I will present a paper providing historical facts drawn from my brief as an expert witness for the High Court in the Wakatu v Attorney-General litigation. The facts in my brief from the colonial context of the 1840s were not seriously questioned in the judgments, but the legal question mark was answered 'No' by the High Court in 2012 and by the Court of Appeal in 2014. In February 2017, however, the Supreme Court [4-1 majority] answered the question 'Yes': Wakatu v Attorney-General  NZSC 17. Discussion will be invited concerning the nature of an enforceable public law trust said to be 'akin' to a private law trust obligation. Questions might also focus on the role of legal history expert witnesses in court litigation and on the relevance of a 19th century precedent to determining what is the law for today.
Materials (under Related resources on this page) are available for those that have the time to read up on this topic before the OLHF seminar. This comprises an extract from my 2011 Brief of Evidence to the High Court, with my comments appended on the litigation leading to the Supreme Court decision in February 2017.
See also: http://ohrh.law.ox.ac.uk/new-zealand-supreme-court-recognises-fiduciary-duties-to-enforce-collective-indigenous-rights/
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