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Accountants Urge Retention of Privy Council Link

For immediate release : 11 October 2001

CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS URGE RETENTION OF PRIVY COUNCIL LINK

The Institute of Chartered Accountants is urging the Government to reconsider its position on abolishing appeal rights to the Privy Council. "We believe it would be difficult, if not impossible, to replicate the high quality of decisions made by the Privy Council," Institute President Owen Williams said today.

"Access to the Privy Council allows judicial decisions in this country to be considered against international law and best practice by the top legal minds in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

Mr Williams said other key arguments in favour of retaining the Privy Council as the country's ultimate court of appeal were that it was removed from local influence and issues and that it did not cost the New Zealand taxpayer a cent to run.

He said the Institute did not believe the New Zealand Supreme Court concept now being proposed by the Government, or any of the other reform options that were considered, offered the advantages of the existing system.

"It is particularly concerning to us that the Government has not consulted on the Supreme Court option, yet proposes to form an advisory group to develop the concept. That's not satisfactory.

"Where a government is proposing a major upheaval in our justice system, we would expect it to proceed cautiously, taking due heed of the concerns of the users of the system. Certainly, we would expect it to act in the spirit of genuine consultation.

"We hope the Government may yet think again. The benefits New Zealand currently enjoys through its link to the Privy Council should not be lightly abandoned."

..... ends

For further information, contact:

David Pickens Manager - Advocacy Institute of Chartered Accountants of New Zealand Ph: (04) 474 7875 (DDI)

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