New Zealand’s lawyers welcome the appointment of the Safe and Effective Justice Programme Advisory Group - Te Uepū Hāpai i te Ora and the opportunities it presents for a thorough examination of the criminal justice system, the New Zealand Law Society says.
“Agreement on the principles underpinning the criminal justice system is something which has been missing,” Law Society criminal law reform committee convenor Steve Bonnar QC says.
“Changes to the law have often come as kneejerk reactions to something which has sparked public interest. The many changes made to the Sentencing Act, the Bail Act and the Parole Act are examples of this.
“There are different views within the community as to what the main objectives of our criminal justice system should be, and on how we achieve those aims. Often, criminal justice issues become politicised.”
Mr Bonnar says the New Zealand Law Society will be a keen observer of the reform process and will offer advice and assistance when this is sought.
“It is also very important that any proposed reforms to criminal justice are made within the context of the long-established rights at the centre of our justice system. Any proposals for change must fit within the framework of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.”