28 Sep 2013

Lawyers warn against blanket change

7:01 am on 28 September 2013

The Law Society is warning against blanket reform of the court system and says a more focused approach would work better.

Justice Minister Judith Collins is planning to make what she says is the biggest reform to the way courts are run in more than 100 years.

Ms Collins says some of the proposed court reforms will stop judges from taking too long to make a decision when they have reserved their judgement in a case.

A law would be passed requiring chief judges to set protocols for their courts about reserved decisions.

However, the convener of the Law Society's criminal law committee, Jonathan Krebs, says judges have been put under immense pressure by recent Government initiatives and the move could exacerbate the situation.

"If there are individual areas where there is concern about judicial delay, then a better approach might be to look at the individual circumstances and deal with those, rather than taking to the judiciary with some sort of brick bat," he says.

Mr Krebs says judges should not be made to rush decisions in the interests of getting a quick result.

Ms Collins says delays in the Employment Court where it can take up to two years for judgements to be issued are unacceptable.