Procedural Innovation: The First Supreme Court Rules of New South Wales and New Zealand

LexisNexis Butterworths
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Journal Article
Australian Bar Review, 2011, 35 pp. 128 - 151
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This article looks at the first rules of the Supreme Courts of New South Wales and New Zealand. In both colonies the first Chief Justice put in place simplified rules, appropriate, as they saw it, for the needs of a young colony in which there was a single superior court. This paper places these rules within the context of Empire and then examines two facets of them: initiating civil litigation and the relationship between law and equity in a single superior court. For colonial judges, the ability to draft their own rules was one of the most significant ways in which they could adapt English law to the circumstances of their own colonies and influence the development of the shape, form and development of their respective legal systems.Most importantly, many of their reforms were undertaken ahead of those in England and could have provided both inspiration for, and evidence of success of, simplifications that could easily be achieved.
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