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Changes to Court Legislation

NZ $45.00
Andrew Beck 2017 Allison Ferguson 2017
Andrew Beck
Allison Ferguson
Partner, Wilson Harle

This book is only available in PDF format

Authors:  Andrew Beck, Allison Ferguson
Published: 29 June 2017


The legislation governing the New Zealand courts has tended to be very static. The Judicature Act 1908 has provided the constitutional framework for the High Court for more than a century. The provisions governing the Court of Appeal were incorporated into the Judicature Act in 1914 and were revised with the creation of the permanent Court of Appeal in 1955.

While there have been amendments over the years, the substance of the legislation has remained essentially unchanged. What was perhaps the most important innovation – the expression of the powers of judicial review in the Judicature Amendment Act 1972 – was never incorporated into the body of the Act, but remained as a standalone statute.

The Supreme Court was created by the Supreme Court Act 2003. As the Act created a new court taking the place of the Privy Council as the final appellate court for New Zealand it was obviously a constitutional milestone involving a substantial departure from previous legislation. Possibly for this reason, a separate Act was introduced instead of an amendment to the Judicature Act.

The primary court of general jurisdiction is the District Court – although its jurisdiction is restricted by subject matter and the amount in dispute. The District Courts Act 1947 replaced the Magistrates Courts Act 1928, and this legislation has also been slow to change. The main changes over the years have been incremental increases in jurisdiction.

Content outline

  • Status of the High Court rules
  • Transitional arrangements
  • Appeal rights under the new regime
  • Restraint of civil proceedings
  • Electronic Courts and Tribunals Act 2016
  • Interest on Money Claims Act 2016
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