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Report 38

Succession Law

Homicidal Heirs

Table of Contents

The Law Commission is an independent, publicly funded, central advisory body established by statute to undertake the systematic review, reform and development of the law of New Zealand. Its purpose is to help achieve law that is just, principled, and accessible, and that reflects the heritage and aspirations of the peoples of New Zealand.

The Commissioners are:

The Honourable Justice Baragwanath – President
Leslie H Atkins qc
Joanne Morris obe
Judge Margaret Lee
DF Dugdale
Denese Henare onzm

The Director of the Law Commission is Robert Buchanan

The office is at 89 The Terrace, Wellington
Postal address: PO Box 2590, Wellington 6001, New Zealand
Document Exchange Number: sp 23534
Telephone: (04) 473–3453, Facsimile: (04) 471–0959

Report/Law Commission, Wellington, 1997

issn 0113–2334 isbn 1–877187–06–2

This report may be cited as: nzlc r38

Also published as Parliamentary Paper E 31AA

15 July 1997

Dear Minister

I am pleased to submit to you Report 38 of the Law Commission, Succession Law: Homicidal Heirs.

Earlier this year the Minister in charge of the Public Trust Office asked the Commission, as part of its project to review the law of succession, to expedite its work on the effect of homicide on rights of succession. That Minister’s interest in the subject was aroused in part by problems demonstrated by the case of Hunter’s Estate: Farrell v Public Trustee (unreported, HC, Auckland, 20 November 1996, M505/94). This report is our response.

The need for homicidal heirs legislation was identified more than 20 years ago by the former Property Law and Equity Reform Committee: The Effect of Culpable Homicide on Rights of Succession (1976, Report 24). The Commission agress with the Public Trust Office’s view that to preserve estates, often of only modest value, there should be statutory rules settling the terms of public policy and spelling out plainly a killer’s rights and disentitlements.

The Commission recommends the enactment of the draft Succession (Homicide) Act included in this report.

Yours sincerely

The Hon Justice Baragwanath

The Hon Douglas Graham MP
Minister of Justice
Parliament House

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