Sir Anand Satyanand has enjoyed an illustrious career as a Judge, Ombudsman, and Governor-General. Sir Anand talked to the University of Auckland Law School magazine, Verbatim. This interview, in its slightly modified form, is kindly reproduced with the permission of Verbatim and Sir Anand. (more…)

By Sara Glassman

On 6 February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously held that an absolute prohibition against physician-assisted death infringed the Apellants’ right to life, liberty and security of the person in a manner not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. Accordingly, the Court struck down the law, issuing a declaration that the relevant provisions of the Canadian Criminal Code are invalid (the declaration to be suspended for one year). In doing so, it reversed its earlier decision Rodriguez v British Columbia (Attorney General) which had 21 years earlier upheld the prohibition on physician-assisted suicide by a slim majority of 5 to 4. This momentous and controversial decision will no doubt fuel end-of-life commentary and debate within Canada and abroad. 

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Cameron Walker

Amid much publicity, John Key announced plans to beef up New Zealand’s anti-terrorist laws to curb New Zealanders joining ISIS in Syria or Iraq.  Under the new Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill, the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) will receive extended spying powers and the authorities will be able to cancel someone’s passport for three years instead of the current 12 months if they are believed to be involved in terrorist activity.  (more…)

Daniel Josephs

This case concerns the rights of prisoners to legal representation in prison disciplinary hearings. More broadly, Drew v Attorney-General is of great constitutional significance as an illustration of how the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (NZBORA) can be used to effectively “strike down” or invalidate regulations that are inconsistent with it. In this context, the Court adopted an approach of “reading down” the statutory provision that empowered the creation of the regulations in order to construe it consistently with the NZBORA. (more…)

Helen Thompson

Same-sex adoption—much like same-sex marriage—is a topic that causes much greater controversy than other issues for reasons insufficient in this day and age. On both sides of the debate, individuals present highly passionate arguments to support their position, although some arguments may be slightly misguided. Yet, the real question is: why are we still having such debates in 2014? (more…)

Helen Thompson

The Immigration Amendment Act 2013 (the Amendment Act) is undoubtedly controversial. It provides for the detention of refugees who arrive as a mass group in New Zealand. This is an issue that has been quite problematic in other parts of the world, notably in Australia with the Tampa Crisis. The MV Tampa, a Norwegian cargo ship, tried to enter Australian waters while carrying over 400 Afghan refugees that it had rescued from a sinking ship. Australia denied the ship permission, but docked at Christmas Island as the captain was concerned about the condition of the refugees. The incident caused an international dispute regarding who should accept the refugees given Australia’s refusal.  Despite this, New Zealand has never had to confront the same issue. (more…)

Dino Bohinc

This case note endeavours to analyse the case of Battison v Melloy through a legal lens. It is necessary to do so, given the wide and arguably misinformed media coverage it received.

The catalyst to this paper was the sheer number of comments by members of the public that Lucan Battison was either: an ignorant child for refusing to comply with direction; a child who was so spoilt he thought he knew better; or, simply, just a bad school teen. The media coverage made this appear to be a “fight for human rights” and a challenge to authority. This was helped by the excessive repetition of Lucan’s submission that his plight was akin to that of Martin Luther King Jr. This is not mentioned one single time in Collins J’s judgment.

A further reason for this case note is to help the public better understand and comprehend the concept of judicial review. Judicial review is a mechanism to ensure that a figure in a position of public authority does not abuse his or her powers. Here, Collins J was not looking to uphold Lucan’s fight for justice—rather, he was concerned with the potential abuse of power by the principal, Mr Melloy. As part of this, the judicial review was concerned with the legality and reasonableness of the school rules, and whether they were ultimately lawful. (more…)

Dino Bohinc

Procedural history and issues arising

This was a successful appeal to the High Court pursuant to s 117 of the Immigration Act 1987 (“the Act”) against the decision of the Deportation Review Tribunal (“DRT”): Wolf v Minister of Immigration [2002] NZDRT 4.

The appeal to the DRT was against the Minister of Immigration’s decision to revoke the appellant’s residence permit pursuant to s 7(1)(a) and s 20(1)(b) of the Act. The DRT subsequently upheld the Minister’s decision.

The High Court appeal focused on the reasoning process adopted by the DRT’s majority. The appellant submitted that the DRT had failed to comply with unreasonableness/irrationality principles, stated in the well-known case of Associated Pictures Houses Ltd v Wednesbury Corporation [1948] 1 KB 233. (more…)

Helen Thompson

America has recently hit the headlines for using untested drugs of unknown origins in lethal injection executions. This has resulted in several botched executions. There has been great controversy over whether the use of these drugs amounts to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, or—potentially—torture. If it does, it would constitute a breach of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prevents the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment, as well the Convention Against Torture, to which America is a signatory party.  There are also issues surrounding the state’s right to keep secret the source of the drugs that they are using. Many states have passed laws declaring that they are permitted to restrain publication of this information. Prisoners have been trying to challenge the constitutionality of these laws, claiming that they have rights under the First Amendment to know what drugs will be used to kill them. (more…)

Sam Smith

In a significant decision, the Supreme Court refused public damages for breach of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (NZBORA) by the Judiciary. The decision was by a bare majority, highlighting the tensions involved in the case.

Background

Mr Chapman was convicted of sexual offending against a young boy and consequently sentenced to six years imprisonment. He appealed to the Court of Appeal. Legal aid was declined and the appeal was dismissed without an oral hearing. The Court did so using the ex parte appeal process; a common procedure in the late 1990’s among senior judges. The Privy Council, in R v Taito, found that the ex parte regime applied against Mr Chapman and others was unlawful and in breach of NZBORA. Victims of the ex parte regime were granted new appeals, including Mr Chapman. He was successful. His conviction was quashed and he was discharged under s 347 of the Crimes Act 1961 at a retrial.

Mr Chapman then took an action against the Attorney-General for public law damages for alleged breaches by the Judiciary of ss 25 and 27 of NZBORA. The proceeding was removed to the Court of Appeal, which held that public law compensation was available for judicial breaches of NZBORA and that the case should go to trial. The Attorney-General appealed to the Supreme Court and argued  that the rationale that underpinned personal judicial immunity from suit also justified the extension of that immunity to the Attorney-General for public law liability. (more…)