LAWGENRL 421 - Civil Procedure

Credit points: 15 points
Offered: Second Semester
Contact hours: Lectures - 4 hours per week
Course Coordinator: Julian Long
Prerequisites: LAW 231

Course description

To this point in your legal education you have learned what the law is.  Civil procedure is about HOW you make that law happen.  It is the “gift wrapping and ribbons” under which any case will have actually got to court.  Without good civil procedure there is chaos.  This was as true in 1852 (when Charles Dickens wrote Bleak House) as it is today.  A good knowledge of what our civil procedure rules are, and why they exist, is an essential part of any prospective civil litigator’s skills tool kit.

Content outline

The course will work through the rules processes that apply to a New Zealand High Court proceeding from its commencement, through its various interlocutory steps to trial, and then on appeal. You will learn about starting and ending proceedings in different ways, seeking interim forms of relief (injunctions), what a summary judgment is and why it is needed, what an originating application is, what case management and discovery are all about, and how costs work in our courts.

We will tackle some topical subjects like litigation funding, class actions, lay litigants, and also look at how our procedures deal with small disputes. We will examine some procedural rules that apply in other forums (tribunals) that exist in New Zealand. You will see how all procedural rules share some common features (no matter how sophisticated, or indeed simple, they may try to be).

You will come away from this course with an understanding of what lies at the heart of good procedures and procedural rules in all contexts. You will also have the confidence to apply that understanding in practice. You will have learnt by doing many of these things for yourself in the practical exercises you will be tasked with, and also by being asked to think about the procedural rules we have in a critical way.

Assessment

To be finally confirmed.  Likely to include class presentations and practical assessment exercises involving drafting documents, a PILO, and/or a final examination.

Recommended text

Bleak House by Charles Dickens (freely available in e book format on line).  The Bleak House (2005) BBC series is another excellent way to experience the most famous case in Chancery of Jarndyce v Jarndyce

McGechan on Procedure (Thomson Reuters) and Sim’s Court Practice (Lexis-Nexis) deal with High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court practice and procedure.

Brookers’ Civil Procedure: District Courts & Tribunals (Thomson Reuters) and Lexis-Nexis’ District Courts’ Practice are the District Court equivalents.

Beck’s Principles of Civil Procedure (3rd edition, Thomson Reuters) is also very useful.