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The Evidence Act was passed by Parliament today.

The Evidence Act was passed by Parliament today.

The new legislation brings together common law and various statutes relating to evidence into one comprehensive Act.

"The Evidence Act will have a significant and positive impact on how the courts operate as it brings greater clarity to the way in which information is offered in court as evidence," Justice Minister Mark Burton said.

"The fundamental principle of this Act is that all relevant evidence is admissible unless there is a good reason to exclude it. This will lead to a reduction in the delays in proceedings caused by legal argument over whether certain documents or statements should be admitted," Mark Burton said.

The Evidence Act implements many of the recommendations of the Law Commission, which spent ten years researching and consulting on the law before reporting to government.

"The Act reflects current developments in evidence law and takes into account fundamental changes in some areas. It also clarifies the existing law by removing ambiguities and inconsistencies," Mark Burton said.

"I would like to thank the Law Commission, the legal profession and submitters interested in evidence law for their contribution to this legislation. I would also acknowledge the outstanding work of the Justice and Electoral Committee in helping to bring this Act to its fruition.

"While it may take a short time for law practitioners and the courts to become familiar with these changes, the law of evidence is made more accessible by consolidating the law in one place.

"In May, I outlined the five pillars that underpin the Government's objectives in the justice sector – one of which focuses on modernising legal frameworks. The passing of the Evidence Act is an important step in ensuring that New Zealand's legal frameworks meet the needs of all those involved in the legal process."


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