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Law Commission Annual Report tabled

12 October 2006 Media Statement

Law Commission Annual Report tabled, work programme details released

Minister Responsible for the Law Commission Mark Burton welcomed the tabling in Parliament today of the Law Commission’s Annual Report for the 2005/2006 financial year, and released information about other activities relating to the Law Commission's work.

The Law Commission carries out projects that look at ways to both modernise and simplify aspects of the law. New projects included on the Law Commission’s work programme include:

- Improving the accessibility of New Zealand statute law;
- Review of privacy values, technology change, and international trends;
- Reviewing the law relating to public inquiries;
- Review of seditious offences; and
- Development of a comprehensive Criminal Procedure Act.

"The Law Commission provides independent expert review of important legal issues, which help to keep New Zealand’s legal framework up to date, particularly in areas affected by technological developments or societal changes," Mark Burton said.

"A number of the Law Commission’s projects will complement work that is already being undertaken by the Government. For example, a number of technical and operational changes to the Privacy Act are currently being worked on, while the Law Commission's broader review of privacy values, technology change, and international trends is timely and will have a long-term focus.

"After thirteen years, we want to ensure that the Privacy Act remains responsive to New Zealand's values and continues to maintain an appropriate balance between individual privacy and broader social interests in information flows."

As part of the Effective Interventions in criminal justice package announced in August, the Government has also asked the Law Commission to assist with the establishment of a Sentencing Council to develop sentencing guidelines for judges.

The Law Commission will also provide research and advisory support to a new interagency committee that has been established to advise departments on the legislative options for significant proposals.

The Legislation Design Committee is made up of senior officials from several government agencies and will provide high-level advice on the framework and design of legislation at an early stage of its development.

"Departments are often tasked with finding solutions to complicated issues where there may be a number of possible approaches. The Legislation Design Committee will help to ensure that the best legislative solution is chosen."

Past reports of the Law Commission have contributed to improving the law in many areas, as well as building awareness and knowledge of complex issues. Three previous reports have recently resulted in bills that are now being progressed through the parliamentary process.

"The Law Commission’s approach allows for in depth consideration of issues; and engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, ensuring that different perspectives are taken into account," Mark Burton said.

"I look forward to continuing to work with the Law Commission to ensure that law reform in New Zealand is of the highest quality."

The Law Commission's Annual Report can be found at: www.lawcom.govt.nz


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