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dc.contributor.author Cox, Noel
dc.date.accessioned 2010-09-24T12:11:58Z
dc.date.available 2010-09-24T12:11:58Z
dc.date.issued 2010-09-24
dc.identifier.citation Cox , N 2010 , Parliamentary Privilege Revisited . Auckland District Law Society . en
dc.identifier.other PURE: 160459
dc.identifier.other dspace: 2160/5712
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2160/5712
dc.description Cox, Noel, ¿Parliamentary Privilege Revisited¿ (18th November 2009) Public Issues Committee of the Auckland District Law Society occasional paper en
dc.description.abstract According to the Privileges Committee, the law as established by this judgement shows that effective repetition could extend beyond defamation to obscenity laws, contempt of court, and incitement to racial disharmony and so on. Parliamentary statements are accorded absolute privilege with respect to defamation actions, in the Defamation Act 1992, s 13(1). If the proposed amendment were made only MPs would be protected by it. Currently MPs are forced to restrain their enthusiasm outside the confines of Parliament, but not within. If they defame a member of the public within the chamber of Parliament a victim¿s only recourse is the 1996 procedure, which allows them to enter a statement in the parliamentary record (Standing Orders 160, 163). While Speakers¿ rulings on un-parliamentary language provide a considerable degree of protection for Members of Parliament, non-Members are not protected at all within Parliament. If the proposed amendment were passed the former would have more protection, at the expense of the latter. The main effect would be to confer the absolute privilege that presently attaches to proceedings in Parliament on individual Members of Parliament. The amendment would apply to defamatory statements affirmed, adopted or endorsed outside the House, and also to contempt of court and other forms of liability. The Privileges Committee does not have an active role in punishing Members of Parliament for using parliamentary privilege improperly. Indeed, it does not inhibit their freedom of action within the Chamber. Rather than an expansion of the privileges of Members of Parliament it would be desirable to clarify that this privilege is limited to conduct within Parliament, and that even there it is qualified by a need to account to the Privileges Committee, which ought to be required to hear complaints from non-Members alleging that a Member has harmed their reputation. It might not be desirable to allow class actions, or require the Privileges Committee to hear claims that parliamentary privilege had been misused for personal gain, or in breach of, inter alia, the Human Rights Act. This could expose Members of Parliament to malicious complaints that could inhibit free speech. But where an individual is named in Parliament the Privileges Committee should be required to hold the Member to account if the allegation made is shown, to the satisfaction of the Privileges Committee, to be inappropriate. To adopt this proposal would have adverse consequences on three matters of principle. The privilege in relation to defamation was a collective privilege of the House, not personal to individual MPs. Privilege was a defence in defamation in all other fields is qualified, but would become absolute for MPs. The courts have held the doctrine of effective repetition to not be to question the proceedings of Parliament. To exclude the jurisdiction of the courts in this manner would be to affect the constitutional balance between the courts and the legislature. en
dc.language.iso eng
dc.publisher Auckland District Law Society
dc.title Parliamentary Privilege Revisited en
dc.type Text en
dc.type.publicationtype Report (commissioned) en
dc.contributor.institution Department of Law & Criminology en


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