Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

New guidelines for compensation payments adopted


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Justice
Media Statement

3 September 2000


New guidelines for compensation payments adopted

New criteria will be set governing the level of compensation payments for persons acquitted or pardoned after being wrongly convicted and imprisoned, says Justice Minister Phil Goff.

"The new criteria will supplement those set by the previous government in 1998, and will come into effect after the two cases currently in the system have been resolved.

"The reasons for the change in criteria are twofold. First, there is a lack of clarity in current criteria which risks inconsistency and unfairness in compensation payments to different applicants.

"Secondly, compensation levels should be in line with judgements in New Zealand Courts in false imprisonment cases. While compensation needs to fairly reflect the losses and trauma of being wrongly imprisoned, it must also reflect the fact that many people receive no compensation for losses which are through no fault of their own. The new criteria if applied in the current case would have lowered the compensation payment by around $200,000.

"Victims and people wrongly charged and then acquitted, for example, often have no redress for their losses. An award of compensation is an extraordinary remedy and is not available in all cases.

"While the assessment of pecuniary losses (quantifiable expenses incurred such as legal expenses and loss of income) is quite straight forward, quantifying non-pecuniary losses (such as pain and suffering) is more difficult in the absence of clear guidance as to an appropriate figure from which the calculation should commence.

"Uncertainty in the calculation of non-pecuniary losses risks inconsistent results.

"Cabinet has therefore put in place clearer guidelines on the assessment of the amount of future compensation. This will provide greater certainty as to the appropriate size of compensation payments.

The 1998 Cabinet criteria specify a number of factors that are to be taken into account when considering the appropriate amount of compensation. Those factors include the conduct of the accused leading to prosecution and conviction; whether the prosecution acted in good faith in bringing and continuing the case; whether the investigation was conducted in a reasonable and proper manner; and the seriousness of the offence alleged.

"The calculation of compensation under the new guidelines involves three stages. The first stage deals with the calculation of an appropriate amount for loss of liberty. Under the additional guidelines, the starting figure for loss of liberty is set at $100,000. This base figure is then multiplied on a pro rata basis by the number of years spent in custody so that an amount for loss of liberty is arrived at that is proportional to the period of detention.

"The second stage is to weigh up the factors set out in the 1998 Cabinet criteria to determine an appropriate amount for the non-pecuniary losses incurred by the claimant. There is a limited degree of discretion in this stage but Cabinet has agreed that only those cases with truly exceptional circumstances would attract an award under this stage that is greater than $100,000. On average the relevant figure under this stage should even out at around $100,000.

"Where there are aggravating features present such as the fabrication of evidence by the prosecution, the case would fall at the higher end of the range. Quantum for non-pecuniary losses should be adjusted upwards from $100,000.

"Alternatively, where there are mitigating factors such as the conduct of the accused that may have contributed to the wrongful conviction, the quantum for non-pecuniary loss should be adjusted downwards from $100,000.

"The last stage is to calculate the claimant's pecuniary losses separately.

"The sum of the figures from all three stages represents the total amount of compensation payable to a claimant," Mr Goff concluded.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Last Night’s Leaders Debate

Do political debates change voter intentions, and cause voters to switch sides? According to a 2019 Harvard Business School study conducted across 61 elections in nine countries involving 172,000 respondents, the answer would seem to be a resounding “No.” Political debates have little effect on voter behaviour, let alone on election outcomes. Crucially, the limited effect they do have does not involve a change in voters’ policy preferences... More>>

 

Government: More Border Exceptions For Critical Roles

The Government has established class exceptions for border entry for a limited number of veterinarians, deep sea fishing crew, as well as agricultural and horticultural machinery operators. “Tight border restrictions remain the backbone of the Government’s ... More>>

ALSO:

PM: Auckland At Bolstered Level 2, Rest Of Country Provisionally At Level 1

Pandemic alert levels for the whole country have been reviewed by Cabinet and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is announcing whether restrictions will be eased. More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Supporting Workers And Valuing Their Contribution

Making sure working New Zealanders are safe, healthy and that their contribution to the economy is valued is at the heart of Labour’s Workplace Relations Policy.
“This is Labour demonstrating its commitment to helping working New Zealanders by increasing sick leave, raising wages, protecting them while they are at work, growing jobs and investing in the economy,”... More>>

ALSO:

PREFU: Economy Doing Better Than Forecast

The Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update released today shows that the near-term economic recovery has been stronger than the Treasury and many economists predicted at the May Budget, as the economy bounced back strongly out of lockdown... More>>

ALSO:


Electoral Commission: Candidate And Party Lists Released

17 registered political parties and 677 candidates will be contesting the 2020 General Election Nominations have now closed and the Electoral Commission has released the electorate and party list candidates for 2020 online at vote.nz . Advance voting ... More>>

National: Plan To Restore NZ’s Prosperity

National’s Economic and Fiscal Plan carefully balances the need to invest in infrastructure and core public services while also reducing tax pressure on Kiwi families and businesses. National Leader Judith Collins and Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith unveiled National’s ... More>>

ALSO:

NZ First: Party List

New Zealand First has a proven twenty-seven-year history of bringing balance and common sense to our government. Amid the continued setbacks of COVID-19 restrictions, New Zealand First has once again sustained its profile by selecting a strong team ... More>>

Election: Arriving Travellers In Isolation To Be Able To Vote By Telephone

Up to 5,000 people in managed isolation or quarantine will be able to vote by telephone in the general election and referendums after an amendment to electoral regulations last week. Chief Electoral Officer Alicia Wright says the Electoral Commission sought ... More>>

National: Investing In Our Children’s Future

A National Government will prioritise lifting achievement for all New Zealand children, no matter their background or ability, National Party Leader Judith Collins and National’s Education spokesperson Nicola Willis say. “Parents just want what’s best for ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels