Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Unauthorised Operations Of New Legal Agency

Court Of Appeal Tangled In Unauthorised Operations Of New Legal Agency

Thursday 1st Feb 2001 Stephen Franks Media Release -- Justice

The new Legal Services Agency from today takes over deciding on criminals’ legal aid applications for appeals to the Court of Appeal. But the agency will not have proper authority due to Government bungling, ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks revealed today. "It will be embarrassing for the Court of Appeal to be involved in trying to work around the mistakes.

"It is a complex issue, but it seems clear that until the new law is further amended, the new agency can only deal with these applications outside the law – which is surely not a good example.

“The bungle now exposed arises because the Government expected its Criminal Appeals Bill to be rushed through and in place before February 1. In reality it is likely to be at least another month before this bill can be passed into law. Without the bill, and further fixes to it, the new Legal Services Agency has to operate without power to get the Court files and other details they need to decide on legal aid applications. It may seem just funny, but they probably also lack the power to prescribe the application forms required by the Act.

“These problems may not seem serious to the Agency, because it will probably reach a practical interim arrangement for the Courts to give the files informally. But the bungle will further embarrass the Court of Appeal. The Criminal Appeal Amendment proposes to validate retrospectively some 2,000 appeals which the Court Of Appeal handled wrongly. Now a bungle on bungle means it will have to bodge together some kind of further unauthorised procedure to try to let the Agency process fresh applications.

“The Court of Appeal Judges were scathing about Parliament last year, condemning alleged retrospectivity in limiting parole for home invasion criminals, so they must be deeply embarrassed about now needing retrospectivity to fix problems in their own backyard. If the Legal Services Act and the Criminal Appeal Bill had been properly conceived they might have slid through smoothly, without drawing further attention to what looks like hypocrisy, or inconsistency at best, involving retrospective law changes and the Court of Appeal. Instead the changes have drawn strong opposition from the Law Society and others.

“Exposure of the bungling comes at a bad time for the Government. It is trying to persuade people here and overseas that New Zealand’s commitment to the rule of law, and impartial independent and high quality justice will not be compromised by cutting off appeals to the Privy Council. New Zealand lawyers left for London yesterday for Privy Council appeals on just these issues. Sadly they make our Court of Appeal look careless at best about some pretty basic rights – the rights to be heard, and to expect the Courts to respect the law scrupulously and to be consistent about retrospectivity," Stephen Franks said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>


More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news