LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – Prime Minister Helen Clark is defending the decision to give up access to the Privy Council in favour of New Zealand’s own Supreme Court, reports the NZPA.
Yesterday a justice lobby group said last week’s decision of the judicial committee of the Privy Council to quash the murder conviction of David Bain confirmed that the abolition of future appeals to the Privy Council was a mistake.
The Campaign for the Privy Council called on New Zealand political parties to make the commitment to restore full access to the Privy Council.
Miss Clark told Newstalk ZB that access to justice had improved with the new Supreme Court.
Miss Clark said the Supreme Court could well have come to the same decision.
“We don’t know what the outcome would have been if this appeal had gone to the New Zealand Supreme Court. We simply don’t know that.”
The right to appeal from New Zealand-based courts to the Privy Council was abolished as from January 1 2004, with the establishment of the Supreme Court.
Appeals can still be made in cases where the Court of Appeal made its final judgment or decision before that date.
Miss Clark said in the past few criminal appeal cases made it to the Privy Council in London because of the distance and the cost.
“It so happens I believe that more criminal cases are starting to go up to the Supreme Court in New Zealand because justice is more accessible being rooted in New Zealand with the top appellate court there,” she said.