High Court judge appeals for feedback

by Hannah Norton11 Mar 2015
High Court judge Simon France has put a call out to the legal profession for feedback about the Criminal Procedure Rules 2011.

The Criminal Rules Sub-Committee – of which Justice France is the chair – has been tasked with assisting the Rules Committee, and reviewing how the rules are working.

One change being considered is reducing the number of days required to file formal statements before the trial call over from 25 working days to 15.

“The present requirement is that they be filed 25 working days before the trial call over. This timeframe seems to be the subject of routine extension.  It is undesirable in principle to have a situation such as that, and of course it means that on each occasion there needs to be an application,” Justice France said in a report released last week.

“A proposal to alter the date to 15 working days, thereby aligning it with the Crown memorandum, is presently being consulted on.  Replies to date are supportive of the change.”

“If there are aspects of the Rules that you consider could be improved – either in their content or implementation – please raise it with a Committee member, or one of the professional bodies.”

An example of monitoring the implementation of the Rules is the case management memorandum (CMM), Justice France said.

Following feedback the committee worked with the Ministry of Justice to develop a new version, which is currently being tested in Christchurch.

“The early response is positive, and it is hoped that a wider implementation will soon occur.”

Justice France said the Committee is also reviewing existing practice notes.

“The aim is to convert as many as possible to Rules, so as to reduce the number of rule sources to which practitioners must go.  Many Practice Notes are in fact obsolete and will be discontinued.  It is hoped in the near future to incorporate the Sentencing Practice Note into the Rules, after which decisions will be made on the remainder.”

The Sub-Committee is comprised of Justice France, Chief High Court Judge Justice Helen Winkelmann, Judge Bruce Davidson, David Jones QC, Crown Law manager of mutual assistance Charlotte Brook, Meredith Connell Partner and Crown prosecutor Mark Harborow, Manukau Deputy Public Defender Lynn Hughes and the Ministry of Justice’s Megan Anderson.