Law Commission work programme confirmed

  • Amy Adams

Justice Minister Amy Adams has today confirmed the Law Commission’s 2015 work programme.

Among the priority areas, the Law Commission will review measures to protect classified and security sensitive information during civil and criminal court proceedings.

An issues paper on the Commission’s review of the Crown Proceedings Act 1950, released in April 2014, identified some difficulties applying the law in relation to the use of classified and security sensitive information in civil court proceedings.

The Law Commission's work will focus on these and related issues across all proceedings, including criminal cases.

“Globally, national security continues to be an increasingly significant concern for many countries, and New Zealand is no different,” says Ms Adams.

“The courts can play an important part in that process, and we need to be confident that our court system is well-placed to manage classified and security sensitive information.”

The Law Commission has been asked to provide its report by October 2015.

As announced last year, the Law Commission will also resume work to find ways to improve the court experience of victims in sexual offence cases.

“It will never be easy for a victim of a sexual crime to re-live their painful experiences in court, but we need to improve that process. I’m committed to supporting victims of sexual violence, which is why I’ve asked the Law Commission to make examining alternative pre-trial and trial processes a top priority,” says Ms Adams.

The Law Commission has been asked to complete the project and make final recommendations by September 2015.

In addition to its existing work on contempt, extradition and mutual assistance and burials and cremation, the Commission will also explore changes to the law of self-defence and the creation of a crime of non-fatal strangulation, as part of the Government’s focus on a stronger response to family violence.