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New Zealand : legal resources: Cases

Finding NZ case law

New Zealand is part of the common law tradition, so judicial decisions are a source of law, and the doctrine of stare decisis applies.

For NZ court decisions made prior to January 1 2004 the Judicial Committe of the Privy Council (London) was the final court of appeal.
Since 2004, NZ has an independent hierarchy - with the NZ Supreme Court the final court of appeal.

But NZ courts continue to consider developments in other common law countries - principally but not exclusively England & Australia - when reaching their own decisions.

The following three links are to subscription databases (requiring an Oxford SSO) which have NZ law reports or transcripts

Reliable sources of NZ court judgements (usually in the form of transcripts) on the free web

Printed resources now on Level 1

  NZ Court of Appeal (1867-1876) Cw New Z 100 C30
DCR District Court Reports (1980- ) Cw New Z 100 D40
  Important judgments .. Compensation Court
and Native Land Court 1866-1879
Cw New Z 100 F35
GLR Gazette Law Reports (1898/9 1952) Cw New Z 100 G20
NZILR NZ Industrial Law Reports Cw New Z 100 I40
NZLR New Zealand Law Reports (1883 - ) Cw New Z 100 N20
NZRMA New Zealand resource management appeals
Cw New Z 100 T21
  Reports of the Waitangi Tribunal (incomplete) Cw New Z 100 W10

In addition the LawBod has LRC Law Reports of the Commonwealth  at Cw Gen 100 L30 a series which claims to pick up " the key cases whose significance transcends local boundaries."

New Zealand's court structure

New Zealand is part of the common law or Anglo-American legal tradition.

There is a hierarchy of courts of ordinary jurisdiction, supplemented by a number of courts and tribunals with special jurisdictions. See the first link below to understand the various lines of appeal.

From 1840 to 2004 final appeals were heard in London, by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. In 2004 a New Zealand Supreme Court was established.

LexisLibrary - BCL and CaseBase

Butterworths Current Law (BCL) Archive to 2017. BCL was a fortnightly publication which noted, inter alia, case law developments.
Its archive is available to OU members via Lexis+ UK's International content (see link below).

Also available via Lexis is CaseBase "... a powerful, easy-to-use case citator and annotator covering over 100 Pacific and international report series, journals and unreported decisions from all major Australian and New Zealand courts and selected tribunals ... [it indicates] subsequent treatment of a case by other judgments, links to reports, journals and LawNow legislation, and alert flags notifying when a matter has a pending appeal (for selected Au jurisdictions - ACT, VIC, NT, WA and matters appealed to the HCA).
Case entries include case details (name, date decided, judges, court and citation), parallel citations, CaseBase signals which summarise the subsequent judicial consideration the case has received, a list of cases that have subsequently considered the case, a list of cases considered in the case, judicially considered words and phrases, catchwords, digests, articles considering the case, and, for online subscribers, a link to the full text of the decision or articles cited where available.
CaseBase is also an excellent bibliographic reference, with catchworded and annotated article entries covering over 100 journals from the Asia-Pacific Region."

Note. The English publication The Digest  shelved at KZ 4 still (it was formerly  The English & Empire Digest) includes leading NZ cases.