In its own 50th year, the Legal Research Foundation held a conference Rights, Liberty and Equality: Runnymede to the Beehive on 25 September 2015 to mark 25 years of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and 800 years of Magna Carta. The conference was held at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland.
The conference considered what the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act has achieved – or failed to achieve – and what, if anything, should be added to the Act. Speakers at the conference considered the impact of the Act in specific areas including indigenous rights and the criminal law and will also look at recent decisions and current cases where the Act has been applied or invoked, including cases relating to prisoner voting and end of life issues.
Broader issues of equality and liberty were also be explored, including the application of rights to problems of economic and social inequality and the rights which are “missing” from the Act, such as liberty and security of the person.
Prominent experts presenting at the conference included the Rt Hon Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, who will consider the legacy of Magna Carta. Other international speakers include the Hon Kate O’Regan, former Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, and the Hon Grant Huscroft, Judge of the Court of Appeal of Ontario.
New Zealand speakers included the Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC, one of the architects of the Bill of Rights; Paul Rishworth QC, author of Rights and Freedoms (Brookers 1995); Claire Charters (Auckland University); Matthew Downs (Crown Law) and Andrew Geddis (Otago University).
The Hon Justice Michael Kirby spoke at a dinner following the conference to mark the Legal Research Foundation’s 50th anniversary.
An article by Owen Bowcott for the Gaurdian highlights Lord Thomas’ speech. Click here to view the article.
You can also see a copy of the speech here.