Under the Official Information Act, could you please send me copies of all teaching materials and transcripts of all verbal teaching presented to Judges, Masters or Justices of the Peace by any instructor on the topic of "Gender Equity", or any of its sub-topics.
I am sorry that this matter has taken some time to resolve but it has raised what has been regarded as an important issue relating to the independence of the judiciary.
... the Government believes there needs to be public debate on issues such as the meaning of open justice in respect to court records....
It is impossible to ensure the rule of law, upon which other human rights depend, without providing independent courts and tribunals to resolve, in the language of the ICCPR, competently, independently and impartially, disputes both of a criminal and civil character. The alternative to the rule of law is the rule of power, which is typically arbitrary, self-interested and subject to influences which may have nothing to do with the applicable law or the factual merits of the dispute. Without the rule of law and the assurance that comes from independent decision-makers, it is obvious that equality before the law will not exist.
The ongoing success of any freedom of information legislation is dependent on an understanding and acceptance of the ultimate goal of promoting more open and accountable government and protecting only that information which needs to be withheld in the interests of good government.
In our legislation this ultimate goal is expressly identified in ss.4 and 5 which set out the principle and purposes of the Act. The principle of availability in s.5 requires official information held by Ministers, departments, organisations and local authorities subject to the legislation to be made available unless there is good reason under the legislation to withhold it. S4(a) recognises that good government and respect for the law are fundamentally dependent on adequate, progressive disclosure of information to the people of New Zealand both:
“(i) To enable their more effective participation in the making and administration of laws and policies; and
(ii) To promote the accountability of Ministers of the Crown and officials
"a generous interpretation avoiding what has been called 'the austerity of tabulated legalism', suitable to give to individuals the full measure of the fundamental rights and freedoms referred to."
involve demanding information from and about a group of people who are in all other respects outside the scope of the Act.
To enable (the people of New Zealand's) more effective participation in the making and administration of laws and policies.
To protect official information to the extent consistent with the public interest and the preservation of personal privacy,
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom from discrimination on the grounds of discrimination in the Human Rights Act 1993.
(2) Measures taken in good faith for the purpose of assisting or advancing persons or groups of persons disadvantaged because of discrimination that is unlawful by virtue of Part II of the Human Rights Act 1993 do not constitute discrimination.
Everyone who is charged with an offence has, in relation to the determination of the charge, the following minimum rights:
(a) The right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial court:
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief, including the right to adopt and to hold opinions without interference.
Every person has the right to manifest that person's religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, or teaching, either individually or in community with others, and either in public or in private.
A person who belongs to an ethnic, religious, or linguistic minority in New Zealand shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of that minority, to enjoy the culture, to profess and practice the religion, or to use the language of that minority.
Gender 'is not in and of itself a justification for discriminating between offenders' (Hall 1998, page B173-4). Yet, the results of the multivariate modelling show that females are more likely than males to receive community service, community programme or no sentence and less likely to receive a prison sentence, periodic detention or a monetary penalty. Thus, gender differences in sentencing persist even after taking account of differences in the type and seriousness of the offence committed (e.g. the average seriousness of offences committed by women is lower than for men) and in the extent of previous offending (e.g. women have fewer previous convictions on average; section 3.1). Indeed, gender is the amongst the most significant variables influencing the probability of receiving a community service sentence or a monetary penalty.
The more discretionary the level of enforcement, the more heavily does the criminal justice system weigh in favour of the female.