideas for how the justice system can better meet their needs.”

The Law Commission has recommended several changes including:

  • establishing an alternative process for resolving sexual violence cases (such as in situations where the victim wants to maintain a relationship with the perpetrator)
  • piloting a specialist sexual violence court, with expert judges and lawyers who are trained and accredited in dealing with sexual violence cases
  • establishing a Sexual Violence Commission to coordinate and oversee services for victims of sexual violence.

“We’ll carefully consider the Commission’s recommendations and in the context of our comprehensive efforts to address family and sexual violence,” Ms Adams says.

In a separate report, the Law Commission also reported back on measures to protect classified and security-sensitive information during civil and criminal court proceedings.

The Law Commission has recommended the Crown Proceedings Act – which has not been updated since it was passed more than six decades ago – be replaced with a modern Crown Civil Proceedings Bill. The report also makes recommendations for how courts should deal with national security information in civil, criminal and administrative cases.

“National security is a crucial issue for many countries, including New Zealand. It’s important that New Zealand has a clear and robust framework for how national security information is dealt with in court proceedings,” Ms Adams says.