New Zealand Law Society - Law Commission main focus on references from Ministers

Law Commission main focus on references from Ministers

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The Law Commission focuses principally on the references it receives from its Minister and it has four active law reform references, one of which is on hold, the Commission say in its Statement of Intent, 1 July 2017 - 30 June 2021.

The statement says the Commission's law reform programme, received from the Minister responsible for the Law Commission (Amy Adams) for the next four years is:

Law Commission law reform programme, year to 30 June

Reference 2018 2019 2020 2021
Review of Evidence Act 2006 Issues Papers Report to Minister    
Review of Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples)
Act 1995
Issues Papers Report to Minister    
Review of Property (Relationships) Act 1976 Issues Papers Report to Minister    
Review of Declaratory Judgments Act 1908
(currently on hold)
  Issues Papers Report to Minister  

The Commission says while the Minister will decide its future references, it has had an opportunity to make suggestions for them.

"The Commission has also established a system which will enable it to identify other areas of New Zealand's law which might benefit from review in the future."

Performance measurement

The statement says the Commission will measure its performance using both quantitative and qualitative measures.

The quantitative measures will be the timely completion of issues papers and final reports, and managing that work programme within total revenue and reserves as agreed with the Minister.

The qualitative measures will assess how the Commission identifies and addresses the substantive legal issues within each completed reference, and the effectiveness of its processes relating to engagement and consultation. It will use external feedback from a range of interested parties including participants in the Expert Advisory Groups on completed references to assess its performance against the qualitative measures.

In a foreword, Law Commission President Douglas White QC says these assessment measures mark a move away from those previously used, over which the Commission has no control.

"In particular, the decision whether to enact legislation implementing a Commission report is a matter for the Government and Parliament, not the Commission, and may be influenced by a wide range of factors, including other Government priorities. It is therefore not an appropriate performance measurement for the Commission.