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Supreme Court of New Zealand - recent judgments: November 2023

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A summary of decisions delivered in November 2023 by the Supreme Court, available on Westlaw New Zealand.

Rae v Commissioner of Police  [2023] NZSC 156

30 November 2023

Unsuccessful application by R for leave to appeal against the refusal by the Court of Appeal (CA) to recall a substantive judgment. Successful application for leave to appeal out of time against the substantive judgment. Unsuccessful appeal against the substantive judgment, which was in relation to restraining orders made over the bank accounts of two companies associated with R. He was alleged to have benefitted from money laundering.

The first leave application raised an issue about whether the Court had jurisdiction to hear the application or appeal against the CA’s refusal to recall, or whether the recall application had been an interlocutory application and s 74(4) Senior Courts Act 2016 prevented the granting of leave.


Armitage v Stylo Medical Services Ltd  [2023] NZSC 155

30 November 2023

Unsuccessful application by A for leave to appeal against a refusal to waive security for costs.


Seafood New Zealand Ltd v Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc  [2023] NZSC 154

24 November 2023

Successful application by SNZL for leave to appeal against dismissal of an appeal against a judicial review of a decision by the Minister of Oceans and Fisheries. RFBPS had brought review proceedings in relation to the setting of total allowable catch limits for terakihi.

The approved question was whether the Court of Appeal had been correct to dismiss SNZL’s appeal.


Cloud Ocean Water Ltd v Aotearoa Water Action Inc  [2023] NZSC 153

20 November 2023

Unsuccessful appeal by COWL against a judgment the Court of Appeal which had set aside decisions by ECan (Canterbury Regional Council / Kaunihera Taiao ki Waitaha) to grant water ‘take and use’ consents to COWL and another for the purpose of water bottling.

AWAI had applied for judicial review of ECan’s decisions to (a) allow the ‘use’ part of an existing water consent to be used for a different purpose and (b) issue a new ‘take and use’ consent that combined the original ‘take’ and the new ‘use’.


Singh v Auckland District Health Board  [2023] NZSC 152

17 November 2023

Unsuccessful application by S for leave to appeal against a Court of Appeal decision that had dismissed S's application for an extension of time to appeal and refused her name suppression. S was wanting to appeal against a 2018 decision by the Human Rights Review Tribunal which had dismissed her claim of discrimination against her former employer ADHB following S’s withdrawal of her claim.


Solicitor-General's Reference (No 1 of 2023)  [2023] NZSC 151

17 November 2023

Judgment of the Court on a question of law posed by the Solicitor-General. The question was whether the acquittal of one co-offender (A) meant that another co-offender (D) could not have been convicted.

D had been convicted of aggravated robbery under s 235(b) Crimes Act 1961 following his guilty plea. His fellow offender A had subsequently been acquitted of a charge under s 235(a) Crimes Act 1961 in relation to the same incident. The Court of Appeal had found that there was no reasonable basis for D's conviction (despite his plea) because he could not have been convicted of the offence when the fellow offender had been acquitted.


Linehan v Thames-Coromandel District Council  [2023] NZSC 149

10 November 2023

Unsuccessful application by L for leave to appeal against a finding of contributory negligence in relation to the issuing of code compliance certificates for remediation work on a leaky building. Damages awarded to L had been reduced by 50 per cent.


Van Silfhout v Pathirannehelage  [2023] NZSC 148

06 November 2023

Successful appeal by VS against an award of $5,000 to P, which was to be paid out of VS’s compensation payment. P was victim of an aggravated robbery by VS in July 2010. VS had been (a) arrested and remanded in custody in 2013, (b) sentenced in 2014 and (c) released in 2017. Had received a $12,000 compensation payment from Department of Corrections in January 2020 for a breach of his privacy.  P had made a claim to the Victims' Special Claims Tribunal in April 2020.

VS had appealed against the award of $5,000 to P on the grounds that P's claim was out of time. High Court and Court of Appeal had both found that pre-sentence detention was included in the calculation of time served, so P's claim had been brought within the six year limitation period. On appeal, VS argued that the wording of s 64 Prisoners' and Victims' Claims Act 2005 meant that only time spent in prison after sentencing should be included.


L v R  [2023] NZSC 146

03 November 2023

Successful application by L for leave to appeal against conviction for sexual offending.

The approved question was whether the Court of Appeal was correct to dismiss L's appeal. Arguments were to concentrate on the applicability of s 16(2)(b) Evidence Act 2006 to the facts.


Cridge v Studorp Ltd  [2023] NZSC 147

02 November 2023

Successful application by C and others for an extension of time to apply for leave to appeal against refusal by the Court of Appeal (CA) of their application to adduce further evidence. The CA had indicated that full reasons for the refusal would be included in their final judgment on the matter.


Re de Meyer and Anor  [2023] NZSC 145

01 November 2023

Unsuccessful application by M and another for a review of the Registrar's decision not to waive the filing fee for their application for leave to appeal.


A (SC 72/2023) v Attorney-General  [2023] NZSC 144

01 November 2023

Unsuccessful application by A for leave to appeal against dismissal of his claim for breach of his rights under s 23(5) New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. A had been assaulted by a fellow inmate while serving a prison sentence.

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