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


Extension of Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims Act opposed

MEDIA RELEASE – For immediate use, 6 June, 2012

Law Society opposes the proposed extension of Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims Act 2005

The New Zealand Law Society is opposed to a proposed one-year extension of legislation restricting prisoners’ ability to obtain compensation for breaches of their human rights.

The Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims (2012 Expiry and Application Dates) Amendment Bill would extend the Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims Act 2005 for a further year, so that it expires on 30 June 2013, rather than the current expiry date of 30 June 2012.

Parliament’s Justice and Electoral Committee has released its report on the bill, with the majority recommending that it be passed

In its submission on the Bill to the committee, the Law Society said that if abuse of prisoners’ rights was continuing, this should be addressed by focusing on better management of prisons to avoid human rights breaches.

The Law Society's Human Rights and Privacy Committee Convenor Andrew Butler says the Law Society agrees with the Ministry of Justice that “the best way of preventing future claims arising from breaches of prisoners’ human rights is to ensure that incidents leading to such claims are kept to an absolute minimum.” This appears to be the reason the 2005 Act contained an expiry date: when the Act was passed, the government of the day indicated it would take steps to reduce the abuse of prisoners contrary to human rights, so that the Act would no longer be needed.

The Supreme Court ruling in Taunoa v Attorney-General in 2007 also casts some doubt on whether Subpart 1 of Part 2 of the 2005 Act is now needed at all.

“The legal principles regarding the granting of compensation to prisoners were outlined by the Supreme Court in Taunoa, and those principles address the concerns the 2005 Act was designed to address,” Dr Butler says.

“The Law Society does not support the Bill extending the operation of the 2005 Act, and recommends that the restrictions in Subpart 1 of Part 2 of the 2005 Act should lapse on 30 June 2012 as originally intended.”

The Law Society says it is important that any decisions affecting human rights are made only after a thorough policy analysis. The Law Society believes a thorough Regulatory Impact Statement is needed for this Bill, as well as for the Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims (Redirecting Prisoner Compensation) Amendment Bill (currently awaiting its first reading in Parliament) that would make the 2005 Act permanent.

Further background for media

• On 5 June 2012 the Justice and Electoral Committee issued its report on the Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims (2012 Expiry and Application Dates) Amendment Bill.

• The Committee recommended by majority that the Bill be passed.

• The Report also contained the minority views of the Labour Party and of the Green Party.

• Those views repeated some of the Law Society's concerns, and the Green Party also expressed concern about the Bill's human rights implications.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Sustainable NZ Isn’t Self-Sustaining

Asking whether this new, environmentally focussed party can make the 5% MMP threshold may be the wrong question...

Its more achievable goal would be to knock the Greens below the 5% threshold, while along the way reviving all the ancient stereotypes about the centre-left being implacably hostile to rural New Zealand. More>>


Report On Consultation: Future Of Tomorrow's Schools

“The 1989 Tomorrow’s Schools reform introduced one of world’s most devolved schooling systems where each school operates largely in isolation of each other... It empowered local communities and modernised an overly bureaucratic system but also led over time to uneven outcomes between schools.” More>>


Queensland Fires: NZ Firefighters Helping Battle Blazes

Twenty-one New Zealand firefighters are departing for Australia to help fight the wild fires that have been raging in Queensland for the past nine weeks. More>>


In NZ:

Discussion Doc: 'Firearm Prohibition Orders' Power For Police

“In practice this may mean a person subject to a FPO could not live in or visit a property where firearms are held, even if the firearm owner is licensed. They could not be in a vehicle which is carrying a firearm. They could not go hunting even under supervision..." More>>


Police: Armed Response Team In Low Level Arrest, 'Preventative' Patrols

Police later said the stop was entirely appropriate, and resulted in the man being arrested without incident for "breaching conditions". More>>


Children's Commissioner Comment: Damning Oranga Tamariki Review Of Uplift Case

“The practice review released by Oranga Tamariki today is rigorous and robust. However, it describes a litany of failure at every step. It is a damning indictment of inadequate social work practice. Many social workers will welcome the light being shone on this case." More>>


Environment Commissioner: ‘Huge’ Data Gaps Undermine Stewardship

Environment Commissioner Simon Upton says ‘huge’ gaps in data and knowledge undermine our stewardship of the environment and is calling for concerted action to improve the system. More>>

  • Image via Out-Link - Focusing Aotearoa New Zealand’s environmental reporting system
  • Science Media Centre - Measuring changes to our environment – Expert Reaction
  • Local Govt NZ - LGNZ backs call for better environmental reporting
  • Environmental Defence Society - EDS endorses Commissioner for the Environment’s report
  • Federated Farmers - Environment data gaps no basis for current policy swings



    InfoPages News Channels