“Fruit of the poisonous tree”? Remedying NZBORA breaches

Relying on courts’ obligation to give effect to NZBORA under its s 3, the Supreme Court held the exclusionary remedy could be said to have arisen “under” NZBORA

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As evidence obtained by arguable police impropriety again hits the headlines (police use breath-testing checkpoint to obtain information on attendees at an Exit International euthanasia meeting), the Supreme Court has explained the Evidence Act 2006’s fundamental principle – all relevant evidence is admissible unless inadmissible or excluded “under” any statute – permits exclusion of such evidence in civil proceedings, if necessary to remedy New Zealand Bill of Rights Act impropriety. Continue reading ““Fruit of the poisonous tree”? Remedying NZBORA breaches”

Judicial review

Going beyond its “proper sphere”?

A shifting majority (a ‘mobile plurality’?) of Supreme Court judges enabled both sides to claim some success in Ririnui v Landcorp Farming Ltd [2016] NZSC 62 (9/6/16), and enhanced the scope for judicial review of the Crown’s commercial and policy decisions, at least where vitiated by material errors, as unlawful exercises of public power. Continue reading “Judicial review”

Consumer protection and the rule of law

“… a citizen, before committing himself to any course of action, should be able to know in advance what are the legal consequences that will flow from it”

None should think the Supreme Court’s dismissal last week, of credit providers’ appeals against findings their fees were unreasonable, is a ringing endorsement of the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003’s (CCCFA) regulation of credit and default fees charged by financiers to consumers under consumer credit contracts. Continue reading “Consumer protection and the rule of law”

Vexing litigants – can courts do this?

The Supreme Court this week directed its Registrar to refuse to accept any applications challenging specified Court of Appeal and Supreme Court decisions, including any challenging that refusal. How far may courts go in regulating abuse of their processes? Does the contemporary rise of persistent litigants justify their outright prohibition?

In Creser v Creser [2016] NZSC 34, Mr Creser filed a third recall application consequent on dismissals of each his application for leave to appeal against a Court of Appeal judgment, and his two subsequent recall applications. Finding Mr Creser’s conduct to be an abuse of process, the Supreme Court directed its Registrar to refuse to accept any applications involving challenges to those decisions, its present judgment, and “any future decision of the Registrar refusing to accept such applications”. Continue reading “Vexing litigants – can courts do this?”

Hotchin v NZGT: own goals for litigator and litigation?

Contribution is available to a defendant from another liable for the same damage alone, without any requirement that liability arises from some obligation had in common with the defendant.

Background: judgments below require ‘coordinate liability’

In Hotchin v The New Zealand Guardian Trust Company Limited [2016] NZSC 24, Mr Hotchin had sought NZGT’s contribution to any liability he may have under compensation claims brought by the FMA against him as a director of the Hanover Group. Section 17(1)(c) of the Law Reform Act 1936 permits one tortfeasor to obtain a contribution to its liability from another “liable in respect of the same damage”. Continue reading “Hotchin v NZGT: own goals for litigator and litigation?”

Waiting on the Supremes

Will forthcoming judgments restate or extend legal understanding?

There is a number of reserved Supreme Court judgments, possibly occupying the judges over their summer vacation, with material interest for commercial and public lawyers. Unsurprisingly, many such final appeals seek to expand on settled legal comprehension. Given certainty’s value in law, such expansions should only be because the informing doctrines have themselves advanced, rather than they may operate harshly in the appellants’ individual circumstances. Similarly, statutory interpretation turns on identifying the will of Parliament, distinctly from regulators’ preferences for enforcement. Whether those concepts will be applied here awaits these judgments. Continue reading “Waiting on the Supremes”

Supreme Court allows limited protection of digital data

The Supreme Court has this week made a small dent in the proposition, upheld by the Courts of Appeal in New Zealand and England last year, that digital data is not property for the purposes of the law.

The Supreme Court held digital data is property for the purposes of the criminal law.  But civil reliance on property rights will not suffice to protect electronic information – at least for now. Continue reading “Supreme Court allows limited protection of digital data”