By Margaret Greville
Updated in 2011 by Maria Connor
Published April 2011
See the Archive Version!
Margaret Greville is a Law Liaison Librarian at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. She has a MA (Hons) and LLB from the University of Auckland (NZ). She has been a law librarian for over 30 years, in law firms (large and small), in two academic law libraries, and in a courts library - all in New Zealand and Australia. Most of that time has been spent in academe. She has championed the teaching of legal research skills to law students, and has also taught legal practitioners and non-law librarians. She was instrumental in promoting the creation of a law librarianship module in a New Zealand Library School, and has participated in teaching it. She is the principal author of Legal Research and Writing in New Zealand, 3rd ed, by Margaret Greville et al, Wellington NZ, LexisNexis (NZ) 2007.
Maria Connor is a Subject Librarian (Law) at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Prior to this, she worked at the New Zealand Treasury and the New Zealand Parliamentary Library.
Table of Contents
New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy. The Crown or monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, but for most purposes, she is represented in New Zealand by a Governor General. The role is largely ceremonial, but there are occasions when the gubernatorial role carries with it quite wide-ranging powers in certain situations, such as when a government loses a confidence vote in respect of appropriation and supply.
New Zealand has a responsible and representative government. Until 1996 the government was elected by a 'first past the post' system - ie, whichever party gained the largest number of seats in a general election was invited to form the government for the next three years (see http://www.elections.org.nz/). 1996 was New Zealand's first election under the new MMP (Mixed Member Proportional Representational) system. The term of government remains at three years.
An exception to the 'pure' form of this type of government is the cluster of seats reserved for voters who are on the Maori electoral roll. The number of seats set aside for those who identify themselves as Maori voters is adjusted from time to time in the same way as for the general roll to reflect the numbers on it. Citizens of Maori descent can choose whether to be on the Maori or General roll.
It operates as a unitary state, and not as a federal system like Australia or Canada. It is unicameral, that is, there exists in our Parliament only a House of Representatives, with no Upper House.
It does not have a written constitution, in the sense of a single entrenched legislative instrument spelling out the powers of the various arms of government.
It does have a number of constitutional documents which together spell out some of the rights of citizens, while other civil rights are safeguarded by the operation of common law. The New Zealand politics source book, 3rd ed by Stephen Levine with Paul Harris, 1999 offers in its table of contents a very clear outline of New Zealand's constitutional documents.
In the New Zealand system, appeals no longer (since 2003) lie to the Privy Council. The Supreme Court is now New Zealand’s highest Court, established by the Supreme Court Act 2003.
Below it sits the Court of Appeal. Next down in the hierarchy is the High Court of New Zealand, with seats in main centres throughout the country. Finally in this general court system is the District Court, usually the court of first instance for most matters, and these courts are to be found in most towns and cities in New Zealand. The respective jurisdictions of the High Court and the Court of Appeal are spelt out in the Judicature Act 1908, last reprinted in 2010. The jurisdiction of the District Court is enacted in the District Courts Act 1947.
In addition to these courts of general jurisdiction, there are also a number of courts of special jurisdiction, such as the Maori Land Court, the Maori Appellate Court, the Environment Court, the Family Court, and the Youth Court. The two latter are Divisions of the District Court. The Judicature Act also provides for the creation of a Commercial List in High Court Centres, and the first of these was established in Auckland.
In addition to the various courts, there is quite a large number of Administrative Tribunals that exercise judicial power, while there is also a bewildering array of Authorities, Commissions, Ombudsmen, and Boards that exercise statutory decision-making powers. A truly excellent resource for those who wish to unravel this knotty tangle is the directory provided by the University of Waikato's Law Library. This web site also contains details of where decisions of the various decision-making bodies may be obtained.
The whole body of existing English law, both legislation and common law, as well as the English constitutional conventions, was received into New Zealand on 14 January 1840. For some time, the Parliament at Westminster legislated for New Zealand, but from 1865, New Zealand received limited legislative powers of its own. In 1931 the United Kingdom Parliament passed the Statute of Westminster, to facilitate a move towards independence for the Dominions (former colonies) by removing the limitations on their legislative powers. In 1947 New Zealand passed the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act and accepted full responsibility for its own destiny.
Until very recently, New Zealand continued to look to the mother Parliament at Westminster for sources of its own legislation, and to the superior English courts for precedents in its own courts. House of Lords and (English) Court of Appeal decisions are still highly persuasive, and English decisions are still often cited in New Zealand courts. However, especially in the last 20 years, New Zealand has looked further afield for legislative models - particularly in the more commercially flavoured subject areas. For example, our Commerce Act and Fair Trading Act are modelled directly upon the Australian Trade Practices Act, which in turn looks to U.S. models in the American antitrust laws. Our latest Companies Act is based upon a Canadian model, as is our Consumer Guarantees Act. On the whole, we now look more often to North America than to the United Kingdom for sources of legislation.
New Zealand courts will consider authorities from a variety of other common law jurisdictions, especially Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the USA. As a consequence, New Zealand lawyers are accustomed to researching the law across a number of jurisdictions.
There is an inexorable drive towards the web in most areas of New Zealand legal information, and strong competition between publishers in this matter. Unfortunately, this does not always lead to free sources of primary or secondary legal information. There is no 'magic bullet' - no single web site where you can hope to pick up New Zealand legal information for free. There is some free information available, but on the whole, New Zealand has embraced the 'user pays' philosophy perhaps a little too enthusiastically in this respect.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) conducts the Government's business with foreign governments and international organisations. The Treaties and International Law section of the MFAT website provides an overview of the treaty making process in New Zealand, and the treaties for which New Zealand is the depositary. There are links to the International treaties list (a list of all agreements currently under negotiation), National Interest Analyses ( NIAs), and lists of bilateral and multilateral agreements. External links are provided to many of the multilateral agreements, and copies of the original text of many bilateral treaties can be found on the website in pdf format.
The New Zealand Treaty Series is published as part of the Appendix to the Journal of the House of Representatives (AJHR). MFAT published the New Zealand Consolidated Treaty List in 1996, also issued as A.263 in the AJHRs. This publication contains information about all treaties to which New Zealand has become a party to this date. A copy of the list can be obtained from the Ministry, together with a supplement from 1996-2007. Further enquiries about treaties should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Treaties and Conventions are not binding on New Zealand courts until incorporated into domestic legislation, but they may also be persuasive as a matter of statutory interpretation even when not ratified: in construing a piece of legislation in the event of ambiguity, the court will deem that Parliament would not have chosen to legislate contrary to the spirit of an international treaty.
At present, the only official version of the New Zealand statutes is the paper version, although this is likely to change in the not-too-distant future: see below, under General Legal Information, and under Legislation.
Statutes are passed by the House of Representatives after passing through three Readings and then being assented to by the Governor General (though this last requirement is largely a matter of form). Acts are officially published in pamphlet form, while bound volumes of statutes containing all the Acts passed in that year are published annually. Statutes are only reprinted occasionally, when the number of amending Acts becomes so large that reading a principal Act along with all its amendments becomes unwieldy. The statute books are kept up to date by a homespun system of manual annotation involving the physical crossing out of repealed sections and insertion of slips of paper to indicate amendments. This ritual is carried out twice a year, but only for those sets of statutes maintained in New Zealand. Brookers, a legal publisher, carries out the process. In other jurisdictions, and also in many New Zealand law libraries, an alternative system is available, provided by a rival publisher, LexisNexis (NZ). This consists of a series of loose-leaf volumes containing both statutory and case annotations kept up to date as new amendments are passed.
Access to a compiled version of current Acts, Bills and Regulations is available. Curious readers with time on their hands can study the history of New Zealand’s attempts to create a free online public access database of official compiled legislation. It is intended that legislation on the legislation.govt.nz website will become an official source of New Zealand legislation in the future. See here for further detail.
The 'official' series of law reports in New Zealand is the New Zealand Law Reports 1883 -, published by LexisNexis (New Zealand). These are also available by subscription in digital form: LexisNexis (NZ) Online and LEXIS.
There are also about 20 other series of subject law reports. For an excellent and up to date historical survey of New Zealand law reports, see: Edwards, Alan, 'New Zealand Law Reports: A Bibliographic Survey' (2002) 10 Australian Law Librarian 37.
There is also a flourishing trade in unreported decisions. These consist of the transcripts of decisions as they are issued by the various courts and tribunals, and before they are reported (although by far the majority of New Zealand court decisions are not reported at all). These are available from the originating court or tribunal, or from a number of agencies, such as Judgments Unlimited in Wellington. Selections of unreported decisions - mainly from the superior courts - are digested in The Capital Letter and Butterworths Current Law, published weekly and fortnightly respectively. Unreported decisions are also digested and subsequently noted up on the databases LINX and Briefcase (see below).
Most of the report series that are still current are available electronically as well as in hard copy, and just a few are available only electronically. They are mostly offered on the web sites of the two remaining major legal publishers in New Zealand, Brookers and LexisNexis (NZ). The digital versions have the advantage not only of good search facilities, but also being able to searched in tandem with other databases on the same platform and having links to related material.
There are also two databases dating from around 1985 that provide bibliographic details of unreported decisions of the superior courts. These are LINX and Briefcase. Although both started life as independent entities, in the last few years both have been further developed by the rivals Brookers (who have bought Briefcase) and LexisNexis (NZ) (who have a joint venture arrangement with the LINX committee). Both offer a large number of full text decisions attached to the original bibliographic records as pdf files, and both have links to cited legislative sections. LINXPlus is an enhanced version of LINX that also allows linking to full text reported versions of cases on Lexis Nexis. Each may be searched (on the two respective web sites) simultaneously with other selected case law databases.
It seems that there may still be a measure of judicial unease at the prospect of unmediated public access to all judicial decisions. For one judge's view, see Harvey, D, 'Public Access to Legislative information and Judicial Decisions in New Zealand: Progress and Process', (2002) 10 Australian Law Librarian, 48.
NZLII, a New Zealand source of legal information on the WORLDLII platform, makes available decisions of judicial bodies that are variously distributed for free public access. The Supreme Court web page contains decisions since its inception in 2004, as well as unedited transcripts. The Court of Appeal and High Court offer Judicial Decisions of Public Interest. Decisions from these courts are also available via Judicial Decisions Online. See below under General Legal information.
The standard text on the New Zealand Parliament is Parliamentary practice in New Zealand, 3rd ed, by David McGee, Wellington, NZ, Dunmore Pub., 2005. This is now available in online format on the Parliament website.
The parliamentary web site is a good source of information about Parliament, and on its day-to-day activities.
The Parliamentary Bulletin is an invaluable publication, issuing weekly while Parliament is sitting, that tracks the progress of bills through the House, activities of Select Committees, and other parliamentary information.
Information about the New Zealand government can be found in three main sources:
1. The New Zealand official yearbook. This was last published in print in 2010.
2. Directory of official information, published biennially by the New Zealand Ministry of Justice. It was last produced in 2005, and is also available online.
3. The New Zealand Government's web pages: Information about government departments can be located under A-Z of Government Agencies.
Local government online contains information for and about local bodies. The NZ government website offers a good access point for all local government websites, as well as general interest on this subject.
See below, under Legal Profession, and Legal Ethics.
The three main legal publishers in the New Zealand market are:
A number of web sites which offer online current awareness services either of a general nature or of particular interest to lawyers can be located among the websites listed here. Most of them are free.
Many New Zealand law firms offer newsletters free to members of the public, and also publish them on their web sites. This is a very good source of information about very recent happenings on the New Zealand legal scene.
Legal publishers offer various online and/or email current awareness services to clients on subscription. For example, Brookers offers Alert24, which provides the latest developments on subjects such as: Family Law, Employment, Land Law, Commercial Law, and Taxation.
A number of useful current awareness services are published in New Zealand:
Two publications offer regular summaries of recent unreported cases. These are:
- The capital letter: a weekly review of administration, legislation, and law edited by Penny Pepperell. Wellington, Fourth Estate Periodicals, 1987 - (published weekly)
- Butterworths Current Law. Wellington, Butterworths, 1979 - (published fortnightly).
There are also many topical newsletter style publications that combine brief case notes with slightly more in-depth articles; examples are: Butterworths Employment Law Bulletin; New Zealand Intellectual Property Journal; Feminist Law Bulletin, Maori Law Review.
The Parliamentary Bulletin. Wellington, Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, 1986 - This issues weekly when Parliament is in session. It is a good tool for keeping up to date with the passage of legislation through the House.
New Zealand law firms produce newsletters which are often an excellent first source of brief commentary on New Zealand legal happenings. See immediately above under Online sources, and under the Legal profession for links.
Trans Tasman is a privately circulated weekly popular with business and corporate lawyers interested in public affairs on both sides of the Tasman.
A number of these have been noted in other parts of this article, but it may be helpful to draw some basic works together in one place. Many are in print only. Characteristically, many are disappointingly limited by failing to be comprehensive in their cover of New Zealand legal information published by competitors.
Students at all six law schools in New Zealand are taught legal research skills as part of the curriculum. In addition, the larger law firms run comprehensive training programmes of instruction for incoming graduates, to acclimatise them to the particular resources and requirements of that firm. Law students and young lawyers in New Zealand are usually encouraged to begin by looking first at commentary, especially a standard current textbook on the subject, or the relevant section in a legal encyclopaedia, before proceeding to primary sources.
There are now two books on legal research in New Zealand: Greville, M, Davidson, J.S., and Scragg, R., Legal Research and Writing in New Zealand, 3rd ed (Wellington: LexisNexis, 2007); and Wainwright, B., E-research for New Zealand Lawyers (Wellington: Butterworths, 2001)
This is intended as no more than a starting point for someone in a hurry. It is no substitute for a methodical search in a law library catalogue, a good hunt through the relevant legislation and cases, and time spent searching in legal journal indexes such as LINXPlus, AGIS, LegalTrac etc.
Each subject is approached through governing legislation (and the list in each case will not be exhaustive), case law specific to that subject (and excluding generic series such as the New Zealand Law Reports), secondary materials such as topics in Laws of New Zealand and standard texts, journals specific to the subject, and online resources, which includes free and subscription materials.
See: Personal Injury
(see also: Civil Procedure, and Legal Profession below)
The main piece of legislation here is the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 1989, under which banks are registered. Also significant are:
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand website provides a rich source of information about the banking environment and monetary policy in New Zealand as well as the narrower topic of banking supervision. You can also register for the Reserve Bank Email Service to get the latest news on what the Reserve Bank is doing. There is also an archive of the Reserve Bank Bulletin back to 1980 on the site.
There is a Banking Ombudsman service offering free and independent assistance for people to sort out their unresolved problems with participating banks. The participating banks are all listed on the web site, as are the services offered. You can access the Case Notes and Newsletter via this web site. There are also online forms for complaints and requests for information.
The trading and savings banks also maintain web pages:
See also: Companies and Securities
The governing legislation for personal insolvency is the Insolvency Act 2006, while the Receiverships Act 1993 governs the receivership of companies. There are a number of sections of the Companies Act 1993 that have significant effect in this area as well. Also significant are:
The New Zealand Insolvency and Trustee Service website carries a lot of useful information on this subject, and offers access to the monthly Business Update newsletter. You can subscribe to this online and receive each issue by email. The website also carries the Insolvency Register, which allows you to search for bankruptcies, some company liquidations and people currently going through a No Asset Procedure.
There is a raft of legislation in this broad subject area. A collection of the basic legislation may be found in the New Zealand Business Law Guide, edited by G. W. Hinde et al, Auckland, CCH, 1985 – (looseleaf). Annual or occasional compilations are also supplied in New Zealand Contract and Commercial Legislation, 21st ed, 2005 and in the student edition, Introduction to New Zealand Commercial Legislation (2005) (both also out of the CCH stable, and in Butterworths Commercial Legislation (2003).
Significant Acts include, i.a.:
Bills of Exchange Act 1908
Carriage of Goods Act 1979
Cheques Act 1960
Commerce Act 1986
Consumer Guarantees Act 1993
Contractual Mistakes Act 1977
Contractual Remedies Act 1979
Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003
Credit (Repossession) Act 1997
Fair Trading Act 1986
Insolvency Act 2006
Illegal Contracts Act 1970
Sale of Goods Act 1908
Personal Property Securities Act 1999
Sale of Goods (UN Convention) Act 1994
There is no single topic of the Laws of New Zealand covering this area; rather a number of separate topics, for example: Consumer Credit and Hire Purchase, Consumer Protection, Creditors Remedies, and Sale of Goods.
The Ministry of Economic Development web site contains links to a large number of useful sources on various aspects of the business environment. There is access to a number of publications and public statements on business law and trade and discussion and publications on business policy and law. The Ministry also offers a free email newsletter, the Business Update.
The Motor Vehicle Securities Register has been incorporated within the Personal Property Securities Register. Both are maintained by the MED.
The Treasury website is a good source of up to date information about the current national economic climate and its management by government.
Brookers Commercial Library - This is a subscription based electronic library, comprising:
· Banking and Finance Precedents
· Commercial Cases,
· Copyright Precedents
· Fair Trading
· Franchising Precendents
· Gault on Commercial Law,
· Intellectual Property Cases
· Information Technology Contracts Precedents,
· Intellectual Property Law in New Zealand
· Mergers, Acquisitions, and Takeovers Precedents
· New Zealand Business Law Quarterly
· Patents Precedents
· Sale and Purchase of a Business Precedents
· Trade Marks Precedents
These may be subscribed to as separate products, or in any combination. There are links within and between the products, and it is possible to search across a selection of any of them and/or any other Brookers products.
CCH also has its Business Law Library available online for subscribers. This comprises:
LexisNexisNZ has its Commercial Law in New Zealand available online.
The statute establishing the jurisdiction of the High Court is the Judicature Act 1908, and this also provides for the making of the rules of court. Originally, these appeared as a schedule to the Judicature Act (the present rules were originally contained in a schedule to the Judicature Amendment Act (No.2) 1985), but now the Judicature Act provides for a Rules Committee with powers to make and amend rules to govern the practice and procedure of the High Court. These are the High Court Rules.
The District Courts Act 1947 provides for the making of the District Court Rules, which are now amended by the same Rules Committee that is responsible for the High Court Rules, thus maintaining reasonable consistency between the two sets of rules.
The Supreme Court Act 2003 establishes the new Supreme Court and ends appeals to Her Majesty in Council, and amends the Judicature Act accordingly.
There are 3 topic of the Laws of New Zealand on this subject: Civil Procedure: District Courts; Civil Procedure: High Court; Civil Procedure: Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.
Brookers Precedents. This consists of over a dozen subject-based sets of documents on particular aspects of legal practice, available online by subscription, either separately, as a package, or separately but within a related subject library. For example, the Company Precedents set is also available as part of the Company and Securities Library, along with commentary, legislation, and cases on that subject.
Brookers Courts and Procedure Library, available online by subscription, contains Civil Litigation Precedents, Civil Procedure: District Courts & Tribunals, McGechan on Procedure, and Civil Procedure Cases.
LexisNexis’s Civil Procedure and Practice library is available online by subscription, contains the District Courts Practice (Civil), and Sim’s Court Practice.
The New Zealand Law Society offers a web page of Guidelines, Practice Notes, and Court notices for practitioners.
New Zealand’s companies legislation is based on the Canadian model, so Canadian case law is relevant.
There is a collection of legislation relating to takeovers on the web site of the Takeovers Panel.
The relevant topics of the Laws of New Zealand are: Companies, and Shares and Securities.
The New Zealand Companies Office is a unit of the Ministry of Economic Development. Its web pages offer useful information on the companies regime, online compliance and registration facilities, and also the opportunity to register to receive a free Business Update Newsletter.
You can register a new company, reserve a company name, file certain company documents (including annual returns) and update director and company address information online. You can search the register for information on companies, other bodies including incorporated societies, and the banned director database.
For information on company registration around the world, see the international pages on the UK Companies House website.
The NZX website is densely packed with investment information, including an index of listed companies, together with links to both to the latest prices via the stock code, and to the company’s own web pages, where financial information, annual reports, names of directors etc may be found.
The Securities Commission of New Zealand is established under the Securities Act 1978, and its aim is to foster capital investment in New Zealand by strengthening confidence in New Zealand's capital markets, both in New Zealand and overseas, by promoting: the efficiency, integrity, and cost-effective regulation of these markets. The Commission’s relationship to the New Zealand Stock Exchange is spelt out in a Memorandum of Understanding that may be viewed on its web pages. These are also a convenient source of the Commission’s reports, inquiries, and other publications, as well as Exemption Notices. There is a facility on the front page to register for email alerts to new information on this site.
The Takeovers Panel web site offers information about the takeovers regime in New Zealand, including determinations of the Panel, copies of public addresses, and an archive of Code Word, the newsletter of the Takeovers Panel.
What used to be Datex and IRG has become New Zealand Company Research. This offers subscription access to investment information relating to New Zealand companies.
Brookers Company and Securities Library (subscription) contains as separate infobases: Company Law, Securities Law, Insolvency Law and Practice, Insolvency Cases, Company and Securities Cases, and Company Precedents.
LexisNexis’s global platform offers online access to Morison’s Company Law and Morison’s Securities Law by subscription. Each contains commentary and relevant legislation and precedents.
CCH (NZ) is a major publisher of company and commercial legal information, and its online Company library offers subscription access to commentary on law and practice, cases, and relevant legislation – all corresponding to its hard copy products from the CCH Library Online link.
Both Lexis and Westlaw contain large volumes of (mainly American) international company, securities, and general commercial information; both are accessible online by subscription or other payment options available from time to time from LexisNexis NZ and Brookers.
(see also Consumer Law, below)
New Zealand competition law is based on the Australian Trade Practices legislation, which in turn is related to Canadian and U.S. models. Case law and commentary from all these jurisdictions is relevant.
The Laws of New Zealand contains a topic on Competition.
The Commerce Commission is the New Zealand competition watch-dog. There is a great deal of useful information about its work available through its web pages. There is an archive of the decisions of the Commission (acting in its judicial capacity) back to 1997.
Communique is the Commerce Commission's regular magazine. Fair’s Fair was a publication carrying case notes and other commentary on the Commission’s decisions on the Fair Trading Act, and there is an archive of the issues of this newsletter that were published between 1997 and 2001, when the publication ceased. Likewise, Compliance, a newsletter explaining the Commission’s role in respect of ensuring compliance with legislation containing competition-related implications has now ceased publication, but an archive 1997 – 2001 is available online.
The New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation Inc (ISCR) publishes its research papers to its web pages, and the archive of the Competition and Regulation Times may also be found at this source.
(see also: e-Commerce, below)
This is a very wide area of study indeed, embracing as it does intellectual property, privacy, data protection, e-government, e-commerce (see below), and computer contracts to name just a few sub-sets.
(to name but a couple that are relevant)
Because this subject now permeates every area of the law, cases will be found in almost any series of law reports or databases of unreported decisions.
This global subject has generated a sizeable literature in all its facets, mostly written in other jurisdictions. A search on any law library catalogue should turn up works on the particular aspect you are researching. Most material on paper relating directly to the New Zealand environment is in the form of seminars and articles, and a search on LINXPlus, LegalTrac, &/or AGIS will be a good way to search, once you have looked at a recent text on the subject.
The following is a somewhat random and idiosyncratic selection. Not surprisingly, one of the seminal journals in this area is JILT (Journal of Information, Law and Technology), now published only online by the Law School of the University of Warwick.
There is vast array of information available online in the international arena. The University of Canterbury Law Library web pages have captured links to some sites that present material and/or directories of material on computer-related legal matters – but this list is by no means exhaustive.
Domainz is a register for .nz domain names.
Electronic Business and Technology Law is available as a looseleaf work, but also forms part of the IT & Telecommunications Law Library within LexisNexis Online.
There are plenty of books on this subject, often written by law librarians, from most jurisdictions. Characteristically, the subject is now treated simply as one aspect of an integrated approach to legal research, rather than a field in its own right, and so is usually covered in a general work on legal research within the jurisdiction under study.
There are 2 topics in the Laws of New Zealand on this subject: Conflict of Laws: Choice of Laws, and Conflict of Laws: Jurisdiction and Foreign Judgments.
For the most part, New Zealand lawyers rely on English texts in this area. Standard texts are:
The New Zealand Law Society runs occasional seminars on this subject; the most recent is:
Conflictz: New Zealand Conflict of Laws is a repository of research on New Zealand conflict of laws and private international law.
For child abduction matters, see below under Family Law.
(see also Competition Law, above)
Another area where there is a raft of legislation; for example:
Relevant topics in the Laws of New Zealand are: Consumer Credit and Hire Purchase and Consumer Protection.
Some recent publications are:
In addition, any basic text on commercial law will contain sections on the various aspects of consumer law.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs is the administering body. Its well-stocked web pages offer advice to both consumers and traders to assist compliance. As well as being a valuable source of information, the site lists all available fact sheets and leaflets on consumer-related topics that may be either ordered or down-loaded off the web pages.
Consumer, a magazine devoted to consumer issues, has a web presence where, although most of the really meaty articles are available for a fee (often only after you have first been tempted half-way into a feature), there is a great deal of useful information available free of charge.
Gault on Commercial Law is part of the Brookers Commercial Law Library within Brookers Online. It offers annotated commercial legislation, including consumer law.
The common law of contract has been much modified in New Zealand by legislation, in particular:
Contract law issues arise in all aspects of legal life, and case law consequently may be found in any report series. Major cases will, of course, appear in the New Zealand Law Reports.
There is a Contracts topic in the Laws of New Zealand.
Standard works are:
Common law aspects of the subject are also covered in such English classics as Chitty on Contracts, 30th ed by H. G. Beale et al. London, Sweet & Maxwell, 2010.
The New Zealand Law Society runs occasional seminars by way of ‘refreshers’ for practitioners; the most recent of these was:
The Supreme Court of New Zealand was established in 2004, replacing the Privy Council as final court of appeal for New Zealand.
There is a topic on Courts in the Laws of New Zealand.
Works on practice and procedure are noted under Civil Procedure (above) and Criminal Procedure (below).
There is a diagram showing the hierarchy of the courts on the home page for the Courts. Information on the history, business, constitutional status, and organisation of New Zealand courts may be found in any recent book on New Zealand legal history, public law, politics, or the legal system.
The Courts home page is a useful site for access to information about the work of the various parts of the courts system, with useful lists of and links to the courts and tribunals under its jurisdiction. It must be remembered that not all tribunals are administered by the Department for Courts; however, there are links to these from this web site. The site also carries information about the work of the courts, together with publications for litigants.
Another helpful source of information about courts, tribunals and the plethora of other decision making bodies with which we are blessed is the web site of the University of Waikato Law Library, where there is a directory of decisions of these bodies. Readers should be aware, however, that not all parts of this directory are always up to date. However, it does function as a comprehensive index to these bodies, and also offers information about where the determinations of the various bodies may be found.
Information about the Employment Court of New Zealand may be found on the Labour Department site. This is a very up to date site, with a lot of topical information. The Employment Law Database allows you to search for Employment Relations Authority (ERA), Employment Court and related jurisdictions since 1976. Determinations of the ERA since 2005 are available to download unless a publication restriction applies. A list of recent cases (with no subject details) is available. A searchable database of Employment Court decisions from 2007 is available on NZLII.
Transcripts of hearings of the Supreme Court (along with summaries of decisions, and the decisions themselves) are all available from the Supreme Court web pages.
The Maori Land Court has its own web site, where the Maori Land Court decisions are available from 2010. Maori Appellate Court decisions are available from 1993.
The Youth Court website contains well arranged information about the Court, and about youth justice in general. There are also three clusters of data designed for young people, for families, and for victims.
New Zealand has codified its criminal law legislation, and the present Crimes Act is based on the Criminal Code Act of 1893, which in turn derives from the Draft Code of the English Criminal Code Bill Commission, published in 1879 – as do the codes of Canada and some Australian States. Case law from these jurisdictions is often significant in New Zealand courts. However, to some extent the code’s effects have been modified by the Bill of Rights Act 1990. The criminal aspect of drug abuse is covered in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.
Crimes Act 1961 - (The Crimes Act is regularly reprinted in a consolidated form by LexisNexis NZ)
There is a topic on Criminal Law in the Laws of New Zealand.
There are 2 looseleaf services offering annotated versions of the Crimes Act; these are:
For a general text on the subject, see: Principles of Criminal Law 3rd ed by A. P. Simester, W. J. Brookbanks. Wellington, Thomson Brookers, 2007, and for drug abuse, see: Misuse of Drugs by Don Mathias. Wellington, Butterworths, 1987. This work is now updated only electronically, or online as part of Thomson Brookers electronic Criminal Law Library.
At the time of writing there is no journal devoted to criminal law published in New Zealand. New Zealand criminal lawyers both use and publish in a variety of specialist journals from other jurisdictions, e.g.:
This list is by no means definitive: others are available on Westlaw, Lexis, Heinonline and elsewhere.
Brookers Criminal Law Library, containing: Adams on Criminal Law, Brookers Law of Transportation, Criminal Cases, Criminal Precedents, Misuse of Drugs, Sentencing Tracker and Summary Proceedings (subscription).
LexisNexis Criminal Library, containing: Abbott & Thompson District Court Practice, Garrow & Turkington’s Criminal Law, and Hall’s Sentencing (subscription).
The New Zealand Police have a good set of web pages focusing on various aspects of police work, including an interesting web space devoted to “e-crime”.
… and a host of other legislation relating to specific aspects of the subject (see the topic in the Laws of New Zealand on Criminal Procedure for details).
There is a topic in the Laws of New Zealand on Criminal Procedure.
In the matter of sentencing, see: Hall’s Sentencing by G. G. Hall and Moira Thompson. Wellington, LexisNexis, 1993 – (looseleaf and online by subscription).
There is information available for court users on these web pages.
See also Brookers and Lexis Criminal Law collections online (see above, under Criminal Law)
Reflecting the reality that e-commerce is now a factor within so many branches of law and commerce, it is not surprising that there is no one topic on this subject in the Laws of New Zealand; rather, it is discussed as it arises under each substantive subject in the Laws.
This is a subject enthusiastically embraced by writers in the legal and commercial fields. A crude search on Te Puna on ‘e-commerce’ retrieves so many hits that the search engine chastises one for searching so clumsily. A sample from New Zealand:
For policy and initiatives, the New Zealand Government’s E-Commerce Information page is a key place to look.
There are numerous foreign online resources on this subject; for getting started, see the University of Canterbury Law Library’s far from comprehensive selection for a guide.
Employment Relations Act 2000
There are also a number of other enactments that affect employment relations, including:
This list is by no means comprehensive.
The Laws of New Zealand has a topic entitled: Employment.
The following New Zealand web sites offer employment related information:
The Department of Labour web site contains information on a broad range of issues relating to employment, including immigration, community development, and research on work. The DOL offers a great service in making available email delivery of its numerous reports, newsletters, and updates from its subscription service, located under Publications.
It is a helpful source of current information about events and initiatives, together with access to publications and official reports and statistics. The DOL also hosts a valuable Employment Relations Service for both employers and employees as part of its suite of online services.
It has a densely packed home page offering links to all conceivable aspects of the employment relationship.
Among other things, the Employment Institutions Information Centre (accessible via the Employment Cast Law link on the LHS of the ERS site), posts weekly lists of recent cases determined in the Employment Court, Employment Tribunals, and the Employment Relations Authority. The lists are simply names of parties, counsel, and date and place of hearing, with no subject information whatever, so they are mainly of interest to lawyers who already know about them.
The web pages of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions provide a handy hub with links to all New Zealand unions, and to related overseas organisations and news.
Business NZ is a “national organisation representing the interests of New Zealand’s business and employing sectors”. The site provides access to media releases, reports, articles, and submissions, with its own slant on the current employment regime.
Employment Today, a journal published by Thomson Brookers, has a site where it offers teasers by way of snippets from articles in recent issues.
Thomson Brookers also publishes Safeguard, a magazine devoted to health and safety issues in employment.
Thomson Brookers offers an integrated online Employment Library that includes:
Accident Compensation Cases, Employment Law, Employment Headnotes, Employment Reports of New Zealand, Personal Injury in New Zealand, Unreported Employment Cases, and the Workplace Safety and Accidents handbook.
LexisNexis (NZ) also has a collection of employment-related material online containing:
Employment Law Bulletin, Mazengarb’s Employment Law, and Personal Grievances.
Access to the International Labour Organisation is available online.
The major piece of legislation in this field is the Resource Management Act 1991 – but this is complemented by numerous other Acts on specific aspects of the environment. These will be spelt out in any standard text on the subject. Examples are:
There is a confusing plethora of departments and authorities and agencies that are charged with various clusters of responsibilities in this area. The following will give you some idea of the complexity of this environment, which is full of overlapping agencies.
The Department of Conservation is charged with the preservation of our natural and historic heritage. You can view its publications, check out places to explore, or download the entire list of walkways.
The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) is charged with the responsibility of controlling the introduction of new plants and animals including genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and new and existing hazardous substances into New Zealand. Its web pages spell out its responsibilities, provide definitions, current awareness, and offer details for compliance. Breaking news from ERMA is available through its RSS feeds.
The Biodiversity site is sponsored by the four main government agencies with statutory roles in managing and conserving New Zealand’s unique biodiversity. It provides information about the international perspective as well as the domestic one. The search engine retrieves documents on your field of interest.
Renewable energy is always a hot topic in New Zealand, and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) site has plenty to say about this and a whole lot more.
Landcare Research is a Crown Research Institute that prides itself on being New Zealand’s foremost environmental research organisation. Its web pages offer access to a rich source of information and research about New Zealand’s natural environment.
Other relevant web sites include the Ministry for the Environment, which offers convenient access to relevant laws and treaties, and information about current events in this area.
The Ministry of Fisheries carries information about its marine biosecurity research programme and is also a very valuable resource of information about the impact of customary fishing in the New Zealand context.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is a position that exists to review the government’s environmental policy. Most of its reports are available online.
The Environment Court site links from the Courts website, and its pages explain the workings of the court.
The Resource Management Law Association of New Zealand is an organisation of legal professionals working in this field.
The New Zealand Centre for Environmental Law at the University of Auckland publishes the New Zealand Journal of Environmental Law. Access to abstracts of Journal archives is available from this site. As well as advertising the journal and its monograph series, the Centre also offers access to an impressive number of national and international environmental law resources.
There is a New Zealand Climate Change website offering information on this subject, including information about government policy and the Kyoto Protocol.
The University of Waikato Law Library has a useful collection of resources and links on its Environmental Law page.
The purpose of Quality Planning (QP) is to “promote best practice in the development of plans under New Zealand’s Resource Management Act (RMA)”. You can browse or search the database on areas of interest, including council contacts and guidance on the planning process.
RMA-NET is “the online source for legal decisions affecting New Zealand’s environment”. It offers the decisions on a subscription or pay-as-you-go basis. There is a generous concession for tertiary institutions that provide qualifications in law or resource management.
Finally, the Te Puna Web Directory is a very good source of links to resources in this subject area.
Brookers Online has two relevant electronic libraries: Environment Library, containing Resource Management, DSL Environmental Handbook and Salmon Environmental Law; and the Fisheries Library, containing Fisheries Law, and Fisheries Cases
As this subject is taught, it is mostly confined to the study of trusts, wills, and the administration of estates, and these subjects have associated legislation. But the equitable jurisdiction is much wider than that, including equitable remedies and other judge-made law that finds its way into most legal subject areas.
There is a topic on Trusts and Wills in the Laws of New Zealand:
English texts are relevant – see, for example:
There is a topic on Evidence in the Laws of New Zealand.
Cross on Evidence is available via Lexisnexis (NZ) Online by subscription
In New Zealand, the branches of this province of the law are legion. A quick glance through the subjects covered in Trapski’s Family Law retrieves something like 20 different aspects of the topic, arranged in 6 bulky looseleaf volumes. The legislative framework is similarly vast. No attempt will be made here to list all these Acts. The reader is strongly advised to start by locating a copy of the latest edition of Family Law in New Zealand to gain an overview of the subject. This will provide some guidance to the legislation.
Some key Acts are:
There is no single topic in the Laws of New Zealand that covers family law. Rather, the divisions are covered separately, as: Children and Young Persons, Family Protection and Other Family Property Arrangements, Husband and Wife, Matrimonial and Relationship Property, and Parent and Child.
There are 2 standard looseleaf services on family law:
Other works include:
The Family Law Section of the New Zealand Law Society is an active association, and its web pages provide not only a communication focus for its members, and a directory of members of the Section, but is also a source of information through the provision of free online copies of articles from The Family Advocate, the members’ quarterly journal.
The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) is New Zealand’s largest government agency, providing policy advice and services to New Zealanders in the area of social development. MSD is comprised of a number of agencies, including Child, Youth and Family, Ministry of Youth Development and Work and Income.
The web pages of Child, Youth and Family give access to news and information about their services, as well as advice and resources to support their vision of safe children, strong families and stronger communities. Other information includes organisation and structure, the legislation administered by the Department, and information about adoption, youth justice and “keeping kids safe”.
The Family Court website is clearly set out, and offers general family law information as well as resources such as legislation, forms, brochures and reports. There is also a collection of recent noteworthy judgments from the Family Court, arranged by subject.
The Ministry of Youth Development is a focal point for numerous activities involving young people, including information about the Youth Parliament, Youth Councils and the like, as well as providing policy and issues papers and other publications on statistics, policy, and a great deal more. Currently topical issues such as youth suicide get extensive cover, and information is provided and feedback sought from the community.
YouthLaw Tino Rangatiratanga Taitamariki is an online community law centre whose core funding comes from the Legal Services Agency with additional support from the ASB and other funders. Among other things, this is a source of free legal advice to young people.
The Youth Court web site contains useful information for youth, family, and victims who may use the court and are unfamiliar with it or with the youth justice system.
The Office of the Children’s Commissioner operates under the Children's Commissioner Act 2003 to “promote the rights, health, welfare, and well-being of children and young people between the ages of 0 and 18 years.” There is assistance for members of the public who wish to make a complaint about alleged mistreatment of children, and an index to publications, some of which are available online. The Office also keeps the community informed about its activities through its pages.
The Families Commission was established under the Families Commission Act 2003. It aims to “speak out for all families to promote a better understanding of family issues and needs among government agencies and the wider community”. The Commission publishes a wide range of research on families.
There is a Family library within LexisNexis (NZ) Online, containing Family Law Service, New Zealand Family Law Reports, Fisher on Matrimonial and Relationship Property, and the New Zealand Family Law Journal.
Brookers Online likewise offer a Family Law Library, containing the Family Reports of New Zealand, and legislation and commentary bundled under broad topics: Adult Relationships, Child Law, Family Procedure, Family Property, Family Cases and Incapacity.
At the time of writing, the only official source of New Zealand legislation is hard copy. The legislation has been published in first pamphlet parts, and then annual volumes since 1854. Details of the publication history of New Zealand legislation may be found in Legal Research and Writing in New Zealand, 3rd ed, by Greville, Davidson & Scragg, Wellington 2007.
There are also two commercial electronic versions of the New Zealand statutes, produced by the two rival publishers LexisNexis (NZ) and Brookers. These offer enormous advantages over the hard copy, which is kept up to date by a curiously quaint and cumbersome method of biannual manual annotation, involving red pencils and lots of glue. Each of the commercial versions offers such advantages as links to related regulations, case law, and commentary within each of the jealously guarded bounds of that publisher’s collection of supporting publications.
It is intended that legislation on the www.legislation.govt.nz website will become an official source of New Zealand legislation in the future. First the Parliamentary Counsel Office needs to officialise the material. Officialised material has been confirmed as being an accurate and authoritative version of legislation. The intention is that officialisation will be completed by 31 December 2012.
The two series of general reports in New Zealand are The New Zealand Law Reports, 1883 – covering the decisions of the superior courts, and The District Court Reports, covering the District Court (formerly the Magistrates Court). The New Zealand Law Reports are authorised by the New Zealand Incorporated Council of Law Reporting, and is published on behalf of the Council by LexisNexis (NZ), who also publish the DCR. Both series are available online.
Free access to legislation (not official) can be found here. The three major legal publishers, LexisNexis (NZ), Thomson Brookers, and CCH (NZ) all offer good online access to their publications by subscription.
Case law is increasingly available on the web pages of the various courts (see under Courts and Tribunals, above). NZLII (on the AUSTLII/WORLDLII model) now offers a single access point for Court of Appeal and Supreme Court decisions. High Court decisions are available from 2005. The High Court web site merely offers access to what are enigmatically named “Judicial Decisions of Public Interest”. There is also a link to Judicial Decisions Online, a searchable database of judgments and decisions from the Supreme Court (all), Court of Appeal (all cases from 2003) and High Court (all cases from 2005).
Since the mid-1980s there have been two indigenous databases of case law digests which evolved out of a need to come to grips with the large number of unreported judgments in circulation, and the perceived slowness of law reporting. These are Briefcase (now a part of the Thomson Brookers suite of electronic resources), and LINX, now available as LINXPlus as part of the LexisNexis (NZ) online suite. Each performs a valuable function at a time when reliable timely access to full text online decisions is still problematic. Both are commercial products, and only available on subscription.
The two best-known publications for general legal current awareness are The Capital Letter, a weekly publication summarising recent noteworthy cases, new legislation, Bills and Regulations, together with a brief review of legal and political affairs, and Butterworths Current Law, a fortnightly publication covering similar ground.
(see also Local Government)
The New Zealand Gazette
This is the official newspaper of the government. Official notices and proclamations are published in the Gazette, as are various species of tertiary legislation – some of which are to be found in no other place. The New Zealand Gazette is available online through the Department of Internal Affairs, with archives back to 2000 (notices back to 1993).
See also the section on Parliament below
See also Chapters 1 and 3 above.
The Laws of New Zealand has topics on Parliament and Elections.
The New Zealand Official Yearbook, prepared by the Register General, 1893 – is a good source of information on facts, figures, and the New Zealand administrative framework. A chapter on Government is included.
The Directory of Official Information, 1983 – (also available online via the Ministry of Justice website) is a treasure chest of information about the agencies of government.
Also helpful are Introduction to New Zealand Government: a guide to finding out about government in New Zealand, its institutions, structures and activities, by J. B. Ringer, and Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand, by David McGee (also available online). The former was published in 1991 and in need of revision.
Government is a great publisher of information. There are annual reports of government departments, directories, statistics, parliamentary and legislative information, media statements, policy statements and information from local authorities, to name but a few. A great deal of this information is now readily available to the public from the web pages of the individual agencies of government.
The Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1859 - is a pivotal source of government information. Up to 2000 these contain annual reports of Government departments, select committee reports, international agreements, treaties, and conventions, reports of Commissions of Enquiry and Royal Commissions. Bound volumes of the AJHR from 2000 consist solely of select committee reports. Other papers previously published under this title are now bound annually under the title Parliamentary Papers.
Such a work as An Introduction to New Zealand Government, by J. B. Ringer (Christchurch, Hazard Press, 1991), although now considerably out of date in some respects, is still a valuable tool for bringing all the myriad activities of government into some sort of rational order for the researcher.
There is a government portal that connects you to central and local government services. There are directories by subject and by the name of the agencies, with links to the services offered. There is also an online government directory available on subscription (it is also available as an annual volume in print). It contains full listings for all government, parliament, and state sector organisations. It is very comprehensive, and is constantly updated throughout the year.
Te Puna (The National Library) has a most useful directory on its pages for government, law and politics. This offers among other things very convenient access to all the web pages of local bodies. You can also use the pages of Local Government New Zealand to locate information of this sort.
Government agencies likely to be of greatest interest to lawyers include, i.a.:
The Crown Law Office. This organisation provides legal advice to the Crown. Further details of its history and function may be found on the website. There is also an archive of previous reports, articles, opinions, and briefing papers.
The Law Commission is government-funded but operates independently to review areas of the law that need reforming or updating. It publishes about 4 series of publications, including preparatory papers that invite public discussion, and also final recommendations to government. These are all conveniently available online, although they may also be purchased in hard copy from the Commission.
The Legal Services Agency is responsible for ensuring equal access to justice for all New Zealanders, and is charged with ensuring that legal aid is applied consistently. Details of its services, along with downloadable documents, are available from their website.
The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade web site carries useful information relating to international relations, travel, trade and economic development. One of its most valuable assets is not immediately apparent from the front page, but a search of the site will turn up MFAT’s Treaty Register (you can find this page under Treaties and International Law by clicking on ‘Treaty Making Process’. On the left hand side you will find the Treaty Register.) This register is not yet publicly available, though work is currently being undertaken to make an electronic version available. There is also a New Zealand Consolidated Treaty List of 1996 only available in print, with a supplement available from 1996 to the present
Information about the electoral system and the election process may also be found online. This is particularly lively at the time of writing, with an election due in November 2011.
The Department of Internal Affairs administers such matters as passports, the register of births, deaths, and marriages, local government and much more. The New Zealand Gazette is also published and available on this well-stocked web site (see above).
For foreign government sites, see Governments on the WWW.
Apart form the usual news sources, which are discussed elsewhere, there are three services in particular that serve this area of interest very well.
The Capital Letter is a paper newsletter that is published weekly. Although its principal value to practitioners has traditionally been the summary of cases, it also contains an editorial by either Jack Hodder or Penny Pepperell: ‘A weekly review of administration, legislation & law’, that discusses some topical matter of interest, and there is also a ‘General Review’ section, containing notes of publications and events in the public sector.
Transtasman is also published weekly, both in paper and online. The online version contains some useful free information. It covers current events in politics, business, financial, and farming. A valuable additional feature is the Australian content, particularly of interest to those with transtasman trading interests or research interests in CER.
Other electronic newsletters on public issues include Inside Wellington, a weekly report on Parliament, legislation and central/regional government policy. This has no central webpage, but is available on subscription from email@example.com.
A number of enactments impact on this area of study. Principal Acts are:
… but many others are indirectly effective in this area.
There are topics on Health, Medical Practitioners, and Mental Health in the Laws of New Zealand.
The Health and Disability Commissioner’s home page - this Office administers the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumer Rights, which is also available online. An archive of the Commissioner’s opinions may be viewed, dating back to 1996, with case notes for 1997, and 2001 – 2003.
There is a Mental Health Commission that offers assistance to consumers of mental health services, and information about the Commission’s work. From this website there is a helpful cluster of links to other organisations whose portfolios intersect with that of the Commission and with health issues in general, including:
· New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (Medsafe) (which contains handy regulatory information);
· The Medical Council of New Zealand, and others.
The Health Research Council of New Zealand is charged with purchasing and co-ordinating health research in New Zealand.
MEDLINEplus is a vast American source of information on health and medical topics. There are also helpful reference tools linked to the front page, including a medical dictionary and encyclopaedia, plus really up to the minute current awareness snippets on hot topics.
Pharmac is the pharmaceutical agency charged with the responsibility to use the available funding to determine best value medicines for New Zealand.
Both LEXIS and Westlaw have sizeable libraries devoted to medicine and the law.
The Laws of New Zealand has a topic on Immigration. It also contains information about refugees.
The New Zealand Immigration web site is a well-organised and clearly set out site, with plenty of information for would-be migrants, as well as for New Zealanders seeking information about policies and implementation. There are links to information on the skilled migrant categories and students, and also to the Operations Manual, all from the home page (RHS).
The Immigration & Protection Tribunal (IPT). is an independent body that hears appeals and applications on residence class visas, deportation and claims to be recognised as a refugee or as a protected person. In November 2010 the IPT replaced the Refugee Status Appeals Authority, the Removal Review Authority, the Residence Review Board and the Deportation Review Tribunal. The websites of these former bodies are still ‘live’ with links to decisions. At the time of writing, IPT decisions are not available on the website.
New Zealand Refugee Law is a website ‘dedicated to New Zealand refugee law. It provides browsable access to the full-text decisions of the Refugee Status Appeals Authority (prior to it been replaced by the IPT – see above), and to relevant decisions of the High Court and Court of Appeal. It also contains the Practice Notes of the RSAA, along with much helpful material for lawyers practising in this area.
The Refugee Resettlement Service, ‘New Zealand’s Refugee Resettlement Agency’, is an incorporated society dedicated to assisting refugee survivors in New Zealand. It contains news and other information about refugee matters, and an outline of a training programme for those who work with refugees.
There is a topic on Insurance in the Laws of New Zealand.
The Office of the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman was established in 1994 to offer an independent and impartial disputes resolution service between complainants and participating insurers in relation to matters involving no more than $200,000. The website offers guidelines for making complaints, and publishes a newsletter, and other publications. The effectiveness of the Office is subject to review by the Retirement Commissioner.
The Earthquake Commission offers such exciting but ominous information as the time and location of the most recent New Zealand earthquake, and some cam-shots of volcanoes, but also provides research papers, information about safeguarding your home, and claims information.
The Insurance and Superannuation Unit (ISU) of the Ministry of Economic Development supervises the management of registered superannuation schemes and ensures insurance companies comply with the statutory obligations under the Life Insurance Act 1908 and Insurance Companies' Deposits Act 1953. The website offers rating schedules, forms and fees, and a selection of related sites in New Zealand and overseas. The web site provides access to newsletters, which in turn provide details about recent decisions.
The Insurance Council of New Zealand represents fire and general insurers in New Zealand. The website contains information for both industry and consumers, and information about fire engineering, along with details of any current issues.
The Investment Savings and Insurance Association (ISI) represents investment and life insurance companies in New Zealand. The website contains information of interest to members and to consumers, including a manual of practice standards and a list of members, with web addresses.
The Intellectual Property Reports, 1983 – (paper, and via LexisNexis Online) although published in Australia, cover cases from a wide range of jurisdictions, including New Zealand. Most important New Zealand cases find their way into the NZLR, and a search in LINXPlus and/or Briefcase will turn up numerous unreported decisions.
For current developments in New Zealand Intellectual Property law, see the website of Andrew Brown QC, co-author of The Law of Intellectual Property in New Zealand. This provides a useful list of recent cases, with summaries, plus notes on recent legislative changes.
There are 5 topics in The Laws of New Zealand, each dealing with a different aspect of the subject: Intellectual Property: Confidential Information, Intellectual Property: Copyright, Intellectual Property: Fair Trading, Intellectual Property: Registered Design, and Intellectual Property: Trade Marks. There are a further two topics on Patents and Inventions.
The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) registers trade marks, patents and designs. You can search the databases of registered trade marks, patents and designs, and also apply to register online.
Patent and trade mark attorneys Pipers website is a treasure chest of useful information, whose scope is much wider than might be imagined. It offers a lively and still developing collection of New Zealand and foreign sites of interest to many sectors besides IP.
For current developments in New Zealand Intellectual Property law, see the website of Andrew Brown QC, co-author of The Law of Intellectual Property in New Zealand. This provides a useful list of recent cases, with summaries, plus notes on recent legislative changes.
The web pages of a leading New Zealand intellectual property law firm offers current information of all kinds relevant to the New Zealand IP scene, including newsletters with both a New Zealand and an international flavour, news, and a cluster of useful links.
James and Wells, patent attorneys, have a well-stocked website, directed at foreigners needing an overview of New Zealand context for this area of law, as well as a lot of news and publications of value to local and foreign readers.
There is growing interest in the progress of The Crown and Flora and Fauna: Legislation, Policies, and Practices 1983 – 1998, or ‘WAI 262’, the research relating to a claim before the Waitangi Tribunal relating to Maori interests in indigenous species, among other things.
The Plant Variety Rights Office is now part of the Intellectual Property Office. The PVR administers the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 under which grants of plant variety rights may be issued to breeders for their new plant varieties. The website contains information and forms.
There is an Intellectual Property section on the ubiquitous Ministry of Economic Development site. The Ministry is responsible for policy relating to the protection of intellectual property. Through IPONZ (see above), the Ministry grants patents and registers trademarks and designs and through the Plant Variety Rights Office (see above), the Ministry grants plant variety rights. This is a site packed with information both for those in the industry and for consumers.
The Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand Inc is mainly of interest to members, although it includes some extracts form its journal Intellectual Property Forum that may be of interest to researchers.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation is the hub for all IP activity on the international stage.
There are around 150 Acts administered by the Ministry of Justice, although some are jointly administered with other agencies. The list is available in the Directory of Official Information.
There are topics in the Laws of New Zealand on Courts, Juries, Legal Services, Police, Prisons & Enforcement of Sentences, and Sentencing.
A keyword search in any law library catalogue on, for example, ‘criminal justice Zealand’ will retrieve a wide range of results, mostly on specific aspects of the subject. The Ministry of Justice is itself a prolific publisher of reports and other information – see below under Online Resources.
The Ministry of Justice web pages are a valuable source of information regarding the work of the ministry and about this sector as a whole. This includes the latest statistics on conviction and sentencing (though you do have to drill down under Publications to find these), much loved by researchers in many disciplines. Consistent with the move to restorative justice, there are reports and information briefs on victims’ rights, under ‘Victims’.
The present Ministry of Justice was formed as of 1 October 2003 from the merger of the former Ministry with the Department for Courts.
The Ministry works collaboratively with the Department of Corrections, which, as one might expect, administers the sentences of people convicted in the courts. It also carries out research on various aspects of the corrections process, including statistics and forecasts, and publishes news, reports and other publications online.
Another government entity with which the Ministry works collaboratively is the New Zealand Police. The Police web pages contain news about crime and police activities, seasonal advice (e.g., traffic tips for the Christmas holiday season), annual reports and statistics.
New Zealand is still a fundamentally agricultural country, and not surprisingly, its lawyers are well supplied with literature on land law matters.
The principal Acts dealing with the main areas of this subject are:
The Laws of New Zealand contains topics on Easements, Land Law, and Landlord and Tenant.
There are four looseleaf services providing for this sector:
Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) is responsible for land and seabed related policy and regulatory matters. It offers policy advice to the government, is responsible for providing core geographical information, administers the Crown’s interest in land, and ensures a secure environment for trading in property. It offers the public (as opposed to legal and real estate professionals, for whom LandOnline is intended, see below) the ability to order online a copy of a land record anywhere in New Zealand.
It is also responsible for customer services relating to land titles and survey plans, and maintains the LandOnline database. “Landonline is the online service for surveyors, lawyers and other land professionals, providing access to New Zealand’s only authoritative database for land title and survey information. It enables land professionals to search, and to lodge title dealings and survey data digitally.”
Terranet is a fee-based information provider specialising in property information, including printable reports and property sales histories. It is part of an international body whose specialties include aerial photography and imagery, photogrammetry, property information, spatial data capture, cartography and data integration solutions.
In the area of property valuation and conveyancing, Quotable Value (QV) offers a fee-based based infobase containing rating valuation, property history, valuation, sales detail and history, and more. QV claims to be New Zealand’s most experienced and capable provider of valuations for rating purposes for local authorities.
There are now a number of commercial online sites advertising properties for sale, with some offering virtual tours of properties. Examples are:
The Maori Land Court (Te Kooti Whenua Maori) is administered by the Department for Courts and hears matters relating to Maori land. All relevant Acts and regulations are listed on the website, with links to copies on www.legislation.govt.nz. Contact details about the various registries of the Court are available.
Maori Land Online is a very useful website that brings together Maori land information held by the Maori Land Court and Land Information New Zealand.
The Property Law Section of the NZLS provides information for members in a secure section of the website, and for the public, such as a list of property lawyers, and some dos and don’ts about buying and selling property.
LexisNexis Online offers a Property Law Library that contains Hinde, McMorland & Sim Land Law in New Zealand and Butterworths Conveyancing Bulletin (subscription)
Brookers Online offers the electronic version of Brookers Land Law as an integrated part of its Property, Trusts, and Succession Library (subscription)
CCH online offers access to its property and conveyancing library, which contains the electronic equivalent of the New Zealand Conveyancing Law and Practice as well as the New Zealand Conveyancing Cases 1989 - and an archive of the Bulletins that accompany the updates to the looseleaf service (subscription).
The relevant topic in the Laws of New Zealand is Law Practitioners.
Regulation of New Zealand lawyers is governed by the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 and the regulations and rules made under that Act. There are three sets of rules:
Regulatory Law is a UK web journal for lawyers involved in regulation, professional conduct, and disciplinary proceedings.
The rules for practitioners in the Australian states can be found on the web pages of the various law societies; for example, the Solicitors’ Rules that pertain to NSW may be found through the pages of the Law Society of New South Wales.
(see also: Legal Ethics, above)
New Zealand Law Society - Foreign lawyers hoping to practice in New Zealand will find helpful information here.
Auckland District Law Society - helpful links to all the committees (e.g., Criminal Law, Property and Business law, Public Issues etc) of the ADLS, with contact details of the members. This is an active, interesting, up to date site, with a great deal of useful information for lawyers and the public in search of lawyers.
Law Firm websites are used in a variety of ways. First, they offer a law firm a visible presence on the web, with a hint of the flavour of the firm, an overview of services and specialities, and contact details. Secondly, many provide teasers by way of access to their client newsletters, offering a taste of the scholarship and legal know-how of the firm. Often, these will be the first off the rank in the wake of a new piece of legislation or a ground-breaking case, so they are worth keeping an eye on. Thirdly, many firms provide a recruitment section, giving an overview of the firm and its areas of practice, and sometimes providing information about how to apply to join them. Fourthly, some firm websites include a secure intranet area that is accessible only to clients, where documents and other information can be shared.
There is a far from comprehensive list of links to New Zealand law firms here that will provide examples of these attributes.
The New Zealand Law Society and Auckland District Law Society websites offer a facility for finding a lawyer; in the case of Auckland, you can choose to make your search across the whole of New Zealand, or limit it to Auckland.
(See also above under General Legal Information)
See also below, under: Online Resources.
There is a Statutes topic in The Laws of New Zealand
See above under General Legal Information. An unofficial version of current consolidated legislation as well as Statutory Regulations and Bills is available.
Hansard (the New Zealand Parliamentary Debates) is available from the web pages of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, along with such related documents as Select Committee Reports, Order Papers and Parliamentary Questions.
Up to date news about happenings in, around, and very loosely about Parliament may be picked up from Scoop.
The main pieces of legislation are:
There are numerous other Acts impacting on this area of practice, as the table of statutes in a relevant text or online library will attest.
Local Government is the topic in the Laws of New Zealand dealing with this subject.
Local Government Online (LGOL) was established in September 1997 under a joint initiative of the Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM) and the Association of Local Government Information Management (ALGIM). Owned jointly by SOLGM & ALGIM, the website offers Internet related services to the local government sector. Under Resource Library > Governance is a page of links to (rather random) local government related legal resources, some free, but mostly subscription or pay as you go. One link is to “Newsletter (3): Local Government Act 2002 & Local Government (Rating) Act 2002, and this useful document actually hangs off the website of the Department of Internal Affairs:
The Department of Internal Affairs website is home to the Local Government Commissions web presence, where there are gathered a series of determinations and reports of the Commission along with media releases.
There is also a really good web directory accessible through the Te Puna Web Directory. This includes directories to websites of all regional, city and district councils.
There is a Local Government library within Brookers Online, containing commentary on the Local Government Act, as well as the older related annotated 1974 legislation known as McVeagh. This library also contains the database of Brookers Local Government Cases.
LexisNexis Local Government, is a looseleaf service which is also available on LexisNexis Online.
The Laws of New Zealand contains topics on Carriers, and Ports and Harbours, and there are numerous sections of other topics that deal with related matters – eg, marine insurance within the Insurance topic etc.
The objective of the Maritime Law Association of Australia and New Zealand is to “advance reforms in maritime law and facilitate justice in its administration”. Among other things, there is a useful archive of newsletters and journal articles, and also past conference papers.
The Maritime Safety Authority is a Crown entity. It contains a very helpful cluster of Acts, Regulations, and Rules that operate in this area, as well as a great deal of helpful information for and about the industry.
Paul Myburgh, a lecturer in maritime law at the Faculty of Law, University of Auckland, maintains a New Zealand Maritime Law web site. The site contains maritime law cases, legislation and links to other sites of interest. Paul also offers a free email New Zealand Maritime Law updating service.
The principal Acts are:
Other legislation and regulations impact on particular aspects of this broad subject – see the Table of Statutes in Burrows, below.
The Laws of New Zealand has a topic on Censorship and another on Media and Communication.
The Ministry of Economic Development has a site on Information and Communications Technology.
Decisions and rulings of the following bodies may be found on their websites:
These govern the conduct of proceedings in the House and also contain rules for the exercise of the powers possessed by the House. They are reviewed by the Standing Orders Committee.
New Zealand Parliamentary Debates (‘Hansard’)
As one would expect, these record the debates that take place according to Standing Orders during the passage of a Bill through Parliament.
Journal of the House of Representatives
This is the official record of the activities of the House, outlining the business of the day.
Appendix to the Journal of the House of Representatives(AJHR)
Pre-2000, this consisted of a huge number of documents that Parliament ordered to be printed from among the larger number of papers that are tabled in Parliament. They are known as Parliamentary Papers, and were published separately, posted on the Clerk’s web pages, and finally bound following the end of the life of each Parliament. They included annual reports of government departments, select committee reports, reports of Royal Commissions and Committees of Enquiry, the Budget, and much more. Since 2000, the bound volumes of the AJHR consist solely of select committee reports and other papers directly related to Parliament. All other papers previously published under this title are now published under Parliamentary Papers.
These are prepared by the Clerk of the House, and set out the agenda for the House each day.
Supplementary Order Papers
These advise on proposed amendments to Bills before the House. They supplement the Explanatory Note on the face of the first version of the Bill.
New Zealand Parliament Bills
This is the form in which proposed legislation is introduced into Parliament.
New Zealand Statutes
Statutes, or Acts, are the final form of the Bill after it has been passed by Parliament and received the assent of the Governor General.
There is a topic on Parliament in the Laws of New Zealand.
The standard work on this subject in New Zealand is Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand, 3d ed, by David McGee. Wellington, GP Publications, 2005. This is also available online.
The bible for Westminster-style Parliaments remains Erskine May: Erskine May’s Treatise on the law, privileges, proceedings, and usage of Parliament, 23rd ed by Sir William McKay. London, Butterworths, 2004.
Constitutional and Administrative Law in New Zealand, 3rd ed, by Philip A Joseph. Wellington, Brookers, 2007
New Zealand’s parliamentary website is http://www.parliament.nz/. It is a valuable source of information about the offices, personnel, activities, and publications of Parliament, all accessible from the links on the front page. A banner lets you know if Parliament is sitting on this day.
1. About our Parliament provides a good overview about how Parliament works, the history of Parliament and its buildings, visiting Parliament and other general details
2. Under Parliamentary Business is detail about when the House sits, the Order Paper for the day, and information about the work of select committees. There is also a link to the full text select committee reports.
3. MPs, parties and electorates contains information about the political parties represented in the current Parliament, the members of Parliament and profiles of the seven Māori electorates and 63 general electorates in New Zealand.
4. Parliamentary Support is where you can find out about the Office of the Speaker, the Office of the Clerk, Parliamentary Service and other agencies supporting Parliament.
The Laws of New Zealand has a topic on Partnership and Joint Venture.
The relevant topic in the Laws of New Zealand is Accident Compensation.
The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) is a Crown organisation, providing comprehensive, no-fault personal injury cover for all New Zealand residents and visitors to New Zealand. There is plenty of information about injury prevention, how to make a claim, and a helpful potted summary of the history of the legislation. New Zealand Accident Compensation Appeals decisions are available on NZLII from 2000.
The Employment Library in Brookers Online contains both Personal Injury in New Zealand (an electronic version of the looseleaf service with the same title) and the Accident Compensation Cases.
The Personal Property Securities Act 1999 has displaced an earlier regime referred to first in the 1970s (and frequently thereafter) as a ‘quagmire’ by replacing the Chattels Transfer Act 1924, the charging rules of the Companies Act 1955, and the Motor Vehicle Securities Act 1989.
The Laws of New Zealand has topics on Personal Property and Personal Property Securities.
A general work on personal property is: Garrow and Fenton’s Law of Personal Property in New Zealand, 7th ed by R. T. Fenton. Wellington, Butterworths, 2010.
Books specifically dealing with the new regime are:
The Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) is hosted on the Ministry of Economic Development web site. Among other things, this page links to a list of publications on the regime. The PPSR site itself is at http://www.ppsr.govt.nz/. It is necessary to register as a user before searching the register, and there is a charge, as there is in the parallel companies regime.
(see also Rights and Freedoms, below)
It is difficult to single out particular Acts that apply in this area, because of its breadth. A very tentative selection, far from comprehensive, follows:
The Laws of New Zealand has topics on: Citizenship and Nationality, Crown Proceedings and Crown Practice, Discrimination, Elections, Human Rights, Riots, Breach of Peace and Unlawful Assembly, and State Sector.
Chen Palmer is a law firm specialising in public law. Under ‘News’ you can find a number of transcripts of interviews, presentations and articles on public law matters.
Sir Kenneth Keith’s Cabinet Manual on the Constitution of New Zealand: an Introduction to the Foundations of the Current Form of Government, 1990, updated in 2008, is a handy introduction to this area of the subject.
There is considerable convoluted and intestinal intersection and interaction between the effects of the first two Acts above. This is succinctly commented on in The New Zealand Bill of Rights, by Paul Rishworth et al. If one were crudely to distinguish between the workings of the two with a hatchet in hand rather than delicately with a scalpel, one might boldly declare that the Bill of Rights is perhaps more to be seen in action in the arena of criminal procedure, while the Human Rights Act is more evident in everyday matters of discrimination, and perhaps especially in the workplace. The Bill of Rights was enacted to affirm New Zealand’s commitment to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The stated purpose in the long title of the Human Rights Act is broader, it is: “to provide better protection of human rights in New Zealand in general accordance with United Nations Covenants or Covenants on Human Rights”.
The Laws of New Zealand has topics on Discrimination and Human Rights.
The Human Rights Commission website contains much topical news and educative material. It offers access to the archive of all the Case Notes of the Commission. Before 2000, the HRC had legal authority to form an opinion as to whether there had been a breach of the Act. That is no longer the case. Case notes are no longer published; instead the Commission focuses more on providing a disputes resolution process, and providing educative material. The Human Rights Review Tribunal has heard cases under the Human Rights Act since 2001. There is a helpful flow-chart on these pages giving an overview of the dispute resolution process. There are links to websites containing related material from national and international organisations, including the texts of the international covenants given effect in our legislation.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner maintains a website where codes of practice, case notes, and articles, media reports and other information are collected. Archives of the Case Notes and Private Word can be browsed.
In the international arena, a great deal of primary and secondary information is available on the UN Human Rights pages.
Income Tax Act 2007
Goods and Services Act 1985
Tax Administration Act 1994
Taxation Review Authorities Act 1994.
CCH publishes annual compilations of tax legislation
New Zealand Tax Cases
Taxation Review Authority
The Laws of New Zealand has a topic on Taxation.
On taxation matters, the first port of call must be the Department of Inland Revenue (IRD). There is a great deal of free information on these web pages for the ordinary taxpayer as well as for lawyers and accountants. There are also links to taxation authorities in other jurisdictions. There is a whole list of free subscription material you can sign up for on assorted aspects of the taxation regime.
CCH provides a series of online services, some free and some fee-based, on the subjects where is has a publishing presence in the market. In the tax area, CCH have a blog about tax-related information. You can receive alerts via RSS or email. On a subscription basis you can gain access to a full range of taxation legislation, case law (from New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, and Canada), and commentary, reflecting the text of New Zealand Income Tax Law and Practice, New Zealand Tax Cases, and the Master Tax Guide.
Brookers Tax Service is available online by subscription.
While much of the law of torts remains a creature of the common law, the legislature has nibbled away at the rougher edges somewhat. Personal injury in New Zealand is now governed by the Accident Compensation Act 2001 (see above, under Personal Injury).
… are but a few in this area; the table of statutes in The Law of Torts in New Zealand, 5th ed, by Todd et al runs to some 20 pages.
There is a Tort topic in the Laws of New Zealand.
The Ministry of Transport pages offer information about the work of the Ministry - largely policy development and advice to the government.
The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is concerned with driver licensing, road safety, road planning, management and funding and provides a great deal of useful information on traffic-related matters to the public. You can also access the New Zealand Road Code online from this site. NZTA also manages the Motor Vehicle Registry.
The Police are responsible for enforcement matters, and the Police web pages have further traffic safety information.
Brookers Law of Transportation is available via Thomson Brookers Online, as part of the Criminal Law Library, where it is hyper-linked to cases in the Criminal Reports of New Zealand.
Transport Law is similarly available online via LexisNexis Online.
The Laws of New Zealand has a topic on Wills.
Many law firms offer a free will-making service as part of a package for clients, and some make this offer online. The Public Trust offers a free will-making service online, from the Wills Online link from the Public Trust home page.
Brookers Online offers a library on Property, Trusts and Succession.
There are really three strands to this area of research; the study and activities of women lawyers, the study of women in general as they are affected by the justice system, and the discipline of feminist jurisprudence. The strands are often entwined in the literature.
A subject keyword search on Te Puna using: ‘women law zealand’ brings up around 50 hits of interestingly varied material; a simple keyword relevance search on the same cluster of terms turns up over 1000 hits, indicating that much material on this subject is buried in the contents of more general works. However, some works may provide useful starting points:
Without Prejudice: Women in the Law, by Gill Gatfield. Wellington, Brookers, 1996 offers an historical study of the subject.
The Law Commission has published a number of Reports and Miscellaneous Papers in the wider area of women and justice during the 1990s.
There have also been New Zealand Law Society and Judicial Seminars on gender equity and women in and/or affected by the justice system.
The New Zealand Law Society has a Women’s Consultative Group. There are at least five regional groups of women lawyers. There are: the Auckland Women Lawyers Association, the Wellington Women Lawyers Association, and the Women in Law Committee of the WDLS, Canterbury Women’s Legal Association, Otago Women Lawyers Society and Te Hunga Roia o Aotearoa.
The website of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs offers factual and statistical information, the most recent CEDAW Report (2010) on the status of women in New Zealand, and a Directory of Women’s Organisations in New Zealand. Among publications online are various reports, briefing papers, an archive of Panui, the Newsletter of the Ministry, and information of particular interest to Maori women.