The Commerce Commission has published a new cartel leniency policy and the Ministry of Economic Development is considering whether to punish hardcore cartels with criminal penalties. Updating the leniency policy is a welcome move, giving companies greater certainty in dealing with the regulator, but does a small, trade-dependent nation such as New Zealand need a criminal cartel regime?
A recent Supreme Court decision provides guidance on the determination of the reasonableness of fees charged by finance companies in consumer credit contracts. The case illustrates how the broadly formed reasonableness standard and the provisions for determining the reasonableness of fees could lead to differing views on compliance. This is of particular concern as creditors are exposed to criminal charges for breach of the provisions.
The leader of the Conservative Party successfully obtained an urgent interim injunction preventing MediaWorks from screening a Saturday morning political debate in which he did not participate. This is the latest occasion in New Zealand where politicians have sought to use judicial review, combined with urgent injunctive court orders, to force media organisations to include them in election coverage.
The District Court Rules 2009 introduced a new regime for claims, which radically departed from traditional civil procedure. Almost 18 months after their commencement, it is clear how dramatically these rules have affected civil litigation. The interlocutory warfare that was common in traditional civil procedure has made way for a process that is strongly focused on early settlement.
The Supreme Court has recently clarified the circumstances in which New Zealand's competition regulator can exercise its information-gathering powers. It held that the Commerce Commission cannot issue an information-gathering Section 98 notice and have its power to do so judged retrospectively by reference to what it may discover from a 'fishing expedition' under that notice.
The High Court has reversed the Commerce Commission's decision to reject clearance applications by New Zealand's two supermarket competitors to acquire shares in the country’s leading general merchandise trader. The court was critical of the commission's conclusions and the evidence on which they were based. The commission has been granted leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.