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Gary Judd KC on why the Court of Appeal should have ruled against Waitangi Tribunal’s summons of Minister Karen Chhour

Summarised by Centrist

According to Gary Judd KC, the Court of Appeal erred in allowing the Waitangi Tribunal’s attempt to summon Minister for Children, Karen Chhour, to proceed. 

He argues that the Tribunal is an advisor, not an adversary, to the Minister. 

Judd KC writes: “Crown lawyers advanced arguments which elevated the Tribunal’s status. This is consistent with the public service attitude that advancement of Treaty matters is a wholly desirable activity, but does not serve the government and the general public in the way it and they should be served.” 

The High Court originally ruled against the Tribunal ordering Chhour’s appearance based on the principle of comity – each branch of government should treat the others with respect. 

However, while Judd KC agrees with denying the request, he argues the Court, on the issue of comity, treated the Tribunal as an aspect of the Judicial branch of government when it is not. 

Then, according to Judd KC, the Court of Appeal’s ruling, which allowed the summons to proceed, erred by overlooking the Tribunal’s function to advise the Executive branch – Cabinet and the government departments or ministries. By summoning the Minister, the Tribunal seemingly adopted an adversarial stance, contrary to its advisory role. 

Additionally, the Tribunal’s jurisdiction pertains to claims of prejudice by Māori against Crown policies, which do not require the Minister’s presence to validate. 

Judd KC concludes that the Tribunal’s actions, therefore, appear  improperly to serve politically motivated purposes. 

Read more over at The Platform

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