ABC Updates

18 February 2022




On December 21, Gordon Campbell wrote on ‘Scoop’:

“With [so much] going on, it is hardly surprising that the Security Information in Proceedings Legislation Bill slipped into Parliament in late November, virtually unnoticed. This was unfortunate, because the Bill quietly erodes the principles of natural justice in this country. In essence, the Bill formalises a system whereby, in an expanding range of courtroom situations, people will be unable to know, let alone challenge, all the evidence being used to prosecute their case.


Security Information in Proceedings Legislation Bill Government Bill


A Law Commission’s report [(NZLC R135).2015] found that current frameworks for dealing with national security information either in court or in administrative decisions have developed in an ad hoc manner. This approach lacks clarity and consistent protections for both individuals and national security. Current settings provide insufficient assurance to the Crown that national security information can be adequately protected if it needs to be used in court proceedings. This lack of assurance creates a risk for New Zealand both domestically and internationally in matters relating to security and international relations

Current settings may disadvantage non-Crown parties who may not know the reason for a decision against them. The non-Crown party may not be in a position to challenge the decisions or actions of the Crown. These disadvantages have implications for fundamental procedural and natural justice rights

The Bill adds to the Law Commission’s recommendations in 2 ways. First, the Bill adds a second civil process in which the Attorney-General and the Minister of Foreign Affairs certify that information is security information and that it cannot be disclosed to other parties in open court. Second, the Bill adds a closed pre-trial criminal process in which the court determines whether the information is security information, before deciding on next steps.


The main changes in the Bill are as follows:

for civil proceedings,—

• a new legislative regime to cover the disclosure and management of security information in civil proceedings:

• a ministerial certificate option, where the Attorney-General and the Minister of Foreign Affairs sign a certificate guaranteeing the use of court orders that ensure a higher degree of protection of security information in appropriate circumstances:

• a standard closed court procedure that would be available to the court in all civil cases. Where a special procedures order is made, the court will appoint a security-cleared special advocate to represent the non-Crown party:

• a discretion for the court to dispose of, or otherwise deal with, a civil proceeding that cannot be fairly determined by any of the options available to the court to manage the security information:

for criminal proceedings,—

• a standard pre-trial closed court procedure for disclosure that would apply in all criminal cases that involve national security information, where the court considers this is necessary to protect information, which includes providing a security-cleared special advocate to represent the non-Crown party:

• a new pre-trial admissibility hearing for the court to determine how national security information should be protected at trial in criminal proceedings:

• confirmation that the closed court procedure excluding the defendant is not available at trial in criminal proceedings:

for administrative decisions,—

• minor changes to align processes affecting the rights of individuals whose cases involve security information within different administrative schemes and to standardise provisions that allow for the judicial review of and appeals against those administrative decisions:

• replacing the court proceedings stage currently included in several existing legislative schemes for managing security information in administrative decision making with the new civil proceedings process in the Bill, 2 Security Information in Proceedings Legislation Bill Explanatory note which will apply to judicial review of, and appeals against, those decisions



This Bill needs to be fully analysed and people informed about it.  ABC would be happy to hear your comments




Warren Thomson


Anti-Bases Campaign

Box 2258, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand