17/04 Legislation 11- an introduction to the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act
Proposition: parliament can make or unmake any law it chooses, and it is
the task of the judiciary to apply it.
How a statute affects assumptions the community shares about
What judges might do, when legislation is ambiguous in meaning,
but has the potential on one interpretation to invade those
New Zealand does not have a constitution, and cannot declare any
legislation invalid in the event that it conflicts with the values set down
New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 is open to statutory invasion.
Judges protect an individual‟s right, by presuming that Parliament would
not have intended to breach it unless it had specifically said so.
Presumption that parliament would want to preserve certain values all the
time, and these values are about how the system should work. E.g. the
liberty of the subject: penal statutes should take the position that would
favour the offence.
This presumption that parliament would not want to invade personal rights
is fairly artificial.
Judges: apply the law, and to protect citizens against an imbalance of
Overview of the NEW ZEALAND BILL OF RIGHTS ACT 1990:
The first time parliament created a document about how far an individuals
right extends, and how far the courts may go in the invasion of our lives.
Made them inherently valuable- before now it was only the judges that
protected these values.
Life and security of the person:
The right not to be deprived of life
The right not to be subjected to torture or cruel treatment
The right not to be subjected to medical or scientific
The right to refuse to undergo medical treatment Democratic and civil rights:
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
Freedom of expression
Manifestation of religion and belief
Freedom of peaceful assembly
Freedom of association
Freedom of movement
Freedom from non-discrimination
Speech, arrest and detention:
Unreasonable search and seizure
Liberty of the person
Rights of persons arrested or detained
Rights of persons charged
Minimum standards of criminal procedure
Retroactive penalties and double jeopardy
Right to justice.
Does not change the distribution of power of the courts and parliament.
Does not apply in every situation- not necessarily in the situation
of one individual against the other.
Section 4: affirms power of Parliament. A judge may not ignore
or annul any clause should they deem it in conflict with a bill of
rights section. Message from parliament to the judg