5.1The appointment of judges is a critical matter for New Zealand, both for reasons of principle and for pragmatic reasons.
5.2At the level of high principle, the judiciary is the third arm of government. It is not elected, and enjoys the highest level of security of tenure of any institution in the country. It is therefore hugely important that appointments be made with great care and a full appreciation of the enduring nature of the appointment, which often lasts for 20 years or more.
5.3Further, if New Zealand citizens lose confidence in the judiciary, or a given judge, then inevitably the rule of law suffers. Citizens will not, as is their right, resort to the courts (save where they are compelled to do so) for the resolution of their rights and obligations. By choice, they will turn to alternate dispute resolution vehicles.
5.5In this chapter, we outline the current legislative provisions on judicial appointments, and discuss the Commission’s recommendations to enhance these.