14 September 2010

Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Bill: The Law Commission's blueprint on emergency powers

In 1991 the Law Commission produced its Final Report on Emergencies (NZLC R22):


It makes for interesting reading and I think demonstrates how this Bill is inconsistent with the basic principles and safeguards relating to emergency powers and legislation.  This includes clear warnings against, amongst other things, broad delegation of power and exclusion of review by the courts.

[Hat-tip Geoff McLay for recalling its existence.]

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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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