• Introducing the New Zealand Justice Forum

    The New Zealand Justice Forum aims to pool the collective experiences of our citizens, lawyers, and academics in order to discuss the many defects that weaken the integrity of the legal system.

    The practice of denying court access in New Zealand based upon (lack of) 'property' resulted three weeks ago in a formal complaint being made to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Switzerland.

    The 'security for costs' regime in New Zealand courts requires poor plaintiffs pay into court the expected legal costs of the defendants before a hearing will be allowed. Rich plaintiffs do not pay security. The court rules state security must be paid if the plaintiff cannot afford their adversary's legal costs or if they reside out of the country. In short, security orders are expressly made on the ground the plaintiff is unable to comply with them and therefore accepts a hearing or ...no hearing results directly from a plaintiff's financial means.

    Denying elementary court access by requiring poor people effectively pay 'insurance' of tens of thousands of dollars they knowingly cannot afford is virtually unique to New Zealand courts.

    The U.N. challenge states the practice is discriminatory on the basis of property as defined under Article 2 of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as subverts equality before the Courts required by Article 14.

    Harvard-educated Queen Street lawyer Gregory Thwaite, who is also licensed to practice in the U.S.A. and Germany, is fronting the challenge.
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Yoda's Avatar
      Yoda -
      It seems abuse of court process to deny a hearing a common practice of New Zealand. Also, this is the only country that I know that not having any record of a hearing is legitimaized. Maybe, requiring money to be paid, in additioin to filing fees, is a violation of the Bill of Right. This is an interesting case from a constitutional perspective.
    1. flimflam's Avatar
      flimflam -
      This is and has been wide spread in our sad social experiment of a country. Look at the family court, mummy gets legal aid, daddy dosent and gives up. Should we be surprised? On the basis of pure cost and it's reputation the family court plays a major role in shaping our youth and therefore our society, so how do we think it's going then? Well?
    1. Yoda's Avatar
      Yoda -
      At least, as the constitutional principle and convention dictate, court and judges must be impartial. What I don't understand is that why people of New Zealand allow this type of practices going on by the public (being paid by taxpayers) institutions. It must be tacitly accepted by the people, or this type of practices will, at least, attract the media's attention and being reported. This has not happened in New Zealand. I think this is the major and profound problem in New Zealand.
    1. Corrigenda's Avatar
      Corrigenda -
      Same old, same old. Justice is only for those who can afford it and to hell with everyone else.
    1. Yoda's Avatar
      Yoda -
      The practice of imposing security (costs) needs to be reviewed in New Zealand, especially, judges are partial and defenders of the established or the majority who create facts and arguments for their mates and impose costs on those who go against them. In New Zealand, the tradition and custom of suppressing minorities is very much entrenched. Maybe, someone enlightens me on this; why that is.
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