Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Justices Of The Peace Should Have Major Role



Justices of the Peace provide the most logical and cost-effective means of operating the new community courts proposed by the New Zealand Law Commission, according to the president of the Royal Federation of N.Z. Justices' Associations, Mrs Robyn Paterson.

A community magistrate herself, Mrs Paterson said judicial JPs were now well trained and suited for such a challenging role and could perform the task at a fraction of the cost of professional judicial officers envisioned in the law commission report.

She pointed out that 400 judicial JPs are already serving successfully in our district courts, and that most New Zealanders were probably unaware that in Britain 95 per cent of all criminal cases are heard by justices of the peace.

"If we accept that every accused person has the right to be judged by his or her peers, then lay people have an important contribution to make to the administration of justice. Justices of the peace help to bridge the gap between the layman and the lawyer, and ensure that the law does not lose touch with the people it is designed to serve," she said.

The RFNZJA already has made lengthy and detailed submissions to the law commission urging that jurisdiction of justices of the peace in the court system be extended. The Federation is the governing body of the 29 regional Justice of the Peace associations, whose members account for most of the 8,500 JPs in New Zealand.

Further submissions on behalf of JP involvement will be made at later hearings, but meanwhile Mrs Paterson urges parliamentarians to consider the advice of one of Britain's most eminent jurists, Lord Hailsham, who said: "My advice to the English people after 40 years of experience of the law is: Do not try to get rid of your old style Justice of the Peace. If you do you will get rid of one of the most valuable and stabilizing of your social institutionsŠ."

"That is sound advice, and it would save the New Zealand taxpayer millions of dollars," she said. "We believe that many of the delays in the court system can be better dealt with through an enhancement of the existing jurisdiction of judicial JPs. All that is needed is some modest additional funding for further training resources."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Corrections Corrected: Supreme Court Rules On Release Dates

Corrections has always followed the lawful rulings of the Court in its calculation of sentence release dates. On four previous occasions, the Court of Appeal had upheld Corrections’ practices in calculating pre-sentence detention. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news