New Zealand Law Society - Recent legal books

Recent legal books

Reviewed by Geoff Adlam

Assessment of Mental Capacity – A New Zealand Guide for Doctors and Lawyers

By Alison Douglass, Greg Young and John McMillan

The title perfectly defines this. Dunedin barrister and health and disability law specialist Alison Douglass, Capital Coast DHB consultant psychiatrist Dr Greg Young and Professor John McMillan of the University of Otago’s Bioethics Centre have combined their expertise and experience to produce and curate an extremely practical and authoritative resource for doctors, lawyers, health professionals and the wider community. The book is based on the 2014 research undertaken by Alison Douglass for the New Zealand Law Foundation International Research Fellowship. This resulted in the Toolkit for Assessing Capacity, a clinical, legal and practical guide for health practitioners when assessing an adult’s capacity to make decisions. The Guide also has contributions from 33 other lawyers, health practitioners and academics. It is divided into three parts, covering key concepts and a legal overview, presenting a number of case studies, and with the final part containing two essays with practical guidance for health professionals and for lawyers. Fourteen appendices provide relevant forms and precedents. Presented in a well-structured and accessible format – and at a very handy price – this work is certain to be a mandatory purchase for anyone working in legal or health fields where assessment of capacity is an issue.

Victoria University Press, 978-1-776562-94-7, Paperback, 607 pages, February 2020, $50 RRP (postage not included).

Misuse of Drugs, 2nd edition

By Don Mathias

Dr Mathias originally published this definitive work in 1988, based on his doctoral thesis. Digital editions were updated regularly and published in hardcopy in 2015. He says this second edition is a technical examination of New Zealand criminal law relating to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. “It is not a book about the issues of policy and logic that concern those who ask whether there should be drug offences.” Divided into 19 chapters plus an introduction looking at historical drug control legislation, the book covers all aspects of the law relating to drug misuse and trafficking. Anyone working in the justice system whose work involves drug misuse will find this an essential resource. The law is stated as at 31 October 2019.

Thomson Reuters New Zealand Ltd, 978-1-988591-74-2, Paperback and e-book, 810 pages, January 2020, $165 (GST and postage not included).

Parole in New Zealand: Law and Practice, 2nd edition

By David Mather

Judge Mather said he wrote the first edition, published in 2016, to fill a gap in legal literature. This new edition brings things up to date. While there have been no changes to the Parole Act over the last three years, Judge Mather says the biggest change has come in the range of programmes provided to offenders in prison by the Department of Corrections. As a member and panel convenor of the New Zealand Parole Board he brings a practical focus to explaining the system and process for parole. The 20 chapters each focus on a particular aspect of our parole system. A new chapter discusses the rationale for parole.

Thomson Reuters New Zealand Ltd, 978-1-988591-51-3, Paperback and e-book, 398 pages, February 2020, $135 (GST and postage not included).

The Native/Māori Land Court, Volume 3, 1910-1953

By Richard Boast

This third volume of the series is subtitled “Collectivism, land development and the law”. Professor Boast QC has undertaken a herculean task in making available the principal decisions of the Native and Māori Land Courts, and the appellate courts. Volume I covered 1862 to 1867 (published in 2013) and volume 2, 1888 to 1909 (2015). Professor Boast has now made available decisions in the period between the Native Land Act 1909 and the Māori Affairs Act 1953. The decisions themselves – all introduced with a discussion of their significance and context – are preceded by a 389-page introduction which considers and analyses the period from 1910 to 1953. This is a huge work and Professor Boast himself refers in his preface to the “massive” project which has posed many challenges. “Whether there will ever be a volume 4 of this sequence remains to be seen,” he concludes. This is a taonga of immense value to Aotearoa and it is to be hoped he is able to muster the energy to advance onwards over the last 67 years.

Thomson Reuters New Zealand Ltd, 978-1-988553-34-4, Hardback and e-book, 1246 pages, December 2019, $296 (GST and postage not included).

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