New Zealand Law Society - Criminal procedure rules

Criminal procedure rules

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The Criminal Rules Subcommittee was formed to assist the Rules Committee following the enactment of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011. The current membership is:

  • Justice Helen Winkelmann (Chief High Court Judge);
  • Justice Simon France (Chair);
  • Judge B Davidson;
  • David Jones QC;
  • Charlotte Brook;
  • Mark Harborrow;
  • Lynn Hughes; and
  • Megan Anderson (Ministry of Justice).

The primary focus now is to monitor how the Criminal Procedure Rules 2011 are working. If there are aspects of the Rules that you consider could be improved – either in their content or implementation – please raise it with a committee member, or one of the professional bodies.

One change that is being considered concerns the filing of formal statements. The present requirement is that they be filed 25 working days before the trial call over (rule 5.5(1)). This timeframe seems to be the subject of routine extension.

It is undesirable in principle to have a situation such as that, and of course it means that on each occasion there needs to be an application. A proposal to alter the date to 15 working days, thereby aligning it with the Crown memorandum, is presently being consulted on. Replies to date are supportive of the change.

An example of monitoring implementation is the case management memorandum (CMM). Acting on feedback, and following consultation, members of the committee, together with the Ministry of Justice, have developed a new version. It is currently being tested in Christchurch. The early response is positive, and it is hoped that a wider implementation will soon occur.

The committee is also reviewing existing Practice Notes. The aim is to convert as many as possible into rules, so as to reduce the number of rule sources to which practitioners must go. Many Practice Notes are, in fact, obsolete and will be discontinued. It is hoped in the near future to incorporate the Sentencing Practice Note into the Rules, after which decisions will be made on the remainder.

Justice Simon France is the Chair of the Criminal Practice Rules Subcommittee.

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