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New Zealand Law Commission

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The Law Commission is undertaking the succession project with the approval of the Minister of Justice.

The purpose of the project is to review, reform and develop

The ultimate aim is to have new succession legislation drafted in plain language which

The project has three main aspects:

Early in 1997 the Commission received a request from the Minister in charge of the Public Trust Office to expedite work on another, more general aspect of the law of succession: what happens if an estate beneficiary, say under a will, has unlawfully killed the will-maker? The answer to this general question is the subject of this report.

Our work on homicidal heirs has been especially helped by consultation with former Commissioner Professor Richard Sutton, Deputy Public Trustee Mr Brian Blacktop and the Public Trust Office’s legal advisors, and Senior Law Lecturer Nicola Peart. We have also had the benefit of our work being the subject of critical review by Professor Julie Maxton. Assistance in completing the report was received from Ross Carter, a Commission researcher. The Commission acknowledges and expresses gratitude to each of these people. We emphasise, however, that the views and recommendations expressed in this report are those of the Commission, and not necessarily those of the people and bodies who have helped us. The provisions of the draft Succession (Homicide) Act 199– were prepared by the Commission’s legislative counsel, Mr GC Thornton qc.

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