Introduction and summary

Process of the Review

Two issues papers were published in the course of the review. The first of these, entitled Towards a New Courts Act – a Register of Judges Pecuniary Interests? (Issues Paper 21),3 was published in March 2011, following the introduction to Parliament of Green MP Dr Kennedy Graham’s Register of Pecuniary Interests of Judges Bill in November 2010. Issues Paper 21 sought views on issues associated with the recusal of judges and the establishment of a register of judges’ pecuniary interests.
A second much broader issues paper seeking views on the wide-ranging provisions of the Judicature Act, entitled Review of the Judicature Act 1908: Towards a Consolidated Courts Act (Issues Paper 29),4  was published in February 2012.

Submissions were received in response to both issues papers.

In this Report, the Commission considers the feedback received from submitters and in consultation meetings, and makes recommendations on the matters discussed in both Issues Paper 21 and Issues Paper 29. A list of submitters who responded to one or both of the issues papers is included as Appendix 2.

Over the course of the review, the Commission met with practitioners, judges, officials, representatives from the New Zealand Centre for Public Law and other academics, and held a South Island Civil Justice Forum in conjunction with the Otago University Legal Issues Centre, to whom we are very grateful. The Forum provided us with an opportunity to consult more widely than would otherwise have been possible.

We are also grateful to Russell McVeagh for hosting an evening seminar to discuss the Commission’s preliminary proposals.

3Law Commission Towards a New Courts Act – A Register of Judges’ Pecuniary Interests? Review of the Judicature Act 1908 First Issues Paper (NZLC IP21, 2011). 
4Law Commission Review of the Judicature Act 1908: Towards a consolidated Courts Act (NZLC IP29, 2012).