Minister welcomes Law Commission report

  • Amy Adams

Justice Minister Amy Adams has welcomed the Law Commission’s latest report Pecuniary Penalties – Guidance for Legislative Design tabled in Parliament today.

The Report sets out the Commission’s view on the laws relating to pecuniary penalties, considers the circumstances in which they should be used and the legal framework underpinning them.

Pecuniary penalties are fines typically imposed on an individual or a company for breaching the statutory rules under which they operate a business or enterprise. They are primarily imposed by the High Court of New Zealand in civil cases and can involve large sums of money being paid to the Crown.

The Law Commission considers that civil proceedings involving pecuniary penalties lack many of the legal processes offered by criminal law.  The Commission also noted that there are inconsistencies among existing pecuniary penalties, which suggests a lack of a clear principle guiding their use.

Ms Adams thanked the Law Commission for its timely review.

“Pecuniary penalties challenge the traditional distinction between criminal and civil law,” Ms Adams says.

“Addressing these issues is important given how widespread pecuniary penalties are in New Zealand statutes today. They are a valid statutory tool and the Commission anticipates that they will be included more often in new legislation.”

Ms Adams says the Government will carefully consider the Commission’s recommendations and formally respond by April 2015.

For more information can be found on the Law Commission’s website: