Simon Connell, ‘Justice for Victims of Injury: The Influence of New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Scheme on the Civil and Criminal Law’

Abstract
New Zealand’s accident compensation scheme replaced compensatory damages for personal injury with a no-fault redistributive scheme. The central thesis of this article is that the scheme, and its influence on the civil and criminal law in New Zealand, can be better understood in terms of the interplay between corrective, retributive and distributive justice. The orthodox view that the scheme was an abandonment of the corrective and retributive justice for injury victims in favour of distributive justice is challenged, and it is argued that Parliament has a crucial role in deciding between conceptions of justice. Parliament’s performance of that function is assessed, as is the performance of the Courts in terms of implementing statute law and developing the common law. Ultimately, the article concludes that the ACC scheme has had major unintended consequences, resulting from attempts to serve competing conceptions of a just outcome between causer and victim of injury.

Connell, Simon, Justice for Victims of Injury: The Influence of New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Scheme on the Civil and Criminal Law (2012). New Zealand Universities Law Review, 25(2), 181-209, 2012.

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