Minister looks at court systems in Europe and UK   11 Jun 2010

New Zealand Government - Justice Minister Simon Power leaves for Europe at the weekend to look at inquisitorial systems of justice in Germany and Austria, and at the United Kingdom's Virtual Courts Pilot and legal aid reforms.

Mr Power said he was determined to improve the criminal justice system for those who are in it through no fault of their own, and the trip was designed to look at what works overseas.

"It's become very clear to me that the system is not serving those people well.

“Criminal procedure should be designed so victims are not re-brutalised by their participation in the process.

"For example, child victims who are forced to give evidence, under cross-examination, 12 months later for something that happened when they were five or six, or women who have been traumatised by an incident of sexual violence being made to explain and re-live that experience under cross-examination.

"That's not a satisfactory way to deal with those people.

"I'm interested in investigating whether aspects of the inquisitorial system of justice would serve that goal, and that's what I'll be looking at in Germany and Austria, where victims have a more recognised role in the process.

"Austria has a traditional inquisitorial system where the court’s role is to do everything in its power to establish the facts, including carrying out its own investigations if necessary. Germany has more of a hybrid system that incorporates both inquisitorial and adversarial approaches."

The recent report of the Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence noted that alternative trial and pre-trial processes could reduce the re-victimisation that many victims suffer during the adversarial criminal trial process.

“It is timely to re-evaluate the way our court systems operate.

“The fact that we have always done things a certain way does not mean we should continue to do things that way, or that there is no room for improvement.

"I'll make changes if these systems are working well in other jurisdictions."

The Virtual Courts Pilot in London aims to accelerate a defendant’s first hearing –from a few days to a few hours – in order to improve the service provided to victims, witnesses and defendants.

“There are strong links between the Virtual Courts Pilot and the Criminal Procedure (Simplification) Project we are working on in New Zealand, which is designed to bring greater efficiency to the criminal trial process."

Mr Power will discuss legal aid reforms with English Secretary of State for Justice, Kenneth Clarke QC, and Attorney-General Dominic Grieve.

England and Wales have the biggest legal aid system in the world. It has been undergoing significant reform in recent years, including moving to a more competitive model of funding based on price and quality.

“The reform of legal aid in New Zealand is one of my priorities and I'm looking forward to examining similar reforms in the United Kingdom.”

Mr Power will spend one day in each country.


Add a comment

Bookmark and Share


Have your say: NZ considers rules for medicinal cannabis

12 Jul 2019 Health By Hon Dr David Clark
More widespread access to medicinal cannabis products is a step closer today with the release of proposals for regulations says... more

Steps taken to secure the future of New Zealand House London

10 Jul 2019 News By Rt HON WINSTON PETERS
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says further steps are being taken towards securing the future of New Zealand House in... more


Minister Parker leads trade delegation to China

24 Apr 2019 Business News By Hon David Parker
Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker will lead a delegation of business representatives to China next week to advance the... more

Multinationals to pay fair share of tax

26 Jun 2018 Business News
26 JUNE 2018 HON STUART NASH New measures to ensure multinational companies pay their fair share of tax will come into force next... more


Kiwis Saving Kiwi - London fundraiser to save NZ's iconic national bird

3 Jun 2019 London
This is an opportunity for London Kiwis to become Kiwi Savers. We're not talking about our financial future here, but the very... more

Celebrating NZ wine: today is International Sauvignon Blanc Day!

3 May 2019 Food & Wine
Today, Friday 3 May, is International Sauvignon Blanc Day. Sauvignon Blanc is the variety that woke the world up to New Zealand wine,... more


New Zealand Government will not implement a Capital Gains Tax

17 Apr 2019 Property By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
The Coalition Government will not proceed with the Tax Working Group’s recommendation for a capital gains tax, Jacinda Ardern... more

More certainty in construction sector smooths boom and bust cycle

22 Aug 2018 Property
30 JULY 2018More certainty in construction sector smooths boom and bust cycle HON JENNY SALESA The 2018 National Construction Pipeline... more


Christchurch reinstated as refugee settlement location

18 Aug 2018 Migration
18 AUGUST 2018 HON IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY The announcement that Christchurch can once again be a settlement location for refugees... more

Post-study work rights emphasise skills NZ needs

8 Aug 2018 Migration
8 AUGUST 2018 HON IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY Changes to post-study work rights will help ensure international students coming to New Zealand... more


Arrival card change to smooth border process for international travellers to NZ

26 Sep 2018 Travel & Tourism By Hon Kris Faafoi
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 International travellers arriving into New Zealand should have a simpler, faster entry as a result of changes to... more

NZ Government to fully fund Auckand's SkyPath as part of $390m investment in walking and cycling

25 Aug 2018 Travel & Tourism
23 AUGUST 2018 HON PHIL TWYFORD HON JAMES SHAW Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Acting Associate Transport Minister James Shaw have... more


Looking to Lord's - The CWC19 Final awaits

14 Jul 2019 Cricket
Posted Friday, 12 July, 2019 in International News New Zealand or England will lift... more

Cricket World Cup 2019: England will face Black Caps in final after thumping Australia

12 Jul 2019 Cricket By Steve Douglas
Jul 12 2019 SKY SPORT England will play the Black Caps in the Cricket World Cup final after crushing Australia at Edgbaston. more


Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade

11 Nov 2016 Opinion
Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade First published on Werewolf The ghastly likes of Marine Le Pen in France and Geert ... more

Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome

10 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome Well um.. on the bright side, there (probably)... more

Kiwi Success

Congratulations to Loder Cup winner

26 Sep 2018 People By Hon Eugenie Sage
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 The Loder Cup, one of New Zealand’s oldest conservation awards, has been awarded to Robert McGowan for 2018... more

Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO

16 Aug 2018 Appointments
16 AUGUST 2018Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO HON JENNY SALESA Associate Education Minister Jenny Salesa is... more


Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers

14 Aug 2018 Recruitment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
14 AUGUST 2018Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON CHRIS HIPKINS Prime Minister The... more

Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers

22 Aug 2018 Recruitment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
14 AUGUST 2018Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON CHRIS HIPKINS Prime Minister The... more