4 September 2017

Bennett, "Some have fewer human rights..."

Yesterday Paula Bennett, Police Minister and Deputy PM, said the following when announcing new measures to combat gangs, including some warrantless searches:
We just feel that there are some gang members that are creating more harm and continuing to.
Some have fewer human rights than others when they are creating a string of victims behind them ... there is a different standard.

Bill English, Prime Minister, also said:
...it's good that we don't have a written constitution it's enabled the country to deal with all sorts of issues in a practical effective way.

Below are some of my thoughts on this, reposted from a twitter thread from yesterday.

Today the Prime Minister has sought to walk the comments back: see www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/338621/fewer-human-rights-comment-a-mistake-english

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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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