Introduction and summary

Terms of Reference

In 2010, the Law Commission received a reference to review the Judicature Act 1908, with a view to consolidating it in one statute, together with the provisions of the District Courts Act 1947 and the Supreme Court Act 2003.2  The focus of the review was on reorganisation and modernisation. It was not the intention that the Law Commission would revisit major matters of policy underlining the present legislation. However, to some extent consolidation and revision go hand in hand, and the Commission makes a number of recommendations for the amendment of aspects of the current law.

Because of its status as an amending statute to the 1908 Act, the Judicature Amendment Act 1972 (1972 Amendment Act) falls under the umbrella of this review. However, the Commission has not been asked to consider the substance of the 1972 Amendment Act. Any such review would be a significant and complex task, and would warrant a reference of its own. Our remit is limited to providing an appropriate legislative home for the statutory right of judicial review, ensuring that any updated provisions do not alter the current substantive law.

It was intended that, in the course of consolidation, the provisions of the District Courts Act 1947 and the Supreme Court Act 2003 would be further considered. These more modern Acts do not require updating to the same extent as the Judicature Act, and in this Report we discuss only key issues relating to these two Acts that were raised in the course of consultation.

The review did not include an examination of the legislation governing specialist courts such as the Employment Court, Māori Land Court or Environment Court.

2The Terms of Reference are attached as Appendix 1.