New Zealand Law Society - Law Society supports changes to improve New Zealanders' access to legislation

Law Society supports changes to improve New Zealanders' access to legislation

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The New Zealand Law Society welcomes proposals to improve the quality of legislation and to make it easier for people to access and understand legislation that affects their legal rights and obligations.

The Law Society has presented its submission on the Legislation Bill to Parliament’s Justice Committee, and said it supported efforts to improve the production of high quality legislation that is easy to find, use and understand.

The bill will require all legislation, with limited exceptions, to be published online.

“It is vital in any democracy that people can access legislation,” Law Society spokesperson Jason McHerron said.

The bill requires all legislation, including secondary legislation such as regulations made by public agencies, to be published electronically in one place, with limited exceptions.

“This step will significantly improve people’s ability to access the law and to understand their obligations and rights,” Mr McHerron said.

Better quality legislation is also vitally important to society.

“Poor legislation leads to uncertainty and costly disputes. One purpose of the bill is to allow legislation to be shorter, simpler and more consistent. Measures to improve the quality of legislation are welcomed, as an important part of a liberal democratic state committed to the rule of law,” he told the committee.

The Law Society has recommended changes to the bill to improve constitutional checks, including to ensure secondary legislation is subject to scrutiny by Parliament.