6.1The ability to bring civil proceedings against the Crown is an essential means by which citizens are able to obtain legal redress when the government has breached individual rights or has failed to comply with its legal obligations. It is in keeping with the principles of accountability and transparency that are fundamental characteristics of open democracy.
6.2A basic tenet of civil procedure in New Zealand is that the parties to a civil case, including the Crown, have access to information held by the other party that is relevant to their particular case. This chapter is concerned with how to manage situations when information that would ordinarily be disclosed to all parties in a civil case cannot be disclosed because the Crown believes that disclosing that information would be likely to prejudice national security interests. We refer to this information as “national security information” and defined it in the previous chapter.
6.3This chapter briefly outlines the current law and the issues relating to the use of national security information in civil proceedings. It provides an overview of submissions received and comments and views shared during consultation on these topics. The chapter concludes with our recommended approach for managing the disclosure and use of national security information in civil proceedings. This approach would replace the patchwork of legislation and common law that currently applies.