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Report - Presentation of New Zealand Statute Law

Media Release 16 December 2008
Law Commission

Law Commission Report - Presentation of New Zealand Statute Law

It is important that our law be as accessible and understandable as possible to people who are affected by it. Many of our Acts of Parliament fall well short on that score.

This is the message in a Law Commission report Presentation of New Zealand Statute Law tabled in Parliament today. It was written in conjunction with Parliamentary Counsel Office.

“Our Acts have not had a thorough overhaul since 1908”, Law Commission, President Sir Geoffrey Palmer, said today. “There are over 1100 of them, some of them 100 years old. They contain some dead wood which is never used. Some of them are written in old fashioned, legalistic, language which is hard to understand”.

“Many Acts have been amended and patched up over many years, which has made matters worse. Sometimes the law on one topic is scattered in several places, and sometimes provisions are hidden away in Acts where you would never think to look for them”.

“The report makes a number of recommendations to improve matters. Among them are that we should have an index of Acts, and that there should be a systematic programme to revise and rewrite old Acts to make them more readable”, Sir Geoffrey concluded.


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