Law Commission's 3 new tasks for 2016

  • 01/12/2015
Justice Minister Amy Adams (Simon Wong/File)
Justice Minister Amy Adams (Simon Wong/File)

The Law Commission has been given three new projects for next year.

Justice Minister Amy Adams has asked it to review the Search and Surveillance Act, the Property Relations Act and the Declaratory Judgments Act.

The search and surveillance laws were passed in 2012 and must be reviewed in 2016.

Ms Adams says the Law Commission will work with the Ministry of Justice.

"This joint review will consider how this law has operated since it was passed and whether changes are needed to respond to issues such as the impact of modern technology on the ability of police and other authorities to prevent and investigate crime," she said.

The Property Relations Act dates back to 1976 and was last reviewed in 2001.

It deals with how property is divided when a marriage, civil union or de facto relationship ends.

Ms Adams says it's a stressful and often complex process that affects thousands of New Zealanders every year.

"It's crucial that the law operates as effectively as possible and the review is designed to ensure that is the case," she said.

The Declaratory Judgments Act has been on the statutes since 1908.

It allows people to go to the High Court to clarify the meaning of a law or the legality of a situation.

Ms Adams says it's long overdue for reform and modernisation.

The minister says the Law Commission is close to completing a number of existing projects, including work on the law of contempt and a review of extradition laws.

It will soon report on ways to improve the court experience of victims in sexual offence cases and on changes to the law of self-defence.

The Law Commission is independent and its role is to review, reform and develop laws.

It has four members and its president is Justice Sir Grant Hammond.