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Media Release: Ahmed Zaoui V The Attorney-General

Supreme Court of New Zealand
25 November 2004

MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION

AHMED ZAOUI v THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL & ORS (SC CIV 13/2004)

PRESS SUMMARY


This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment and reasons can be found at Judicial Decisions of Public Interest www.courts.govt.nz/judgments

The Supreme Court has delivered a unanimous judgment in the Ahmed Zaoui case dealing with two issues about jurisdiction under the Immigration Act 1987.

It has determined, first, that the High Court does have an inherent jurisdiction to grant bail to persons, like Mr Zaoui, who are detained under the provisions of Part 4A of the Immigration Act. That Part lays down special procedures in cases involving security concerns.

The Supreme Court has also determined that a District Court Judge has jurisdiction to vary the warrant of commitment to enable a person detained under Part 4A to be transferred to premises such as the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre, rather than being held in a remand prison.

The Supreme Court has not yet made a decision on whether Mr Zaoui should now be granted bail or, if not, whether the Mangere Centre is a suitable place to which Mr Zaoui should be transferred. The Court has indicated that because Mr Zaoui has already been detained for more than 23 months, further delay in considering his interim release or transfer should not occur. Therefore, rather than remit the case back to the High Court, the Supreme Court will itself make the necessary decisions. It has directed a further hearing on Thursday 9 December 2004 at which it will hear argument on whether bail should be granted or an order made for transfer of Mr Zaoui to the Mangere Centre and, if so in either case, on what terms.


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