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Liability of Public Authorities

NZ $50.00
Andrew Butler Dr Geoff McLay
Dr Andrew Butler
Crown Counsel
Crown Law Office
Geoff McLay
Senior Lecturer in Law
Victoria University of Wellington

This book is only available in PDF format 
Published: 21 June, 2004
Pages: 186


The focus of this booklet is about monetary claims against public authorities. It will discuss claims that might be brought against the central government, often referred to as the Crown, specific government departments for example the police and the Department of Social Welfare, local bodies and the vast variety of bodies that are involved in delivering services on behalf of the community. The claims it deals with are generally those which sound in tort, under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (Baigent’s case), and the general approach to liability under general statutes. It does not deal with the Crown’s or other public authorities’ liability in contract. The subject matter of this booklet ranges though runs across the whole gamut of government actions including:

  • “Classic human rights” cases in which police are sued for false imprisonment of a suspect whom they believed they had the authority to arrest, but they had somehow misused the authority meaning that the arrest was not lawful.
  • Negligence claims against the government bodies and possible limitations on what has often seemed like limitless liability.
  • Claims against providers of public services based on the land based torts.
  • More negligence claims against the Department of Social Welfare for abuse perpetrated by foster parents with whom the children had been entrusted.
  • The liability of regulatory officers whose lawful authority has been questioned both in terms of traditional administrative law but also in terms of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.
  • The potential liability of law enforcement agencies which fail to properly investigate allegations made against their own officers, or who fail because of their negligence to prevents crimes occurring to others.

Not only is the subject matter topical but it is important background for any lawyer in advising clients whose actions are affected by public authorities, which pretty much means all clients.


Author(s): Dr Andrew Butler, Geoff McLay

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Litigating against the Crown

Publication Date: 22-Apr-2010

Author(s): Justice Terence Arnold, Andrew Butler, Cheryl Gwyn, Jack Hodder SC, Professor Paul Rishworth, Mary Scholtens KC

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Liability of Public Authorities

Publication Date: 15-Jun-2009

Author(s): Chris Curran, Dean Knight, Dr Geoff McLay

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