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Encyclopedia > Supreme Court of New Zealand
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The Supreme Court of New Zealand is the highest court of appeal in New Zealand, having formally come into existence at the beginning of 2004, and sitting for the first time on 1 July 2004. It replaces the right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, based in London. It was created with the passing of the Supreme Court Act 2003, on 15 October 2003. New Zealand coat of arms This image depicts a seal, an emblem, a coat of arms or a crest. ... New Zealand functions as a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. ... New Zealands Head of State is currently Queen Elizabeth II, and is given the title Queen of New Zealand. ... Flag of the Governor General of New Zealand The Governor-General of New Zealand is the local representative of the Queen of New Zealand, Queen Elizabeth II, and as such is the highest office in the Government of New Zealand. ... The New Zealand Parliament is the legislative body of the New Zealand government. ... The New Zealand Cabinet is, in practice, the highest body of the New Zealand governments executive branch. ... The Prime Minister of New Zealand is New Zealands head of government and is the leader of the party or coalition with majority support in the Parliament of New Zealand. ... The Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand is second most senior officer in the Government of New Zealand, although this seniority does not necessarily translate into power. ... Ministers, in the New Zealand government, are Members of Parliament who hold a ministerial warrants from the Crown to perform certain functions of government. ... In New Zealand The Speaker of the House of Representatives is the individual who chairs the countrys legislative body, The House of Representatives (commonly known as Parliament). The Speaker fulfills a number of important functions in relation to the operation Parliament, much of which is based upon the British... The Leader of the Opposition in New Zealand is the politician who, at least in theory, leads the Opposition bloc in the New Zealand Parliament. ... The following is a list of New Zealand politicians, both past and present. ... New Zealand national politics feature a pervasive party system. ... This page lists a number of articles relating to issues, ideas, and events in New Zealand politics. ... State sector organisations in New Zealand (as at January 2004) are as follows: Parliamentary Offices Office of the Controller and Auditor-General (Tumuaki o te Mana Arotake) Office of the Ombudsmen (Nga Kaitiaki Mana Tangata) Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (Te Kaitiaki Taiao a Te Whare Pāremata... Region is the formal term for the top tier of local government in New Zealand. ... Members of New Zealands House of Representatives, commonly called Parliament, normally gain their seats in nationwide general elections, or, less frequently, in by-elections. ... 2004 is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... July 1 is the 182nd day of the year (183rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 183 days remaining. ... 2004 is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is one of the highest courts in the United Kingdom. ... The Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster, which contains Big Ben London is the capital city of the United Kingdom and of England. ... October 15 is the 288th day of the year (289th in Leap years). ... 2003 is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


It is no relation to the "old" Supreme Court, which was renamed in 1980 (as the result of a Royal Commission recommendation) as the High Court in anticipation of the creation of a court like the one that now bears its former name. This style of naming has its origins in the way the Supreme Court of Judicature of England and Wales was named. It however creates the potential for confusion. This article concerns the Courts of England and Wales. ...

Contents


Composition

The Supreme Court sits in Wellington. It is proposed that it will eventually sit in the historic High Court building, located near Parliament, although is being housed in temporary facilities while this building is refurbished. Wellington (Te Whanganui-a-Tara or Poneke) is the capital city of New Zealand and the countrys second-largest urban area. ...


Inaugural judges were:

  • Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias
  • Justice Thomas Gault
  • Justice Sir Kenneth Keith
  • Justice Peter Blanchard
  • Justice Andrew Tipping

The bench (with the exception of the Chief Justice, who had automatic appointment) were the most senior judges of the Court of Appeal. Their appointment to the new Court was said to have been based on seniority and merit. The Right Honourable Dame Sian Elias, GNZM, is Chief Justice of New Zealand, and is therefore the most senior member of the countrys judiciary. ...


Several acting Judges have also been appointed to sit whenever a permanant judge was unable to do so due to illness, or a conflict of interest. These judges were appointed from the retired judges of the Court of Appeal and including Justices John Henry, Edmund Thomas, former President of the Court of Appeal Sir Ivor Richardson and former Chief Justice Sir Thomas Eichelbaum. Acting judges only sit on substantive appeals, and not applications for leave, due to the requirement for appeals to be heard en banc by five judges. Court of Appeals is the title of certain appellate courts in various jurisdictions. ... The name John Henry has several different meanings. ... En banc or in bank is a term used to refer to the hearing of a case by all the judges of a court. ...


On 4 May, 2005 the Attorney-General, Michael Cullen announced the appointment Justice John McGrath of the New Zealand Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court bench. Justice McGrath's appointment is due to take effect later this year following the retirement of Justice Sir Kenneth Keith. May 4 is the 124th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (125th in leap years). ... The Attorney-General is an political office in New Zealand. ... The Hon. ... John McGrath is a British playwright. ...


Controversy

Although proposals for an indigeonous final appellate court can be traced back over a number of years, the creation of the Supreme Court was controversial. The Supreme Court Act was passed by a relatively small margin - the governing Labour and Progressive parties, supported by the Greens, voted in favour, while the National, New Zealand First, ACT, and United Future parties voted against. Opposition parties unsuccessfully called for a national referendum on the matter. The legal profession in general were opposed to the creation of the new court, and members were generally concerned that such an important legal change was forced through in the face of heated opposition. The New Zealand Labour Party is a New Zealand political party. ... Current Progressive Party logo The Progressive Party (initially the Progressive Coalition) is a political party in the New Zealand Parliament. ... Current Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand logo The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand is a political party in the New Zealand parliament. ... Current National Party logo The New Zealand National Party currently forms the second-largest (in terms of seats) political party in the New Zealand Parliament, and thus functions as the core of the Opposition. ... Current New Zealand First logo New Zealand First is a political party in New Zealand. ... Current ACT New Zealand logo ACT New Zealand is a free market liberal party in the New Zealand Parliament. ... Current United Future logo United Future New Zealand is a political party in the New Zealand parliament with eight MPs -- seven list MPs, and one electorate MP, leader Peter Dunne (see MMP for the difference). ...


One issue that was particularly contentious as the Bill was being debated in Parliament was the appointment of judges to the Court, with opposition parties claiming that the Attorney-General, Labour's Margaret Wilson, would make partisan choices. These concerns were due to the fact that the entire bench was to be appointed simultaneously, and no clear statement had been made about how they would be selected. However, the level of concern was considerably lessened when Wilson announced that the appointments would be based on merit and seniority. Nevertheless, the issue of appointments still lingers; while the appointment of Justice McGrath was expected and unsurprising (McGrath being the next most senior judge on the Court of Appeal) whether future appointment will follow the same pattern remains unclear. A bill can be one of: in American English, paper documents used as currency (notes in British English): see Banknote. ... The debating chamber or hemicycle of the European Parliament in Brussels. ... The Attorney-General is an political office in New Zealand. ... Margaret Wilson (20th May 1947 - ) is a New Zealand politician. ...


See also: Republicanism in New Zealand Republicanism in New Zealand is the movement to change New Zealands status as a Commonwealth realm as a constitutional monarchy to that of a republic. ...


Cases

One of the grounds advanced for the creation of the Court was that it would allow more people to have access to the country's highest appellate court. The Supreme Court is likely to hear many more cases than were heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council due to its jurisdiction being considerably broader. For example, cases in the areas of employment, criminal or family law can be heard by the Supreme Court, whereas previously cases in both areas of law could normally progress no further than the Court of Appeal. The proximity of the Court is another factor that is likely to contribute to it hearing an increased number of appeals and also allows appeals to be heard and determined considerable faster than under the former system. An appellate court is a court that hears cases in which a lower court -- either a trial court or a lower-level appellate court — has already made some decision, which at least one party to the action wants to challenge based upon some legal grounds that are allowed to be... The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is one of the highest courts in the United Kingdom. ... Court of Appeals is the title of certain appellate courts in various jurisdictions. ...


The first substantive case to be heard by the Supreme Court was the matter of Donna Awatere Huata's expulsion from Parliament. Her former party, ACT, was appealing a decision by a lower court which invalidated attempts to expel her. The case began on 5 October 2004, and the court issued its judgement (unanimously in favour of ACT) on 18 November. Donna Lynn Awatere Huata (sometimes written Awatere-Huata) is a former member of the New Zealand Parliament. ... Current ACT New Zealand logo ACT New Zealand is a free market liberal party in the New Zealand Parliament. ... October 5 is the 278th day of the year (279th in Leap years). ... 2004 is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... November 18 is the 322nd day of the year (323rd in leap years), with 43 remaining. ...


The court's second decision related to the case of Ahmed Zaoui, an Algerian asylum-seeker detained by the government because the Security Intelligence Service considered him a threat to national security. The Supreme Court decided to allow Zaoui to be released on bail, against the wishes of the government. Ahmed Zaoui is an Algerian refugee who sought residency in New Zealand in 2002. ... The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS or SIS) is an intelligence agency of the New Zealand government. ...


Since then, the Court has heard a further 11 substantive appeals (with decisions released in nine of those), along with approximately 55 applications of leave to appeal.


Leave

Unlike some other final appellate courts internationally, there is no automatic right of appeal to the Supreme Court of New Zealand. All appeals are first required to apply to the Court for leave to appeal. This is granted or declined based on a number of factors listed in the Supreme Court Act, with the overarching principle being that it must be necessary in the interests of justice for the Court to hear the appeal. Leave applications are normally determined by any two judges of the court based on the written submission of the parties without an oral hearing; however, the judges hearing the application can decide to hold an oral hearing if they wish.


This system is also in place in the United Kingdom where the House of Lords Appellate Committee, the highest court of appeal in the United Kingdom, also must grant leave for appeal for cases to be heard before it. Similarly, most litigants seeking to appeal to the United States Supreme Court or the Supreme Court of Canada require leave before their case can be heard - although there are some exceptions to this in both courts. This article is about the British House of Lords. ... This article is about the legal term. ... The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States... The Supreme Court Building in Ottawa The Supreme Court of Canada is Canadas highest court and is located in the capital city of Ottawa. ...


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