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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

Steve Bonnar QC is the convenor of the Criminal Law Committee. Steve took silk in 2014, and has previous experience in New Zealand and overseas as a Crown Prosecutor. Since 2002 his practice has principally involved criminal defence work and the defence of regulatory prosecutions. Steve is a current member of the Auckland and Manukau Crown Solicitors’ prosecution panels, the Serious Fraud Office prosecution panel, the Ministry of Justice Northern Legal Aid Selection Committee and is a pro bono SPCA Panel Prosecutor.

CLC members are experienced criminal law practitioners and academics:

  • Warren Brookbanks
  • Fiona Guy Kidd QC
  • Lynn Hughes
  • Christopher Macklin
  • James Rapley QC
  • Mike Ruffin
  • Sarah Saunderson-Warner
  • Simon Shamy
  • Todd Simmonds

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 Courts Matters Bill,
  • Sentencing (Livestock Rustling) Bill,
  • Military Justice Legislation Amendment Bill,
  • Conservation (Infringement System) Amendment Bill,
  • Administration of Justice (Reform of Contempt of Court) Bill,
  • Commerce (Criminalisation of Cartels) Amendment Bill,
  • Corrections Amendment Bill,
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill,
  • Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill, and
  • following the terrorist attacks on Christchurch mosques, the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill.

The CLC also contributed to comprehensive NZLS submissions to the Law Commission on its review of The Use of DNA in Criminal Investigations and the 2nd Review of the Evidence Act 2006.

The committee is closely involved in assisting the Law Society as intervenor in appeals to the Court of Appeal relating to methamphetamine sentencing guidelines and the PDLA (Police Detention Legal Assistance) scheme.

The committee is also involved in assessing practice and procedure in the criminal justice system – such as use of AVL (audio-visual links) for remote first appearances in the new Auckland Custody Unit pilot and nationwide; EVIs (evidential video interviews and transcripts); case management procedures, etc – as well as ongoing liaison with other criminal justice stakeholders and the judiciary via the Criminal Practice Committee.

Get Involved

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

Applications have now closed and appointments will be announced in September. Appointments are for a two-year term starting September 2019.

Last updated on the 30th July 2019