Monday, July 27, 2015

New JAG in New Zealand

The New Zealand Defence Force has a new Judge Advocate General, according to this report:
Kevin Riordan ONZM has been appointed Judge Advocate General of the Armed Forces, Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson QC announced today. 
Mr Riordan has been Deputy Judge Advocate General and Deputy Chief Judge of the Court Martial since October 2013. He takes over from Christopher Hodson QC who is retiring. 
The Judge Advocate General is responsible for ensuring the proper administration of armed forces law. Those responsibilities include investigating complaints by the members of the armed forces, appointing judge advocates to sit in courts-martial and considering and reporting on the proceedings of courts-martial. 
With the appointment comes appointment as Chief Judge of the Court Martial. 
Mr Riordan will take up his appointments on 4 August 2015.
Section 203 of the Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971, as amended, provides:
203 Appointment and functions of Judge Advocate General

(1) The Governor-General may from time to time by warrant appoint a barrister or solicitor of the High Court who has held a practising certificate as such for not less than 7 years, whether or not he holds or has held any judicial office, to be Judge Advocate General of the Armed Forces.

(2) The Judge Advocate General may not be removed from office except in accordance with section 16 of the Court Martial Act 2007; and that section applies accordingly with any necessary modifications.

(2A) The Judge Advocate General must retire from office on attaining the age of 75 years.
In case you were curious as to who decides what cases should be taken to the New Zealand court martial, consider ss. 101F and 101I:
           101FFunctions and duties of Director of Military Prosecutions
  • The functions and duties of the Director of Military Prosecutions are—
    • (a)to determine whether an accused is to be committed for trial in the Court Martial:
    • (b)to decide on what charge an accused should be tried:
    • (c)to prepare and certify the charge sheet or charge sheets against an accused:
    • (d)to give a copy of the certified charge sheet to the accused (including any amended charge sheet so certified):
    • (e)to lay the charge sheet or charge sheets before the Registrar of the Court Martial:
    • (f)if 2 or more persons are accused, to direct whether they are to be tried jointly or separately:
    • (g)to appoint counsel for the prosecution:
  •             (h) to perform any other functions or duties imposed by this Act or any other enactment.

    101IDirector of Military Prosecutions to perform functions and duties, and exercise powers, independently of ministerial control and of command
    • (1)In performing his or her functions and duties, and exercising his or her powers, the Director of Military Prosecutions is not subject to—
      • (a)the control of the Minister; or
      • (b)the command of any other officer.
      (2)Subsection (1) applies despite sections 7 and 8 of the Defence Act 1990.
      (3)To avoid doubt, subsection (1) does not limit or affect the command relationship that exists between the Director of Military Prosecutions and any member of the Armed Forces in respect of any of the Director’s functions and duties other than those that are specified in section 101F.

1 comment:

  1. I've only just noticed this post, which I know reflects poorly on me. I just thought I should point out that New Zealand military law no longer uses the term "judge advocate". The judicial officer, who now presides at any hearing of the Court Martial of New Zealand (a permanent Court which can sit in any number of divisions in any part of the world) is a Judge of the Court Martial. The appointment of JAG was retained due to the quasi-judicial roles that the office holder performs (eg investigating complaints) and in order to preserve a traditional role of very long standing. The JAG no longer examines and reports on the proceedings of trials in any formal sense - the review of court-martial convictions was abolished in 2009 as part of the "re-making" of New Zealand military justice; this reform was coupled with the extension of appeal rights to the Court Martial Appeal Court, to the extent that (to all intents and purposes) military personnel convicted by the Court Martial have the same rights as any other person convicted in the ordinary criminal courts.


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