6 March 2008

Boy-racers, road closures, and "public disorder"

> ThePress: "Mayor's car ban aims to foil boy racers" I continue to have concerns about the use of executive power by Mayor Parker to temporarily close roads, in order to address problems arising from boy-racers. The use of the power continues to be unorthodox and potentially unlawful. I've previously discussed some of the issues that arise: > LAWS179: "Boy-racers and executive road closures" Of course, central to this determination is the assessment or judgement about whether "public disorder ... is anticipated". Obviously this involves an on-the-ground factual assessment. It may be the possibility of conflict this weekend would satisfy that criterion - I don't have a sense of the history of conflict involved with the one-off event. However, I'm more concerned about suggestions that such a ban could be used on a routine basis to address the purported "annoyance" caused by boy-racers. In my view, it is unlikely that these concerns rise to the level of public disorder required to close a road.

1 comment:

Andrew D said...

That stretch of Oxford Tce should probably be permanently closed to all vehicles except taxis. It's no help getting from A to B, it's mainly just a thoroughfare for picking people up from the adjacent bars, restaurants and shops and in the evenings it is a zoo.

On the other hand, the suggestion of closing a major arterial route out of the city like Moorhouse Ave is just astonishing, perhaps a bit like closing Taranaki St because the nightlife on Courtenay Pl had gotten a bit lively (well actually it doesn't make quite that much sense because it is already a bit out of town). Of course the Police wisely decided against this option.

Course Outline

Lord Justice Lawton in Maxwell v Department of Trade and Industry [1974] 2 All ER 122 said:

"From time to time ... lawyers and judges have tried to define what constitutes fairness. Like defining an elephant, it is not easy to do, although fairness in practice has the elephantine quality of being easy to recognise. As a result of these efforts a word in common usage has acquired the trappings of legalism: 'acting fairly' has become 'acting in accordance with the rules of natural justice', and on occasion has been dressed up with Latin tags. This phrase in my opinion serves no useful purpose and in recent years it has encouraged lawyers to try to put those who hold inquiries into legal straitjackets.... For the purposes of my judgment I intend to ask myself this simple question: did the [decision-maker] act fairly towards the plaintiff?"

This course examines the elephantine concept of fairness in the law, along with other contemporary legal issues.

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