The New Zealand Court of Appeal and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis
The role of the doctrine of stare decisis rose to prominence in the New Zealand Court of Appeal in 2003. In Jones v Sky City Auckland Ltd the Court made a pronouncement on the current position of the doctrine in that Court. In the marginally earlier case of Attorney-General v Ngati Apa, the Court refused to follow its prior decision in In Re the Ninety Mile Beach and did so in this very important case without any discussion of the doctrine of stare decisis. In addition, in October, the Supreme Court Bill passed its Third Reading in Parliament and received the Royal assent. With the establishment of the Supreme Court in New Zealand and the abolition of the right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, sitting in London, the Court of Appeal in this country will occupy a position very different from the one it has traditionally occupied. In consequence, the establishment of the new Court is likely to have a significant impact on the doctrine of stare decisis in the Court of Appeal. This article traces the history of the doctrine in the New Zealand Court of Appeal and proffers comments on future directions.