High Court Judgments of Public Interest
This page provides access to judgments of the High Court in the last 90 days deemed to be of particular public interest.
More information about finding court judgments is available on the Judgments section of this website.
It is the responsibility of users of the information contained in these decisions to ensure compliance with conditions or other legal obligations governing access, release, storage and re-publication. See also the guide on statutory provisions that prohibit publication of certain information in certain circumstances (PDF, 211 KB). If in doubt you should consult the court that issued the decision(s). Judicial decisions are presented in PDF format to preserve the integrity of the documents.
HELD: sentence on manslaughter of 5 years, 2 months' imprisonment - sentence on blood alcohol offence of one year's imprisonment to be served concurrently - 4 years' disqualification from driving, to commence on release from imprisonment.
Decision on an application under r 5.49 of the High Court Rules to set aside an appearance under protest to jurisdiction. The parties are based in China. The plaintiff runs power stations. The defendant's company had contracts under which it sourced coal for power generation for the plaintiff. The plaintiff made an advance payment to the defendant's company. The defendant guaranteed repayment. The plaintiff also took security over the assets of another company in China. When the defendant's company did not repay, the plaintiff sued the defendant's company, t he defendant and the other company in the courts in China. The plaintiff was unsuccessful in enforcing the judgments in China. When it found that the defendant had assets in New Zealand, it brought this proceeding to enforce the Chinese judgment against the New Zealand assets. The defendant contests jurisdiction by alleging that China did not have "courts" as understood in New Zealand and under Chinese law the plaintiff had to exhaust its rights under its securities before it could enforce its judgment against him on his personal guarantee.
The appearance was set aside. It was held that the plaintiff had a good arguable case that the body that gave judgment against him was a court and there was nothing to suggest that there was anything improper in the way that the court had heard the case and given judgment against the defendant. As the Chinese court had enforced the judgment against the defendant in China without first requiring the plaintiff to enforce its mortgage security against the other company, the Chinese judgment was unconditional and could be enforced in New Zealand. The plaintiff can continue its claim in New Zealand.
Held: Legal test looks to relevance of the offending. To presume its relevance and weigh it against evidence of reform was erroneous.
Declaration made that certain limitation and exclusion clauses in IAG and Hawkins' favour in the Building Contract with Farrells are enforceable and are not an unconscionable bargain.
The Appeal has been allowed in part. While the possibility of a reframed question was discussed, the parties should have been given a formal opportunity to submit on the Reframed Question. The High Court found that while the Environment Court does not have jurisdiction to confer, declare or affirm tikanga based rights per se, the Court is able to make evidential findings about tikanga based rights where that is relevant to the discharge of the Act's duties to Maori. The High Court otherwise refused to answer the question about primary mana whenua without full argument and evidence. The Court also found that the Environment Court may assess the relative strength of relationship provided that the claim based on relationship is grounded in and defined according to tikanga Maori, is clearly directed to a statutory duty to Maori, and to a precise resource management outcome. The Court did not accept that this process involved the ranking of iwi. Rather, the Court found that where iwi claim that a particular outcome is required to meet the statutory directions at s6(e),7(a) and 8 in accordance with tikanga Maori, resource management decision-makers must meaningfully respond to that claim. That duty to meaningfully respond must apply when different iwi make divergent tikanga-based claims as to what is required to meet those obligations.
HELD: The criterion selected has a rational connection to the purpose of this particular debate which is styled as a "Powerbroker's Debate" with a focus on parties who may be key to the balance of power and deciding the next government. Dunne v CanWest TVWorks Ltd and Craig v MediaWorks Ltd distinguished on their facts and context. The prima facie case threshold for interim relief (which would be dispositive of the case) is not made out on the evidence before the Court . The balance of convenience does not favour the grant of interim relief and no additional overall justice factors supporting interference with media's editorial discretion.
On appeal, the High Court held Mr Johnston's company must pay for the bore which provides water it is going to use. The evidence did not provide a sufficient basis for Mr Johnston to claim McNeill had been deliberately deceptive. Mr Johnston's company claimed nearly $200,000 for costs it had incurred in establishing a pump for the bore and for loss of income from an apple orchard which Mr Johnston claimed he could not establish because the output from the well was inadequate. The High Court agreed the District Court Judge had been correct to dismiss this claim.
Held: Sentence of life imprisonment with 14-year MPI imposed. Section 104(g) clearly met given the victim's vulnerability, being only two years old and in a position of care and trust of the defendant. However, a 17- year MPI would be manifestly unjust. The defendant's mental illness, and the particular effect it had on the thinking and decision-making that led to the victim's death, reduced his culpability. A two-year reduction from the MPI was given in recognition of this. A further one year reduction was given in respect of his genuine remorse.
The charges arise out of an altercation on a residential street. Following an earlier incident, the deceased, the complainant, and four other men went to the defendant's family home late at night looking for a fight. The defendant's brother was being beaten on the ground by at least three if not more men, when the defendant came out waving a knife resulting in the stabbing of the deceased and the complainant.
The Court finds that self-defence is to be considered in determining involvement partly because it is the only opportunity the defendant will have to run that defence. On the facts of this case, the Court finds that the defendant was acting to defend his brother and himself at the time of the stabbings. Accordingly, self-defence is established and the defendant is found not to be "involved". The charges are dismissed.