SITE MISSION

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.

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.

The public have been told that despite the Court of Appeal judges being found culpable for these due process breaches being the first appointees to the new Supreme Court, the abuses have ceased and the process is more transparent.  It is true that New Zealand Supreme Court judgments are available on-line, as are the hearing transcripts.   But it is also true there are a number of recalls sought against curt dismissals on the basis legal submissions are overlooked or ignored.  The most famous of these is the 2010 case of Saxmere v Disco, which required two recall applications to the Supreme Court before the bench would concede a fellow Supreme Court judge (Bill Wilson) presided where he had a financial conflict with counsel when on the Court of Appeal.

Justice Bill Wilson eventually resigned in this scandal which former President of the Bar James Farmer had privately appealed to Sir Ed Thomas to keep secret, stating “if this matter is probed, it will be likely to bring down Sian (the Chief Justice) as well as Bill.”  The matter was never probed.  It is widely accepted the second recall was successful only because the story had become big news by that stage.  The Supreme Court judgments had repeatedly not addressed the evidence until that evidence became public.

By newzealandsupremecourt.co.nz providing the submissions behind the judgments, lawyers from New Zealand and around the Commonwealth can get a deeper view into the official workings of these five judges – and the registrars.  As Supreme Court Justice John McGrath said in his 2012 submissions to Parliament where he claimed to speak for ALL the judges in New Zealand in opposing the Register of Pecuniary Interests of Judges Bill on the basis the judicial process in New Zealand was already transparent, “The openness of the judicial process reduces the prospect of misconduct  and of it going unremarked and unchecked. ‘Sunshine is the best disinfectant’.”

We agree with the sunshine part.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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.
#

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.
#

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.