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Legal History

English Laws Act 1858
⊕ Passed by the New Zealand Parliament
⊕ The Act stated that New Zealand inherited all the laws of England as at 14 January 1840
⊕ Inherited the statutory and common law
Act of Union 1707
⊕ Created the United Kingdom of Great Britian
Trial by Ordeal
⊕ A physical test where the outcome was determined by God
⊕ Trial by fire - the accused was burned and if the wound did not heal, the accused was found guilty. If it healed, it was assumed that God had intervened to protect the person and they were found innocent
⊕ Trial by water - the accused was put in a pond. If they floated the verdict was guilty as the pure water could not receive the sinful person, if they sank the accused was found innocent as the water had received them
Trial by Battle
⊕ Two people would settle their issue with a joust or sword fight or hand-to-hand combat. If you won the fight, God was believed to be on your side and you were innocent
⊕ The invasion of the Norman people in England
⊕ They were from Northern France
⊕ William the Conqueror was their King
⊕ He was England's first absolute Monarch
⊕ Imposed his power across the whole land
⊕ Every court then followed his direction - it became consistent and common - giving way to the concept of 'common law'
⊕ Henry II reigned throughout this time
⊕ He is credited with improving the royal court structure and transforming the jury system into the one we use today
⊕ The writ system played a vital role throughout his reign
Signing of the Magna Carta 1215
⊕ The nobility wanted more power so they eventually forced the King to sign and agree to their demands, such as;
⊕ Consultation over taxation
⊕ The right to be tried before a jury of their peers
⊕ A role in national decision making
Statute of Westminster 1275
⊕ Introduces the 'Rule of Law' into legislation
⊕ Oldest piece of legislation in New Zealand law
⊕ Model parliament introduced by Edward I
⊕ New Zealand's parliament based on this
Magna Carta 1297
⊕ This document was formally incorporated into legislation during Edward I's reign
⊕ Still part of the New Zealand legal system under the Imperial Laws Application Act 1988
⊕ By law the King had to consult with Parliament before raising taxes, confirmed the right to be tried before a jury of your peers and also gave a role in national decision making
Act of Supremacy 1534
⊕ Passed by Henry VIII
⊕ This Act made him legally head of the church he created, The Church of England
⊕ Leading citizens had to swear and Oath of Supremacy recognising his new powers
⊕ Sir Thomas More did not
⊕ James I declared that whenever common law and equity conflicted, equity would prevail
Petition of Rights 1627
⊕ Charles I signed this document, under pressure from the parliament
⊕ It petitioned the King to desist from raising taxes without Parliament's consent, and from breaching civil rights through arbitrary arrests and the imposition of marshall law
Habeas Corpus Act 1640
⊕ This act incorporated the rights of accused people after arrest
⊕ English Civil War between the Monarchy and Parliament
⊕ Parliament were victorious
⊕ Monarchy restored
Bushell's Case 1670
⊕ This case established the right of a jury to be free from judicial coercion
⊕ It was established that a judge can not bully a jury into reaching a certain verdict
Bill of Rights Act 1688
⊕ Signed by William III
⊕ Guaranteed the rights and powers of Parliament and also protected important personal liberties
⊕ England became a constitutional monarchy
⊕ Prevents the monarchy from suspending laws, raising taxes without Parliament's consent
⊕ Subjects could petition the Monarch
⊕ Have the right to bear arms (although Roman Catholics were exempt)
⊕ Parliamentary procedure is protected, including free elections and freedom of speech in Parliament
⊕ Due process is protected, including provisions against excessive bail, torture and the bullying of jurors
⊕ An example of the use of the Bill of Rights Act 1688 being used in a New Zealand case was in Fitzgerald v Muldoon
Entick v Carrington 1765
⊕ Upheld the rights of all individuals to be free from unreasonable search and seizure by the state
⊕ CJ Lord Camden ruled the search illegal as it was not based on any legislation or a common law precedent
⊕ Still applicable in New Zealand today
⊕ Captain James Cooks proclamation of sovereignty over New Zealand
⊕ This lapsed as it was not immediately followed by settlement
Declaration of Independence 1835
⊕ Organised by British resident James Busby
⊕ A number of northern chiefs (The United Tribes of New Zealand) signed this declaration proclaiming their national independence and asking the Crown for recognition and protection
⊕ The document lacked regional coverage and the annual congress did not meet until the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, 5 years later
⊕ The boundaries of the British colony of New South Wales was extended to include New Zealand
⊕ This was pending Britain's acquisition of sovereignty over New Zealand
February 1840
⊕ 6th February 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed
⊕ Between Hobson as a Crown official and most Maori chiefs of the Northland region
May 1840
⊕ Hobson issued a proclamation that sovereignty over the North Island of New Zealand had been gained by cession and the South Island by discovery
October 1840
⊕ The proclamation's were gazetted in London and New Zealand officially became British
November 1840
⊕ A Letters Patent was issued creating New Zealand as a Crown colony
⊕ New Zealand was now separate from New South Wales
R v Symonds 1847
⊕ A case set up by the Crown to test the pre-emption clause in Article 2 of the Treaty of Waitangi
⊕ CJ William Martin & J Henry Chapman ruled in favour of Symonds as he had a Crown grant and only Crown grants could be recognised in the courts
⊕ The outcome relied on common law not the Treaty of Waitangi - but the treaty affirms what is already existing in common law
⊕ The decision recognised native title and that only the Crown can extinguish it
New Zealand Constitution Act 1852
⊕ This Act allowed for two houses of parliament in New Zealand
⊕ The House of Representatives (the lower house) who passed the legislation and had more power than the Legislative Council (the upper house). Appointed by the Governor and it acted as a check on the House of Representatives
⊕ This Act included several entrenched provisions that could only be amended by Britain
⊕ This act only allowed for New Zealand to make laws for the peace, order and good government of New Zealand - they could not conflict with British law
The Native Lands Acts 1862 & 1865
⊕ Established the Native Land Court
⊕ Aimed to transform communally owned Maori land into individualised freehold title that could easily be sold to settlers
New Zealand Settlements Act 1863
⊕ A statute that was passed in order to confiscate Maori land
Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865
⊕ Extended the independence of the New Zealand legislature
⊕ New Zealand could now make laws that conflicted with that of Britain, so long as the laws did not extend to New Zealand specifically
Maori Representation Act 1867
⊕ Increased the role of Maori in the New Zealand legal system
⊕ Created four Maori seats in parliament
The English Judicature Acts 1873 & 1875
⊕ Combined the administration of common law and equity and created a Supreme Court covering all jurisdictions
⊕ The New Zealand provincial system was abolished
⊕ New Zealand was too small to sustain this type of government set up
⊕ This caused the New Zealand government to become more and more centralised
Wi Parata v Bishop of Wellington 1877
⊕ This decision was made after the Maori land wars of the 1860's
⊕ Race relations were not the best - not as good as they were in the R v Symonds case
⊕ CJ Prendergast believed that Maori could never claim sovereignty as they had no existing customary law, he labelled them as 'primitive barbarians'
⊕ He said there could be no reliance on the Treaty of Waitangi on the basis that Maori could not engage in the Treaty in the first place
⊕ He described the treaty as a 'simple nullity'
⊕ The ruling stated that unless Maori land was supported by a Crown grant, title could not be accepted or enforced in the courts
⊕ The Crown grant made to the Bishop was an act of state and could not be annulled in the courts
⊕ This grant implied that the Crown had exercised it's sovereign powers to extinguish native title
⊕ The treaty has no legal effect unless incorporated into a statute
Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. 1893
⊕ This case established the necessary requirements for contract formation
⊕ For a contract to be valid there needs to be an offer, acceptance and consideration
Electoral Act 1893
⊕ New Zealand the first nation to give women the vote
Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1894
⊕ New Zealand the first nation in the world to introduce compulsory arbitration
⊕ Promoted cooperation between employers and employees
⊕ Gave trade unions legal status and introduced minimum wage rates and enforceable employment conditions
⊕ Arbitration court was developed
Salomon v Salomon & Co 1897
⊕ Decision made in the British House of Lords
⊕ Confirmed separate legal identity of the limited liability company from an individual
Old Age Pensions Act 1898
⊕ New Zealand the first nation to set up a comprehensive pension system
⊕ Provided small regular payments to the 'deserving poor' of a certain age
⊕ Revolutionary but also racist as it excluded Asian New Zealanders
⊕ New Zealand became a dominion
Native Land Act 1909
⊕ Enshrined the Wi Parata view of native title
⊕ Native title could not be recognised unless supported by a Crown grant
Statute of Westminster 1931
⊕ Britain passed this act
⊕ The act was able to be adopted by dominions of the Commonwealth and it made the dominions self-governing
⊕ New Zealand took 16 years to adopt the statute
Donoghue v Stevenson 1932
⊕ Created the modern tort of negligence
⊕ Decision part of New Zealand common law
⊕ Duty to another party is breached causing a loss of some sort
⊕ Importance lessened in New Zealand due to personal injury negligence claims being resolved with the ACC fund from the Accident Compensation Act 1972
Woolmington v Director of Public Prosecutions 1935
⊕ Affirmed the right of a defendant/accused to be presumed innocent until proven guilty
Social Security Act 1938
⊕ Passed under a Labour Government
⊕ Provided 'cradle to the grave' government support in NZ
⊕ Includes the Superannuation benefit, Family benefit and the Unemployment benefit
Hoani Te Heuheu Tukino v Aotea District Maori Land Board 1941
⊕ During the WWII
⊕ Recognised the treaty as one of cession - not a simple nullity
⊕ Did support Prendergasts view that the treaty had no legally binding effect unless incorporated in a statute
⊕ Privy Council decision - highest court for New Zealand at this time
⊕ Privy Council ruling binds lower courts to adhere to this reasoning
⊕ Against article 2 of treaty "undisturbed possession of lands..."
⊕ Privy Council view the treaty as an international law document contrary to Predergasts view of the treaty
Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947
⊕ New Zealand adopted the Statute of Westminster 1931
⊕ New Zealand was the last dominion to do so
⊕ Made New Zealand self-governing
⊕ New Zealand were still unable to alter the Constitution Act 1852
⊕ Under s4 of the Statute of Westminster, New Zealand could request and consent to Britain passing legislation that could allow New Zealand to change the constitution
New Zealand Constitution Amendment (Request and Consent) Act 1947
⊕ New Zealand requested and consented to Britain passing law so New Zealand could change the Constitution Act 1852
New Zealand Constitution (Amendment) Act 1947
⊕ British Parliament gave New Zealand the power to change the Constitution Act 1852
Legislative Council Abolition Act 1950
⊕ New Zealand became a unicameral state
⊕ Only having the one House of Representatives
Crimes Act 1961
⊕ Criminal law was codified in an individual statute
Corbett v Social Security Commission 1962
⊕ Concerned access to official information
⊕ New Zealand Court of Appeal followed a Privy Council decision rather than a House of Lords one
⊕ Decided that the House of Lords had no formal jurisdiction over the New Zealand Courts
⊕ A landmark decision as the new separate Court of Appeal followed a precedent from the Privy Council and not the top court of England, the House of Lords
Maori Affairs Amendment Act 1967
⊕ Passed under a national government
⊕ Free up more Maori land for sale
⊕ Maori protested this and the act led to Maori civil rights movements in the 1970's
Bognuda v Upton & Shearer Ltd 1972
⊕ Affirmed the Corbett stance
⊕ Followed the Privy Council rather than the House of Lords
Accident Compensation Act 1972
⊕ Replaced the common law area of personal injury negligence with a communal insurance fund
Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975
⊕ Waitangi Tribunal Established
Fitzgerald v Muldoon 1976
⊕ Bill of Rights 1688 successfully used as a precedent in this case
⊕ Prime Minister Robert Muldoon issued a statement saying that the Superannuation Act 1974 was going to be repealed.
⊕ This was not within his powers and was illegal
⊕ It breached s1 of the Bill of Rights Act 1688
⊕ Parliament are the only body who can repeal legislation
⊕ It displayed undemocratic actions of the Prime Minister
Treaty of Waitangi Amendment Act 1985
⊕ Allowed the Waitangi tribunal to investigate breaches of the treaty that took place between 1840-1975
Constitution Act 1986
⊕ Repealed the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852
⊕ No power for Britain to make laws for New Zealand
⊕ Geoffrey Palmer played a key role in the development of this statute
⊕ Clearly outlines the different branches of government, The Sovereign, The Executive, The Legislature and The Judiciary
⊕ It is not a supreme law and is not entrenched
Te Weehi v Regional Fisheries Officer 1896
⊕ Challenged Prendergasts view in Wi Parata case
⊕ J Williamson recognised Maori customary fishing rights and native title - Article 2 of the treaty
Millar v Ministry of Transport 1986
⊕ Openly showed New Zealand taking an independent path with case law
⊕ Britain's influence was changing and slowly deminishing
Fair Trading Act 1986
⊕ Relied on by individuals when they allege to have been ripped off when buying goods and services
State Owned Enterprises Act 1986
⊕ New Zealand Maori Council v Attorney-General case concerned with s9 of this act
⊕ The act declares that the governments actions must align with the principles in the treaty of waitangi
Australia Act 1986
⊕ Britain no longer able to make laws for Australia
⊕ Same year and similar to New Zealand's Constitution Act 1986
New Zealand Maori Council v Attorney-General 1987
⊕ The principles of the treaty were defined in the Court of Appeal
⊕ Sought legal recognition for Maori
⊕ Addressed the place of the treaty within the legal system - State Owned Enterprises Act 1986
Disputes Tribunal Act 1988
⊕ Disputes tribunal set up
⊕ Takes pressure of the traditional courts
⊕ Different from Britain
New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990
⊕ Outlines the rights of individual citizens in relation to the state
⊕ Unique approach to human rights jurisprudence
⊕ Geoffrey Palmer played a key role in the development of this statute
Resource Management Act 1991
⊕ Environmental Law
⊕ The Environment Court set up
⊕ Geoffrey Palmer influential
⊕ Provided Maori with special rights as Tangata Whenua of Aoteoroa
⊕ Regulates the use of natural and physical resources in New Zealand
⊕ Any action in accordance with this act must be in accordance with the principles of the treaty
⊕ Consultation with Maori required under this act
Employment Contracts Act 1991
⊕ Employment Court established
Companies Act 1993
⊕ Limited Liability Businesses set up under this act
⊕ Salomon v Salomon & Co case law example
⊕ Corporate Law
Consumer Guarantees Act 1993
⊕ Relied on by individuals when they allege to have been ripped off when buying goods and services
Electoral Act 1993
⊕ Part of New Zealand's unwritten constitution
⊕ Ensures an election is held every three years
Human Rights Act 1993
⊕ Unique New Zealand approach
Privacy Act 1993
⊕ Used to gain official information that is personal to yourself
Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993
⊕ Embodies Maori land law
⊕ Prevents alienation of Maori land
⊕ Helps Maori to retain land
⊕ Maori customary land ownership strengthened
Simpson v Attorney-General 1994
⊕ A case showing New Zealand taking and openly independent path
Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997
⊕ Under this act New Zealand trained lawyers can practice in Australia and vice versa
Habeas Corpus Act 2001
⊕ Incorporates the rights of Habeas Corpus Act 1640
⊕ Rights of accused after arrest
Attorney-General v Ngati Apa 2003
⊕ Court of Appeal decision
⊕ Ngati Apa investigation into whether or not they have ownership claims on the Foreshore & Seabed in their rohe
⊕ Crown claimed ownership under common law
⊕ Crown had never extinguished Maori title of the foreshore and seabed
⊕ Ngati Apa needed to prove ownership in the Maori Land Court
⊕ The Maori land court could issue freehold title if Ngati Apa gave sufficient evidence supporting their claim
⊕ The government passed the Foreshore & Seabed Act 2004 - shows parliamentary supremacy
Families Commission Act 2003
⊕ Established the families commission
⊕ United Future idea that the labour government supported as they need United Future in their coalition to make a majority in the house
Supreme Court Act 2003
⊕ Made the Supreme Court
⊕ New Zealand's highest court
⊕ Abolished the right of appeal to the Privy Council
Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004
⊕ Took away Maori rights
⊕ Statute passed because of the implications that would be caused from the Attorney-General v Ngati Apa 2003 case
⊕ Guaranteed public access to the foreshore and seabed
⊕ regulated the use of the foreshore and seabed
⊕ protected existing maori customary rights associated with the foreshore and seabed
⊕ The anger this act caused with Maori led to the formation of the Maori Party
⊕ The act has been repealed by the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act