• 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.

    Common sense has gone to the dogs at the Auckland City Council after a dispute over $300 ticket turned into a $20,000 legal battle. The saga began when a summons was posted to Whangaparoa resident Jane Siemer following an anonymous complaint alleging her pet schnauzer had ďcharged a personĒ in early 2011.

    The Council prosecuted the fine but failed to notify Mrs Siemer of the court hearing which resulted her contesting the criminal charge and fine. A rehearing was ordered but the Council again failed to provide notice to the defendant. When the owner did not show up the second time, the District Court gave a default judgment to the Council, plus $10

    A rehearing application was filed with the District Court with evidence of the Councilís failure to notify the defendant along with the Councilís admission that they had failed to respond to the defendantís email inquiries about the hearing time and place. However, despite the Council not opposing, this application was rejected.

    Auckland barrister Frank Deliu filed judicial review proceedings in the High Court after it was determined that the District Court had effectively ordered a criminal conviction without evidence and in addition to no notice being given of the proceeding. This time, however, the Council engaged not one, but two lawyers from Bell Gully to oppose the judicial review and lost. In addition to the legal fees of $8,500 the Council had to pay to the defendant, it is estimated they spent over $10,000 in legal fees opposing the judicial review.

    In overturning the District Court ruling, Justice Lang barred the Council from re-prosecuting the matter, no doubt saving the ratepayers many thousands of dollars.
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Corrigenda's Avatar
      Corrigenda -
      The Council employee/s who failed to respond to emails should be PERSONALLY liable. If it is part of your duties to deal with emails, they you are obviously not doing your job and therefore must pay.
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