Tuesday, May 12, 2009


The Court of Appeal has dismissed both appeals on abortion, apparently on the grounds that there was nothing to appeal over:

The Court of Appeal today dismissed the appeals by both parties, saying the case was outside its jurisdiction and the parties must return to the High Court for a declaration on the powers of the committee as intended by Parliament.

The three Court of Appeal judges noted that as the committee was appointed by Parliament, the matter may be an issue for the legislature rather than the judiciary.

The High Court made "conclusions" about the interpretation of the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977, but no actual declarations or orders. Without those, the Court of Appeal had nothing to rule on. But this isn't a victory for abortion rights - instead it leaves the fate of abortion in New Zealand in the hands of a judge who has impugned the legality of most abortions performed in New Zealand based purely on his own feeling that there are too many of them. Which probably isn't a good sign.

[Hat-tip: The Hand Mirror]