17 Apr 2013

Govt promising legal shake-up for courts, judges

4:00 pm on 17 April 2013

The Government is taking up almost all of the recommendations contained in a major review of century-old legislation governing judges and the courts.

The Law Commission last year made 89 suggestions for changes to the Judicature Act, aimed at making the court system more flexible and transparent.

Justice Minister Judith Collins is planning several changes - one of which will require the Attorney-General to spell out exactly how it is decided who becomes a judge.

Another change would make it easier for the courts to limit the actions of vexatious litigants.

Ms Collins has decided against forcing the judiciary to file an annual report, as recommended by the Law Commission, nor will she set up a judges register of pecuniary interests.

Judges' expenses would, however, have to be published under the proposals.

The minister also plans to replace the Judicature Act and establish a new Senior Courts Act and will repeal the District Courts Act in a bid to modernise it.

A bill implementing the changes will be introduced later this year.