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Winkelmann, Hon Justice Helen --- "Foreword" [2015] NZLawStuJl 1; (2015) 3 NZLSJ ii

Last Updated: 19 July 2016



Reading each of these articles in preparation for writing this foreword was a time-consuming thing to do. The size of this volume attests to the size of the task. But I found myself quickly absorbed by the interest of the subject matter the writers have tackled and the quality of their analysis. Each has written on a subject of pressing and wide public interest. None has strayed into the area of abstruse academic writing.

A theme running through many of the articles is the risks associated with the accumulation and use of information in a digital age and how to begin to attempt to manage those risks. In her article “Navigating New Zealand’s Digital Future: Coding Our Way to Privacy in the Age of Analytics”,1 Mahoney Turnbull explains the concept of big data and the new digital terrain – or digital ecosystem – as she puts it. In her words, “big data has come. And it is trampling all over our privacy law”.2

This drive toward ‘big data’ does not occur in a vacuum. In the new digital environment, we can know and therefore we want to know. Business and governments want access to ‘big data’. Mahoney includes the lovely quote “In God We Trust. All others must bring data”.3 This article is an important contribution on the subject.

These articles elucidate just how complex and interconnected the policy and legal issues in the area of digital communication, data and terrorism are, and also how important it is that any legislative or judicial response

1 Turnbull, at 420.

2 At 469.

3 Ibid.

be well-considered and constructed. The comparative analysis of existing regulatory frameworks utilised by the authors will be of interest and use to policy-makers and practitioners.

Although these articles are not all about technology and information, its use and collection continues as a theme throughout. Michael Finucane contributes to the important recent discussion as to whether reporting should be allowed of an individual’s suicide.4 Again he takes a comparative approach, describing how the issue is addressed in other jurisdictions, and assessing our own Law Commission’s report on the subject.

In her article “The Needs of Young Women Offenders”,5 Allanah Colley describes how the particular needs of young women offenders are overlooked and so not adequately catered for in current youth justice and rehabilitative responses. She suggests the need for gender- specific programmes and, in any case, argues for better information so we can understand the drivers of crime for this group.

The title of Sarah Reese’s article “Rebuilding Babel: Negotiating Meaning in Multi-Lingual Legislation” had me hooked.6 Sarah Reese describes processes employed and difficulties encountered in jurisdictions where legislation is published in more than one language. However, the challenges and approaches she discusses are of relevance to all exercises of legislative drafting and interpretation, mono- or multi-lingual.

The Evidence Act 2006 has generated a lot of academic writing and case law in the nearly 10 years since its enactment. Many of the early controversies and uncertainties are now settled. One area which continues to develop is the continuing relevance of the common law,

4 Finucane, at 488.

5 Colley, at 471.

6 Reese, at 589.

and this is discussed in Megan Paterson’s article “From the Evidence Act to the Comfort of the Common Law”.7

I mention last James Tocher’s case note on Lewis Holdings v Steel and Tube Holdings Limited.8 James considers the history and theoretical rationale for the limited liability principle in corporations law. He argues that it should not apply in the case of wholly owned subsidiaries. I found particularly interesting how he places the emergence of the principle in Salomon v Salomon within its historical context.

Most of the issues discussed in these articles already come before the courts in one form or another. Cases concerning the operation of the digital “ecosystem” are beginning to appear and numbers will only increase. Judges will no doubt look to articles such as those in this publication as they translate the impenetrably technical into something which can be placed within a legal framework. I recommend the work of each of these diligent and original thinkers to you.

Helen Winkelmann

Justice of the Court of Appeal of New Zealand and Former Chief High Court Judge of New Zealand

7 Paterson, at 550.

8 Tocher, at 601; Lewis Holdings Ltd v Steel and Tube Holdings Ltd [2014] NZHC 3311, [2015] 2 NZLR 831.

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