Law Commission begins joint review of the Search & Surveillance Act 2012

Publication Date 
28 June 2016

The Minister of Justice has requested that the Law Commission and the Ministry of Justice review the operation of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012 and whether any amendment should be made to it.
That Act controls how police and some other government agencies search people or property or use surveillance devices for the purpose of investigating crime.

Law Commissioner, Associate Professor Donna Buckingham said:

“The Search and Surveillance Act 2012 created greater consistency and transparency in the way in which such search, seizure and surveillance powers were carried out, not only by police but also by other enforcement agencies. Now, four years later, it is time to review the Act’s operation and whether it remains fit for purpose.

“For example, the Act was drafted before cloud-based storage of data was commonplace. In the light of these and other developments, the Commission will be examining whether the investigative powers in the Act are sufficient for law enforcement purposes. We will also consider whether the safeguards that surround those processes are adequate.”
The Commission and Ministry of Justice will be calling for public submissions later this year and will report to the Minister of Justice by the end of June 2017.

Updates on the project can be found at the Commission’s website at