OFF RECORD RULINGS

The New Zealand Supreme Court is increasingly issuing secret judgments through various means, including via private emails from the court administrator, dated refusals on the covers of the applications filed and handwritten refusals on the internal court files.

Generally these refusals are in respect to unrepresented litigants, elementary decisions on jurisdiction or discretionary impediments to court access such as security for costs.  In addition to commonly not being recorded, internal file numbers are often not assigned.

This site will aim to report these secret rulings where they can be exposed.

The Supreme Court is aware of this objective.  Because it cannot undue the secret judgments made to date, it recently sought to mollify public discontent through obiter comment in its dismissal of leave to appeal in Siemer v New Zealand Court of Appeal [2014] NZSC 69, by validating such practices on the false premise the Rules of Court are indefinite as to the form public court judgments must take, stating; “there is no prescribed method for the delivery of interlocutory orders which can be, and often are, noted in handwriting on the filed.”

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Why This Site is Necessary

The New Zealand Supreme Court was established by statute only in 2003. It replaced the Privy Council in England as New Zealand's highest court.
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Two years before its establishment, the New Zealand Court of Appeal was found by the Privy Council in Taito v Q [2002] UKPC 15 to have engaged in systemic abuses of due process by dismissing as many as 1,500 appeals on an ex-parte basis over the previous 10 years, sometimes on the signature of a court registrar - dismissals often given only in handwritten notations on the court file.
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The public have been told these abuses have ceased despite the Court of Appeal judges found culpable for these due process breaches being the first appointees to the new Supreme Court. Only by seeing the public court records which these judges have been hiding will we truly know.