4.1 Statutes

4.1.1 General form

The format for citing statutes is as follows:
Element Short title Year enacted Jurisdiction Reference
Examples Gaming Duties Act 1971   , s 9
  Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 (UK) , s 92
Rule 4.1.1(a) 4.1.1(b) 4.1.1(c) 4.1.1(d)

Eg Gaming Duties Act 1971, s 9.

Eg Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 (UK), s 92.

Eg New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, long title.

(a) Short title

Give the short title exactly as it appears in the statute book, except that full stops should not be used in abbreviations.

Give the short title in ordinary text, not italics.

If an Act does not have a short title, it may be referred to by the unofficial short title given to it in the table of contents in the bound official reprints. If this is not possible, use the long title.

If an Act has been amended, there is no need to refer to the fact of amendment. If an amendment Act is being referred to, give the short title in the usual way.

Eg Judicature Amendment Act 1972, s 4.

(b) Year enacted

Give the year in which the Act was enacted (not the year the Act came into force) following the short title.

(c) Jurisdiction

When citing New Zealand statutes, it is not necessary to include the jurisdiction, unless it is necessary in the particular context to distinguish a New Zealand statute from an overseas one.

Eg Evidence Act 2006, s 43.

NOT Evidence Act 2006 (NZ), s 43.

If citing overseas legislation, place an abbreviated form of the jurisdiction in which the Act was passed in round brackets following the year. If there is no commonly used abbreviation for that jurisdiction, or where it will add clarity, write the jurisdiction out in full.

Eg Climate Change Act 2008 (UK).

Eg Trusts (Special Provisions) Act 1989 (Bermuda).

(d) Pinpoint reference

The pinpoint reference may be included either before the short title or after the year of enactment. The choice is a matter of style. In general, pinpoint references come at the end of the citation in footnotes but at the start when statutes are cited using in-text references or when included in footnotes in narrative form.

When placing the pinpoint reference at the start of the citation, the pinpoint reference should be followed by “of the” and then the short title, year enacted and jurisdiction (if necessary).

Eg The Court cited s 36 of the Commerce Act 1986.

When placing the pinpoint reference at the end of the citation, it should be preceded by a comma.

Eg Crimes Act 1961, s 59.

In both text and footnotes, use the following abbreviations, except where the word appears at the start of a sentence:

















































Where a subsection or paragraph is referred to within its section, it should be cited as a section.

Eg Trustee Act 1956, s 67(2).

Eg Banking Act 1982, s 2(a)(ii).

Because section numbering is usually continuous throughout an Act or within a schedule, it is unnecessary to indicate chapters and parts. When referring to a provision within a schedule, do not place a comma between the schedule and the provision.

Eg Property Law Act 2007, sch 3 cl 4.

NOT Property Law Act 2007, sch 3 pt 2 cl 4.

NOT Property Law Act 2007, sch 3, cl 4.

When referring to a paragraph in a definition where multiple words or phrases are defined in the same section or subsection, make reference to the word being defined.

Eg Property (Relationships) Act 1976, s 2 definition of “family chattels”, para (b).

(e) Treaty of Waitangi

This rule can be used to cite the Treaty of Waitangi and the Declaration of Independence.

Eg Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840, art 3.

OR Treaty of Waitangi 1840, art 3.

Eg He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tirene 1835.

OR Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand 1835.

4.1.2 Imperial legislation

Prior to the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947, the United Kingdom Parliament could legislate for New Zealand. Cite imperial legislation in accordance with the rules for the citation of pre-1963 United Kingdom statutes in rule 9.4.1.

4.1.3 Pre-1854 Ordinances

Prior to 1854 a number of different domestic legislative bodies operated in New Zealand. The Legislative Council operated from 1841 until 1853 when it was replaced by the General Assembly. In addition, between 1848 and 1853 there were two provincial legislative councils: the New Ulster Legislative Council (with jurisdiction over the North Island, excluding Wellington); and the New Munster Legislative Council (with jurisdiction over Wellington, the South Island and Stewart Island). All three bodies passed Ordinances rather than Acts, although the New Ulster Legislative Council did not pass any Ordinances during its lifetime.

The format for citing these Ordinances is as follows:
Element Short title Year enacted Regnal year Ordinance number Reference
Examples Distillation Prohibition Ordinance 1841 4 Vict 5 , cl 1
  Scab Ordinance of New Munster 1849 13 Vict 4  
Rule 4.1.3(a) 4.1.3(b) 4.1.3(c) 4.1.3(d) 4.1.3(e)

Eg Distillation Prohibition Ordinance 1841 4 Vict 5, cl 1.

Eg Scab Ordinance of New Munster 1849 13 Vict 4.

(a) Title

Give the title in accordance with rule 4.1.1(a). Note that because Ordinances were not given official short titles, the unofficial short title used in the contents page of the official reprints should be used.

Eg Supreme Court Practitioners Ordinance 1853 16 Vict 5.

NOT An Ordinance to provide for admission of Barristers, Attorneys, and Proctors, to practise in the Supreme Court other than those admissible under “The Supreme Court Ordinance”, Session III, No 1 1853 16 Vict 5.

When citing provincial Ordinances, note the fact that the Ordinance is a provincial one. Accordingly, refer to a New Munster Ordinance as “Ordinance of New Munster”.

Eg Scab Ordinance of New Munster 1849 13 Vict 4.

(b) Year enacted

Include the year the Ordinance was enacted after the title.

(c) Regnal year

Give the regnal year after the year of enactment. The regnal year gives the year in which the Ordinance was created in terms of the reign of the monarch. For example, the regnal year “3 Vict” indicates that the Ordinance was created in the third year of the reign of Queen Victoria. As Queen Victoria reigned throughout the period during which Ordinances applicable to New Zealand were created, the regnal year will always be in terms of “Vict”.

For a list of regnal years, see Appendix 5.

(d) Ordinance number

The regnal year is followed by the Ordinance number.

(e) Pinpoint reference

If a pinpoint reference is needed, this may be given after the Ordinance number and preceded by a comma.

4.1.4 Legislation from 1854 on

The format for citing New Zealand legislation post-1854 is as follows:
Element Short title Year enacted Reference
Example Evidence Act 2006 , s 44
Rule 4.1.4(a) 4.1.4(b) 4.1.4(c)
Eg Evidence Act 2006, s 44.
Eg Income Tax Act 2004, s CE 10.

(a) Short title

When citing a New Zealand statute give the short title of the Act.

It is unnecessary to include the number of the Act or state whether it is included in the reprinted statute series.

It is unnecessary to state that the statute originates from New Zealand, unless the context requires it.

(b) Year enacted

Give the year in accordance with rule 4.1.1(b).

(c) Pinpoint reference

Give the pinpoint reference in accordance with rule 4.1.1(d).

(d) Provincial legislation

The New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 (Imp) 15 & 16 Vict c 72 abolished the two existing provinces (New Ulster and New Munster) and divided New Zealand into six new provinces, each with its own legislature known as a Provincial Council. The original provinces were: Auckland; New Plymouth (later renamed Taranaki); Wellington; Nelson; Canterbury; and Otago. Later, further provinces were created: Hawkes’ Bay; Marlborough; Southland;
and Westland.

When citing provincial legislation, give the name of the province in round brackets after the year.
Eg Manawatu Racecourse Act 1869 (Wellington).
Eg Otago Harbour Trust Leasing Ordinance 1862 (Otago).
Eg Nelson Waterworks Act 1863 (Nelson).
Eg Picton Institution Act 1864 (Marlborough).
Eg Christ’s College Ordinance 1855 (Canterbury).

The provinces were abolished in 1876 by the Abolition of the Provinces Act 1875.

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