18 May 2016
Law Commission President appointed
Justice Minister Amy Adams today announced the appointment of Douglas White QC, Donna Buckingham and Helen McQueen as new members of the Law Commission, each for a term of five years.
“Between them, these three new appointees have a tremendous depth of experience and know-how, and bring a fresh perspective to one of the justice sector’s most important policy institutions,” Ms Adams says.
In 2009-2012 the Commission had an active project under the title "Alternative Models for Prosecuting and Trying Criminal Cases”, pursuant to a reference advanced by its then-Minister (Hon Simon Power). The reference was to “undertake a high level review of pre-trial and trial processes in criminal cases”. The Commission released an issues paper, Alternative Pre-trial and Trial Processes: Possible Reforms (IP30, 2012), and received over 500 submissions, for which it was grateful. Work on the reference was then halted by direction of the then-Minister (Hon Judith Collins).
The Law Commission's latest report, Pecuniary Penalties: Guidance for Legislative Design (R133, 2014) was tabled on 30 October 2014. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions to punish and deter misconduct in a number of regulatory regimes. They were first used in 1986 in the Commerce Act 1986 and now appear in 18 Acts of Parliament.
In their report Liability of Multiple Defendants (R132, 2014), which was tabled in the House of Representatives today, the Law Commission recommends that the existing rule of “joint and several liability” be retained, with some modifications.
Joint and several liability provides that where two or more persons (defendants) are liable to a person they have harmed (claimant) for the same harm or loss, they are each individually liable for all the damages awarded for the loss.
The President of the Law Commission, Hon Sir Grant Hammond, comments: