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


Criminal Justice Changes: Issue Disputes


What is the general proposal?

As part of the new case-management approach, the defence will be required to give notice of the issues that are in dispute in a particular case.

Why change the law?

There is currently no requirement, before a trial begins, for the prosecution and defence to discuss or agree on those aspects of a case that will need to be determined by the court, and those which the defendant does not seek to challenge.

This means that cases must progress as if everything is disputed, unless the defence voluntarily identifies issues that are agreed. As a consequence:

The prosecution must undertake preparation that is ultimately not required.

Witnesses are called unnecessarily.

Trials are unnecessarily complex and the judge or jury’s job is made more difficult.

Some trials progress further than they should.


As part of the new case-management approach, the defence will be required (before trial) to give notice of the issues that are in dispute. If the defence unreasonably fails to follow this requirement, the judge and jury are entitled to draw their own inferences about why the defendant did not do so. If, for example, a defendant raises a defence at trial that it could have done at the earlier stage, a judge or jury might draw an inference about the credibility of that defence. Such inferences would not, by themselves, be enough to determine guilt, but would be another of the matters a judge or jury could take into account in reaching their decision. To ensure this process is fair, a judge must give both parties a chance to be heard on any failure to identify issues in dispute before any comment is made to the jury.

Benefits of proposal

Prosecution and defence resources would be saved by ensuring they are not misdirected to irrelevant matters. It is estimated, for example, that requiring the defence to identify issues in dispute will save approximately 450 court days per year, or around 10 per cent of expected total judge-alone and jury time.

Victims and witnesses will be inconvenienced less because they will have to appear only when they are really needed.

Because they will know what the case is before the trial begins, the fact-finder (judge and juries, but particularly juries) will be in a better position to assess the significance of the evidence presented.

The number of trials required may also decrease because defence counsel may determine that the case has little prospect of success.

International comparisons

Similar regimes are in place in the United Kingdom1, Victoria2, New South Wales3, Western Australia4, and South Australia5. Of the Australian states, Victoria’s regime is the most comprehensive.

1 Criminal Procedure and Investigation Act 1996

2 Crimes (Criminal Trials) Act 1999

3 Criminal Procedure Act 1986

4 Criminal Procedure Act 2004

5 Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Mayor of Auckland: Alert Level Change Welcome News

Mayor Phil Goff says the government’s decision to move Auckland to Level 2 from 6am on Sunday will be welcome news for all Aucklanders.
“Moving strongly and quickly to contain this outbreak has once again proved effective in stopping the spread of community transmission and I thank all the Aucklanders who have followed the rules of Level 3 over the past week,” he says... More>>


Earthquakes: Tsunami Activity – Cancelled

The National Advisory issued at 2:48pm following this morning's earthquakes near the KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION is cancelled.
The advice from GNS Science, based on ocean observations, is that the Beach and Marine threat has now passed for all areas... More>>

Joint Press Release: Dirty PR Exposed In Whale Oil Defamation Trial

Three public health advocates are relieved that their long-standing Whale Oil defamation trial against Cameron Slater, Carrick Graham, Katherine Rich and the Food and Grocery Council has finally concluded and they are pleased that the truth has come out... More>>


Government: Next Stage Of COVID-19 Support For Business And Workers

The Government has confirmed details of COVID-19 support for business and workers following the increased alert levels due to a resurgence of the virus over the weekend... More>>


Government: Balanced Economic Approach Reflected In Crown Accounts

New Zealand’s economic recovery has again been reflected in the Government’s books, which are in better shape than expected.
The Crown accounts for the seven months to the end of January 2021 were better than forecast in the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU)... More>>

Covid-19: Auckland Back To Alert Level Three After One New Community Case Revealed

Auckland will move to alert level three for a week at 6am tomorrow morning after two new Covid-19 community cases announced this evening could not be directly linked to earlier cases, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
The rest of the country will move to level two.... More>>

NZ Initiative: New Report Highlights How Our Housing Crisis Could Worsen If We Don’t Act Now

If New Zealand politicians thought the housing crisis in 2020 was bad, the worst is yet to come, warns a new report by The New Zealand Initiative. In The Need to Build: The demographic drivers of housing demand , Research Assistant Leonard Hong ... More>>

Parliament: Kiwi MPs Among The “Most Educated In The World”

New analysis of MP qualifications reveals New Zealand’s Parliament is one of the most educated and highest qualified in the world, and significantly more educated than Australia’s. The research, by Mark Blackham of BlacklandPR and Geoffrey Miller ... More>>




InfoPages News Channels