New Zealand Law Society - Criminal Law Committee

Criminal Law Committee

The Criminal Law Committee has practitioners from all sides of the criminal bar. It considers and makes recommendations on all issues touching on the administration of criminal justice.

About us

The NZLS Criminal Law Committee (CLC), established in 1989, actively monitors and comments on proposed reforms of the criminal law and on the administration of criminal justice.

Our people

Chris Macklin is the convenor of the Criminal Law Committee. He is a Senior Crown Prosecutor at Gordon & Pilditch, Rotorua, and appears across the full range of criminal litigation, including appeals. He also conducts regulatory prosecutions, most often under the Civil Aviation and Resource Management Acts. His experience includes civil litigation in the High and District Courts, including the civil recovery of proceeds of crime.

CLC members are experienced practitioners:

  • Simon Shamy
  • Lynn Hughes
  • Nick Chisnall
  • Jo Wickliffe
  • Stephanie Bishop
  • Professor Jeremy Finn
  • Janine Bonifant
  • Susan Gray
  • Lisa Preston
  • Fiona Cleary

Recent work

The CLC is consistently very busy and has commented on numerous criminal law reforms over the past 18 months. The committee contributed to NZLS submissions on many bills, including the:

  • Sexual Violence Legislation Bill,
  • Rights for Victims of Insane offenders Bill,
  • Land Transport (Drug Driving) Amendment Bill,
  • Arms (Firearms Prohibitions Orders) Amendment Bill
  • Harmful Digital Communications (Unauthorised Posting of Intimate Visual Recording) Amendment Bill, and
  • Covid-19 Response (Further Management Measures) Amendment Bill

The CLC closely monitored the impact of Covid-19 on the criminal justice system in 2020 and provided feedback on a wide range of issues including the use of remote technology, health and safety measures, court protocols, and problems lawyers encountered on a daily basis during lockdown.

The committee also closely monitored lawyers’ access to clients in custody, which saw significant variations throughout the country.

The committee is also closely involved in the District Court Criminal Process Improvement Programme (CPIP), a Ministry of Justice initiative to improve the processes in the District Courts with practical interventions. A number of workstreams have been set up with involvement from all court users including lawyers, Corrections, Police and the judiciary. The Programme is examining every stage in the process and reform proposals to reduce churn and ensure every appearance is a meaningful one.

The CLC also has regular ongoing liaison with other criminal justice stakeholders and the judiciary via the Criminal Practice Committee.


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