New Zealand Law Society - Human Rights and Privacy Committee

Human Rights and Privacy Committee

The Human Rights and Privacy Committee monitors compliance with domestic and international human rights standards and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, and makes submissions on human rights and privacy issues.

About Us

The Human Rights and Privacy Committee (HRPC) was initially established as a sub-committee to the NZLS LAWASIA IBA committee, and its principal concern was monitoring human rights issues affecting lawyers (and their clients) and judges.

The sub-committee became the NZLS Human Rights Committee in 1998 and its role was expanded to include privacy matters in 2010.

Our People

Paul Rishworth QC is the convenor of the Human Rights and Privacy Committee. His expertise is in public law, including judicial review, human rights and anti- discrimination law, education law, South Pacific constitutional law, Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and Human Rights Act 1993, legislative drafting and statutory interpretation. His work on the New Zealand Bill of Rights has been widely cited by peers, practitioners and judges, and he has provided advice on issues ranging from restrictions on hate speech to the autonomy of religious organisations to hire and ordain leaders.

Paul is ably supported by the members of the HRPC:

  • Dr Andrew Butler
  • Katrine Evans
  • Juliet Philpott
  • Catherine Fleming
  • Honor Lanham
  • Greg Robins
  • Nicola Manning
  • Thomas Harré

Recent Work

The HRPC is an extremely busy committee. In the past 18 months, it has contributed to numerous NZLS submissions on a range of human rights and Bill of Rights concerns in proposed legislation, including:

  • the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill,
  • End of Life Choice Bill,
  • Corrections Amendment Bill,
  • Local Electoral Matters Bill, and
  • the Privacy Bill

The committee also contributed to:

  • a shadow report to the United Nations on New Zealand’s third Universal Periodic Review; and
  • a submission on the Returning Offenders (Management and Information) Act 2015 (the 18-month statutory review of operation of the Act).

In addition, the committee has commented on proposed information-sharing agreements relating to Police and the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, as well as between IRD, Police, SFO and Customs.

Other submissions have related to: Police vetting; family violence information-sharing guidelines; Health and Disability Research: draft National Ethical Standards; and the Law Commission’s review of the use of DNA in criminal investigations.

Get Involved

Appointments are made to this committee biennially. Membership of this committee allows you to play an important role in law reform and is an excellent basis for professional development as well as collegiality and networking.

Applications will be called for in mid-2021, for the next 2-year term starting September 2021.

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