NZ supreme court

On thefirst of January 2004 New Zealand introduced a new court system, establishing a Wellington based Supreme Court to replace the London based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The new court will stand as the final appellate court in the New Zealand judicial system, with its own judges and separate premises, sitting above the Court of Appeal. Arguments for and against the retention of appeals to the Privy Council have been well highlighted by the New Zealand media. They have raised important questions about whether the new system of appeals in New Zealand should have been put in place, and since its introduction how will it be structured and run, now that the link to the Privy Council has been abolished. I will elaborate on these arguments and perceptions comparing the different positions people have taken, and discuss how the system will work and what sections of the new court could be structured better in the opinion of the references used.

Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, as the head of the New Zealand judiciary, heads the court and will normally be the presiding judge. There have been four other permanent judges, also appointed from within the New Zealand judiciary, Justices Thomas Gault, Sir Kenneth Keith, Peter Blanchard and Andrew Tipping. The selection and appointment of the judges has fuelled a debate about the risk of appointments to the Supreme Court being politically influenced. The perception is that the judges through the Courts work could inflict the perspective of the present Labour government, whereas it is common knowledge that there have been no political problems with New Zealand citizens appealing to the Privy Council.

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These accusations are well deserved because when looking into the newly appointed Judges history it is revealed that two of the five are de facto supporters of Labour's social democratic platform. Dame Sian Elias has worked for many years as an advocate in the Maori grievance indus…


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