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.

 

Case number
[2021] NZHC 2454
Date of Judgment
20 September 2021
Summary
A judgment refusing the plaintiffs' application for an order that, should Southern Response enter into any settlements with class members who opt out of the proceeding, a sum representing 15 per cent of the settlement should be set aside as money which could later go towards the plaintiffs' litigation and funding costs. The High Court holds that the balance of convenience  is against requiring any part of such settlement funds to be set aside.
Media Release
Media Release (PDF, 182 KB)
Case number
[2021] NZHC 2453
Date of Judgment
20 September 2021
Summary
A judgment dealing with an amended application of Southern Response in relation to its proposed communications with class members. Southern Response's communications are considered and forms are approved subject to some amendment. Directions are made as to timing.
Media Release
Media Release (PDF, 182 KB)
Case number
[2021] NZHC 2452
Date of Judgment
20 September 2021
Summary
A "notification" judgment, identifying the Court's requirements in relation to the notice which the plaintiffs must provide to all class members about their rights to opt out. The judgment deals with matters of form, content, timing and distribution. Directions are made in relation to those matters and the Court approves a number of forms. The opt-out date is identified as 20 December 2021.
Media Release
Media Release (PDF, 182 KB)
Case number
[2021] NZHC 2451
Date of Judgment
20 September 2021
Summary
A decision providing detailed reasons as to the Court's powers to supervise communications between the defendant (Southern Response) and the class members.
Media Release
Media Release (PDF, 182 KB)
Case name
Case number
[2021] NZHC 2450
Date of Judgment
17 September 2021
Summary
Sentencing of Nathan Frost for double murder of his father and half-brother.  Sentence of life imprisonment on each charge with MPI of 20 years.
Case number
[2021] NZHC 2330
Date of Judgment
07 September 2021
Summary
Appeal from Family Court decision. FC found that copyright in paintings created during relationship were not relationship property.  FC also fixed occupational rent at $300 a week.
HC held: appeal allowed in part. Copyright in the paintings is relationship property. Mr Palmer also entitled to receive half the paintings by value created during the relationship.  Occupational rent a reasonable amount in circumstances.  Copyright issue remitted to FC.
Case number
[2021] NZHC 2325
Date of Judgment
06 September 2021
Summary
The Court imposes a penalty of $770,000 on CLSA for breaching the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 by failing to conduct customer due diligence, terminate relationships, report suspicious transactions, and keep records.

CLSA admitted the breaches which relate to transactions undertaken by 10 different customers between 2015 and 2018 with a total value of NZD$49.5 m (NZD$40.8 m of which relates to two customers). This was a small proportion of the number and value of transactions undertaken by CLSA at the time. The penalty reflects the seriousness of the breaches and incorporates a discount for admissions and cooperation.
Case number
[2021] NZHC 9999
Summary
see attached summary of court engagement
Case number
[2021] NZHC 2261
Date of Judgment
30 August 2021
Summary
Application for interim relief requiring temporary visas to be issued to six Afghan nationals at Kabul airport to allow evacuation declined. Applicants had position to preserve, an arguable case and discretionary factors in their favour. But difficult evacuation decisions had been taken by Ministers, the Court was not in a position to address the applications and there was insufficient time for new decisions to be made, and the advice was that flights out were now unavailable for New Zealand evacuees in any event. Court declined to cut across decisions taken by Ministers in those circumstances.
Case name
Case number
[2021] NZHC 2117
Date of Judgment
13 August 2021
Summary
Mr Marsters appeared for sentencing having pleaded guilty to charges of murder, injuring with intent to injure and male assaults female. All charges relate to the same victim, Ms Chantel Wiki-O' Brien. Mr Marsters earlier accepted a sentence indication of life imprisonment with a minimum period of imprisonment ("MPI") of 12 years. Mr Marsters was on bail at the time he stabbed the victim three times in the chest before burning the car in which he left her body. Aggravating features included the use of a weapon (knife), offending while on bail, the vulnerability of the victim and the extent of loss resulting. Section 104 of the Sentencing Act 2002 was not engaged. An MPI of 14 years was appropriate for murder in light these factors with an uplift of six months for the remaining charges. A discount of two years was allowed for Mr Marsters' early guilty plea and six months for his personal, family, community and cultural background. Additional materials furnished for the sentencing hearing did not materially alter the circumstances already taken into account during the sentencing indication. No discount was given for remorse or rehabilitation. End sentence of life imprisonment with an MPI of 12 years. Concurrent sentences of 16 months' imprisonment on the charge of injuring with intent to injure and four months' imprisonment on the charge of male assaults female were imposed.
Case name
Case number
[2021] NZHC 2116
Date of Judgment
13 August 2021
Summary
Defendant sentenced to 11 months' home detention for two representative charges of ill-treatment against son and one representative charge of theft. Sentence indication set starting point at six years' imprisonment. No discount for defendant's Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another (FDIA) as not causative of offending. Five percent uplift for long-term psychological effects of offending on son. Total discount of 70 per cent for guilty plea, mental health, prospects of rehabilitation, family support, remorse and time on restrictive bail. Home detention suitable having regard to s 8(9) Sentencing Act 2002. Protection order under s 123B of the Sentencing Act [granted in favour of son against Ms H. Standard conditions and special conditions imposed on the sentence of home detention.
Case number
[2021] NZHC 2083
Date of Judgment
13 August 2021
Summary
Three men drowned in sinking of fishing vessel.
Whether Judge erred in awarding reparation for emotional harm on an individual basis rather than per family basis.
Whether reparation should have been less because the workplace offence of the employer was not the sole cause of the deaths and/or because the culpability of the offending was less than other cases.
Whether there was an error because the reparation ordered was outside the range of awards in other cases.
Whether an individual had to provide a victim impact report before an employer would have to pay emotional harm reparation for that individual.
Case number
[2021] NZHC 2077
Date of Judgment
11 August 2021
Summary
The negligence and Fair Trading Act claims brought against James Hardie New Zealand Ltd (now Studorp Ltd) by a represented class of homeowners fail.
James Hardie did not breach the duty of care owed by it to the owners of Harditex-clad homes.  Harditex was not an inherently flawed product or system, nor too difficult for builders to install.  It was fit for purpose, namely, to provide a waterproof cladding for New Zealand residential homes constructed in accordance with applicable standards and sound building practice.
James Hardie also discharged the obligation of a reasonable cladding manufacturer to provide adequate technical information to assist with the installation of its product.  It was reasonable for James Hardie to assume the target audience of this information would be competent builders with requisite experience in installing fibre-cement sheet cladding generally, from which Harditex was not materially different.  The evolution of the technical information reflected an awareness of decreasing building standards and the need for more comprehensive guidance.
There was no duty on James Hardie to warn consumers to weathertightness deficits.  The judgment concludes that Harditex is not fundamentally flawed, and thus there is no obligation on James Hardie to warn of deficits that did not exist.  The evidence does not indicate a belief, or that there should have been a belief that aspects of Harditex were failing or represented a risk which required special action.  James Hardie had no duty to warn consumers of the risks associated with untreated timber framing, a material which the regulatory scheme had specifically been amended to allow and which had no bearing on the performance of Harditex.  Further, the creation of Monotek, a newer and better cladding product by James Hardie cannot of itself require a manufacture to give warnings about deficits in its lesser product.
The homeowners’ Fair Trading Act claim significantly overlaps the negligence claims and fails in its entirety.  James Hardie did not engage in conduct that was misleading or deceptive, or likely to be so.
Media Release
Media Release (PDF, 139 KB)
Case name
Case number
[2021] NZHC 2069
Date of Judgment
10 August 2021
Summary
Defendant sentenced on two representative charges of assault with intent to injure against two complainants. [Aggravating features include attacks to the head, multiple attackers, level of violence and extent of injury. Starting point of 18 months' imprisonment.  Discount of five per cent for remorse and rehabilitation, and 25 per cent for  guilty plea at an early stage. Adjusted sentence is short term of imprisonment so home detention considered. Given circumstances, home detention appropriately provides for rehabilitation and is least restrictive sentence available. Final sentence of six months' home detention.
Case number
[2021] NZHC 2002
Date of Judgment
04 August 2021
Summary
Successful application for an interim injunction by Waikato District Health Board against RNZ and further as yet unknown defendants. WDHB was subject to a cyber-attack, with its data being illegally obtained by persons unknown.  In July 2021, RNZ sourced documents concerning the stolen data online and published stories relating to that data, despite WDHB's requests to hold off. WDHB sought an injunction restraining RNZ and others from accessing stolen data without consent and to permanently delete that data or any copies. The application against RNZ was dealt with by consent and lthe application against the unknown defendants was dealt with on a without notice basis.  The overall justice of the matter meant that the privacy rights of the patients whose information was stolen significantly outweighed any public interest in publication.
Case name
Case number
[2021] NZHC 1968
Date of Judgment
30 July 2021
Summary
This was the third application under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 for customary marine title over an area of the takutai moana.  It related to an area on the east coast of the North Island. Held: The Court declined to grant customary marine title on the basis that the applicant group lacked the appropriate mandate and that if any group did hold the area in accordance with tikanga and has exclusively used it without substantial interruption since 1840, the Court was not satisfied that the applicant group reflected or represented that group. The applicant group were permitted to amend their application and make submissions on whether they should be granted a protected customary rights order and the scope of it instead, which they had previously sought.
Case number
[2021] NZHC 1963
Date of Judgment
30 July 2021
Media Release
Media Release (PDF, 47 KB)
Case name
Case number
[2021] NZHC 1843
Date of Judgment
21 July 2021
Summary
High Court imposes sentence of life imprisonment with a minimum period of 10 years' imprisonment for murder of neighbour by stabbing.
Case number
[2021] NZHC 1709
Date of Judgment
09 July 2021
Summary
Sentence following guilty pleas on charge of murder of 5 year old son, ill-treatment of a child (x3) and assault on a child, following sentence indication. Section 104 of the Sentencing Act 2002 applied because victim vulnerable due to his age. Primary enquiry whether 17 year statutory MPI manifestly unjust, based on assessment of sentence but for s 104. Aggravating features were victim's vulnerability and defencelessness, breach of trust, duration of abuse, level of violence, brutality, cruelty and callousness, initial failure to seek medical assistance and concealment, and victim impact. Starting point 18 years 3 months' imprisonment. But for s 104, would deduct up to 2 years for guilty pleas (legitimate delay - exploring legal options) and up to 1 year for personal circumstances (social- economic and cultural deprivation, instability, physical abuse (but insufficient causal connection) and antisocial personal disorder).Adjusted starting point at least 15 years 3 months. Not so markedly different from 17 years statutory MPI that it would be manifestly unjust to impose 17 year MPI. HELD: final sentence of life imprisonment with 17 year MPI. Concurrent sentences of 4 years' imprisonment for ill-treatment charges and 1 year's imprisonment for assault charge
Case name
Case number
[2021] NZHC 1605
Date of Judgment
01 July 2021
Summary
Sentencing of Mr Robinson for murder. Section 104 is not engaged and presumption of life imprisonment not displaced. Aggravating features of the offending included premeditation, actual violence with the use of a lethal weapon, the loss of life and harm caused and proximity to victim's home in which the offending occurred. The starting point for the MPI considered to be 14.5 years, accounting for second victim's injuries. Deductions of 18 months and six months made for guilty plea and cultural deprivation respectively. End MPI of 12.5 years. Sentence of seven years' imprisonment for wounding with intent to cause GBH to be served concurrently.
Case number
[2021] NZHC 1581
Date of Judgment
30 June 2021
Summary
see media release
Media Release
Media Release (PDF, 142 KB)