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Recent legal books

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By Geoff Adlam

Criminal Procedure in New Zealand, 3rd edition

By Jeremy Finn and Don Mathias

While their focus is the Criminal Procedure Act 2011, the authors give “criminal procedure” a wider meaning than in the Act. Collectively they bring over 80 years of experience in teaching and practising criminal law and this is reflected in an examination of New Zealand criminal procedure for lawyers which is concise, accessible and practical. In 17 chapters the book takes a step-by-step approach, from initiation of proceedings through to appeals. An introductory chapter considers offences under the Act, the categorisation of offences and jurisdiction. There are also chapters which look at youth justice, restorative justice and victims in the criminal justice process. The Courts Matters Act 2018, much of which came into force on 13 November 2018, has resulted in much of the rewriting from the second edition which appeared in November 2015. Although not yet in force, there is also a summary of key points of the Contempt of Court Act 2019.

Thomson Reuters New Zealand Ltd – 978-1-988591-53-7 – Paperback – 456 pages – October 2019 – $120 (excludes GST and postage).

Kia Kākano rua te ture: A te reo Māori handbook for the law

By Alana Thomas and Corin Merrick

This is a legal publishing first: a very practical guide to using te reo Māori in legal practice and the courts. With 124 practising lawyers (of 13,689) saying they spoke te reo in July 2019, it is clear the language is not commonly used by many in the legal profession. Lawyers Alan Thomas (Director, Kauparae Law & Consultancy) and Corin Merrick (a barrister at Mānuka Chambers) have provided a taonga for the whole legal community. Their passion for promoting wider use of te reo shines through: “The main aim of this book is to get everyone who has a role within the legal fraternity interested in using te reo Māori on a regular basis … Normalising te reo Māori will not only benefit us as practitioners, but also have a positive impact on those around us. Te reo Māori is not just a transfer of words, it is also a transfer of customs and traditions, and in turn the Māori worldview,” they say. The very user-friendly design of the book, the friendly and helpful way in which the information and the topics covered is presented go a long way to provoking that interest.

The book takes readers through an introduction to basic pronunciation and grammar before providing a succinct set of guidelines for visiting a marae for court sittings. As with the whole book, the focus is on words and concepts which lawyers will encounter or want to employ. A large part of the remainder looks at te reo in the various courts. The particular processes and concepts covered in the Family, Youth, District, Māori Land, Environment and Employment Courts are all considered, as well as the Waitangi Tribunal.

Many non-te reo speakers are often hesitant about exposing their unfamiliarity with the language and the associated tikanga. One repeated theme is positive encouragement to just have a go at using te reo: “Te reo Māori is a language that can be spoken all the time, anywhere and everywhere. Give it a go!” the introduction to a chapter on te reo in the workplace says. This very helpfully groups a wide range of words and phrases by topic. The book’s layout makes these very easy to find and follow, and in itself encourages the reader to give it a go: “Karawhiua!” (Give it heaps!), “Kua kēhi!” (Case closed!), “He rōia ahau” (I’m a lawyer) and “E pīrangi pōkai raihi ana ahau” (I want to eat sushi) are among the words and phrases which many readers will find themselves repeating either quietly to themselves or to colleagues. The workplace chapter also provides a valuable collection of relevant phases for an admission ceremony.

Throughout the book are many whakataukī or whaktatauākī (proverbial sayings) to provide a Māori worldview on some of the issues addressed. The authors note that these are rich in meaning and wisdom and, when understood correctly, can present valuable teachings and knowledge from the ancestors.

The book also contains 11 precedents and templates as appendices. These include cover pages in te reo for the Waitangi Tribunal and courts, headings for submissions and also a trust deed, offer of employment letter and employment agreement.

It is worth finishing with the authors’ translation of the response by Chief District Court Judge Heemi Taumaunu’s father, Hone Taumaunu, in answer to his son’s question of how the Youth Court can help the Māori children who are in trouble. “Hone Taumaunu’s whaktatauākī echoes what Māori have long stressed; that is the importance of holding fast to te reo Māori and tikanga Māori,” the authors say. With Kia Kākano rua te ture, they have made an important step in helping this happen.

“The land that was confiscated Cannot be returned to our children The resources that were stolen Cannot be returned to our children That is not the case for the language Yes, our language Can be returned to our children.”

LexisNexis NZ Ltd – 978-0-947514-89-1 – Paperback and e-book – 199 pages – November 2019 – $120 (excludes GST and postage).

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