The New Zealand Law Commission is undertaking a review of declaratory judgments after a request from the Minister of Justice.
An important judicial remedy, declaratory judgments provide parties with a convenient means to resolve a range of disputes without the need for further remedies.
It is a court’s legal determination of the legal relationship between parties including their rights and responsibilities in a certain justiciable matter without requiring any action be taken.
The Law Commission believes it will have a report along with recommendations for the Minister of Justice by April 2018.
“This is an area of the law ripe for reform. There is uncertainty in the scope of the remedy and significant complexity caused by the overlap between the various sources under which a court may find jurisdiction,” said Hon Douglas White QC, president of the Law Commission, in a statement.
“The Declaratory Judgments Act 1908, in particular, is in need of modernisation. It is outdated in its language and form. For example, section 3, the Act’s principal provision, is a single sentence of 172 words,” he said.
The Law Commission said that part of its comprehensive review of the matter is consulting with the public and key interested parties. It will also convene an “Expert Advisory Group”.