Chapter 1 ‚Äč

Principles underpinning the review

1.18The review will take a first principles approach, which will require the Commission to consider the fundamental basis for contempt of court. We set out below the key principles underlying the Commission’s approach to the review:

1. As an independent branch of government, the judiciary must be able to regulate conduct that tends to undermine the administration of justice.
2. In accordance with the rule of law, it is desirable that the laws of New Zealand be as clear and accessible to the country’s citizens as possible.
3. Parliamentary authority for all criminal offences is desirable from a constitutional perspective.
4. Whether in statute or common law, certainty and predictability cannot always be achieved in areas of law where judgement must be exercised between competing values.
5. Where a contempt is provided for by statute, the statute should be clear as to whether the old common law relating to that contempt is extinguished or remains relevant to assist interpretation.

1.19In Chapter 2, we begin by looking at issues common to all types of contempt, before taking a closer look at the contempts that are the focus of the review.