Chapter 1
Initial review under section 202: background, purpose
and guiding principles

Our process and consultation

1.18 Given that this review is not in the nature of a “first principles” review (our approach is discussed further below), and the relatively short period for review following receipt of the reference, we have not followed our usual process of releasing an issues paper after initial consultation, followed by further focused consultation and receipt of public submissions, culminating in a final report. Instead, given the technical and specialised nature of the Act, we have undertaken more targeted consultation.

1.19As the Law Commission has been monitoring the operation of the Act and responses to it since its coming into force, we had identified some key areas that would require our attention in this review. In 2011 we began to consult on those with the authors of one of the leading texts on the Act.17

1.20Upon receipt of the reference from the Minister, we contacted the Heads of Bench to seek feedback on any impressions or concerns that the judiciary might have with respect to the operation of the Act. The Law Commission has subsequently been in correspondence with the judiciary’s Evidence Act Committee (which was established prior to the commencement of this review to deal with Evidence Act issues and cases of significance).

1.21The Law Commission released a press release in April 2012 inviting comment and feedback on the operation of the Act from the public. We invited public submissions through our website. We wrote to the New Zealand Law Society, the Auckland District Law Society, and the New Zealand Bar Association at this time specifically inviting their input. We also invited comment from and met with the Crown Law Office and the Ministry of Justice to discuss their respective views on how the Act has “bedded in” and is operating on a day to day basis.

1.22In addition to this targeted consultation process, we considered that it would be appropriate to establish an advisory group comprised of key stakeholders and persons with particular expertise in the Act. This group involved representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Crown Law Office, the Public Defence Service, the New Zealand Law Society and academia. The Criminal Bar Association was also invited to nominate a representative to participate on the advisory group but did not do so. As our review has progressed, we sent initial drafts of our thinking on particular areas of the Act to this group for their comment and suggestions.

1.23We are very grateful to all who provided input, advice and assistance throughout our review. In particular, we acknowledge the contribution of the advisory group who gave generously of their time at a very busy period of the year to read and comment on papers. They also attended a day-long meeting to discuss issues.

17Richard Mahoney and others The Evidence Act 2006: Act & Analysis (2nd ed, Brookers, Wellington, 2010).