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Lecture 13

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Donna Buckingham

17/04 Legislation 11- An introduction to the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 Not examinable: Proposition: parliament can make or unmake any law it chooses, and it is the task of the judiciary to apply it. The questions:  How a statute affects assumptions the community shares about fundamental values?  What judges might do, when legislation is ambiguous in meaning, but has the potential on one interpretation to invade those fundamental values? New Zealand does not have a constitution, and cannot declare any legislation invalid in the event that it conflicts with the values set down there. New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 is open to statutory invasion. Pre 1990: 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 power. 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 experimentation  The right to refuse to undergo medical treatment Democratic and civil rights:  Electoral 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. The NZBOR:  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
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