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

 


Release of Law Commission Paper on Civil Pecuniary Penalties

MEDIA RELEASE

8 November 2012

Hon Sir Grant Hammond KNZM

President

Law Commission

Release of Law Commission Paper on Civil Pecuniary Penalties

The Law Commission is seeking public feedback on the use of financial penalties by enforcement agencies to punish corporates and individuals for breaches of the law.

In an Issues Paper published today, the Commission notes bodies like the Commerce Commission are increasingly resorting to financial, or pecuniary, penalties instead of criminal sanctions to deal with a range of commercial and financial offending such as insider trading and price fixing.

These penalties can involve very substantial sums – up to $1m for an individual or more than $10m for a company – and are frequently used by enforcement bodies to punish breaches of a wide range of commercial and finance law including securities and overseas investment laws and anti-money laundering legislation.

They were first used in legislation in 1986 and they are now a feature of 15 Acts of Parliament.

The Commission notes that one of the attractions of financial penalties for enforcement bodies is that they are easier to obtain than criminal convictions because they are a civil rather than a criminal matter, requiring a lower standard of proof and more relaxed rules of evidence and procedure.

They can also have benefits for offenders. There is no chance of imprisonment with a civil pecuniary penalty and less risk to a person’s travel and work opportunities because of the lack of conviction.

However, the President of the Law Commission and project leader, Sir Grant Hammond, said the risks and benefits of an increasing reliance on civil penalties in New Zealand statutes needed to be carefully weighed.

For example, under a civil penalties regime, the court does not need to be convinced beyond reasonable doubt before it penalises a defendant. And the defendant does not benefit from protections like the right to silence and presumption of innocence. Also, there is a risk that civil pecuniary penalties might allow white-collar, corporate offenders to be treated more favourably than those accused of more traditional criminal offending.

“It is essential that our enforcement agencies are able to enforce their laws effectively. The question is whether we have the correct balance between those regulatory needs and fairness for individuals. There needs to be a debate about when such penalties are desirable, how they should be formulated and what safeguards there should be.”

The Issues Paper describes how civil pecuniary penalties are used in New Zealand. It asks questions about the nature of these penalties and when it might be appropriate to use them in legislation. It also asks questions about what process and protections should be used when they are imposed. The Commission seeks views on all of these matters.

The Commission welcomes any comments or submissions on the Issues Paper. The closing date for submissions is Friday 15 February 2013. The Issues Paper is available from the Law Commission’s website at www.lawcom.govt.nz/project/law-relating-civil-penalties/issues-paper.

-ENDS-

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Parliament Today:

John Key Press Conference: Ashburton Shootings, Judith Collins Inquiry

Prime Minister John Key has delayed the release of Nationals’ fiscal policy in light of this morning’s shooting at a Work and Income office in Ashburton... Key also answered questions about Judith Collins, and confirmed that independent inquiry will be held with regard to allegations made against Collins. More>>

ALSO:

Internet MANA: Georgina Beyer Rocks The Waka

“There is now, and always will be, a range of views about many issues within our movement and members are free to express them, but Georgina’s views on Kim Dotcom are not shared by the MANA Movement leadership or the vast majority of MANA members and supporters around the country” states MANA Candidate for Waiariki, Annette Sykes. More>>

ALSO:

IGIS Update: Inquiry Into Release Of NZSIS Information

The Inquiry would be conducted in private and individuals would appear before her separately over a period of more than a week. She does not intend to name those summoned to give evidence until her report is published. “I can confirm that all persons summoned will be required to appear under oath...” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On John Key’s ‘Blame It On Judith’ Strategy

Right now, Prime Minister John Key seems intent on limiting the scope of any inquiry into his government’s dealings with Cameron Slater. The declared aim is to make that inquiry solely about Judith Collins’ behavior with respect to the Serious Fraud Office. More>>

ALSO:

Maori Council Lawyers' Statement: Supreme Court Decision On Maori Water Rights

“…the Supreme Court refused to give Pouakani people what they asked for, but may have given them something much, much better instead… the Supreme Court has questioned whether the Crown owns the River at all.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Debate, And The Collins Accusation

Debating is a peculiar discipline in that what you say is less important than how you’re saying it. Looking poised, being articulate and staying on topic generally wins the day – and on that score, Labour leader David Cunliffe won what turned out to be a bruising encounter with Prime Minister John Key last night on TVNZ. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Winston Peters' Latest Bout Of Immigrant Bashing

It is only one poll, but rather than cannibalising each other's vote, Colin Craig and Winston Peters do seem to be managing to find the room to co-exist... Few are questioning how Peters got to this happy place, and what it says about the mood of the electorate. More>>

ALSO:

More Immigration News: First People Trafficking Charges

The first people trafficking charges in New Zealand have been brought by Immigration New Zealand (INZ)... The defendants have been charged under the Crimes Act 1961 for arranging by deception the entry of 18 Indian nationals into New Zealand. More>>

Collins 'Misinterprets Media Reports': "Too Compromised To Remain Justice Minister"

Bizarre claims by Judith Collins this morning that she had been cleared of inappropriate behaviour by the Privacy Commissioner demonstrates she is too compromised to remain Justice Minister, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news