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NEWS

Short Update: Successful challenge to legality of lockdown in New Zealand

FairTrialsAdmin - August 21, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Rule of Law

Andrew Borrowdale, a lawyer from Wellington, has successfully challenged the legality of three health orders issued by the New Zealand government between 26 March and 3 April 2020. These orders were intended to protect public health and to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.  

The claim referred to statements made by the Prime Minister, Director-General of Health and the Prosecutor General between 26 March and 3 April that suggested those violating lockdown rules could be detained. The Crown argued that the statements had been only strongly worded advice, not commands. However, the Court found that they had overstepped the mark and that the threat of police detention to keep people inside should not have been made until an appropriate law was passed on 3 April.

The New Zealand High court found that: “The requirement was a necessary, reasonable and proportionate response to the COVID-19 crisis at the time, the requirement was not prescribed by law and was therefore contrary to section 5 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act”. 

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