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New Zealand to chair Attorneys-General meeting

Hon Clayton Cosgrove
Associate Minister of Justice

24 July 2008 Media Statement

New Zealand to chair Attorneys-General meeting

The Associate Justice Minister Clayton Cosgrove will chair and host the meeting of the Australasian Standing Committee of Attorneys-General today and tomorrow in Canterbury.

The Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) comprises the Attorneys-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, its states and territories, and New Zealand’s Minister of Justice. Norfolk Island has observer status at SCAG.

SCAG provides a forum for Attorneys-General to discuss and progress matters of mutual interest. SCAG seeks to achieve uniform or harmonised action in the areas of responsibility of its members. Attorneys-General, as chief law officers of their jurisdictions, are engaged in projects to harmonise laws across jurisdictions and simplify legal transactions across state and trans-Tasman boundaries.

The types of issues that SCAG considers can be quite varied. Issues may be considered by SCAG if:

• they require joint action from the Australasian governments,

• they involve the development of model or uniform model legislation, or

• are of relevance to Attorneys-General.

Mr Cosgrove said that it is a pleasure for him to welcome, as New Zealand’s delegated SCAG representative, so many distinguished guests to Canterbury, and he is looking forward to chairing the meeting.

He said the ongoing dialogue between Attorneys has enabled progress to be made across a wide range of areas, including the better alignment between Australian and New Zealand legal systems, for the benefit both countries.

Mr Cosgrove said an excellent example of this type of reform is the signing of the Agreement on Trans-Tasman Court Proceedings and Regulatory Enforcement this morning between the New Zealand and Australian governments.

The Agreement will expand the range of civil court judgments that can be enforced across the Tasman and simplify the process for doing so. The Agreement will also enable businesses and individuals involved in trans-Tasman civil legal disputes to resolve them more effectively and at lower cost.

ENDS

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