Grants co-funded with the NZ Law Foundation in 2020

The Borrin Foundation and the New Zealand Law Foundation have a collaborative relationship. The Borrin Foundation contributes annually to co-fund projects with the New Zealand Law Foundation*. In 2020, the Borrin Foundation co-funded the following grants:

Housing Law and Policy in New Zealand

Borrin contribution: $9,020 (Total grant: $18,040)

This grant will support writing a book that will include the following topics: The historical development of housing law and policy, and tenancy protection measures in New Zealand; Social justice and human rights principles relevant to housing law and policy; Legal mechanisms of securing home ownership and occupation of residential housing; Tenancy protection legislation and practice; Health and safety, sanitation and habitability, structural integrity of housing; Social housing law and policy; Housing and disadvantaged peoples; Housing and Maori; Housing crises in New Zealand; Housing in conflict, pandemics and post-disaster environments. 

Grantee: Professor David Grinlinton at the Faculty of Law, University of Auckland

Legal Conceptions of Dignity and Mana in Aotearoa

Borrin contribution: $5302 (Total grant: $10,605)

This project will investigate the meaning, authority and function of dignity, and related tikanga concepts including mana, as legal principles in Aotearoa. The prevalence of dignity talk in our legal texts suggests that New Zealand is following the twentieth century international legal trend towards embracing dignity as an organising principle for making a variety of legal claims. Human dignity is a famously contested concept, and multiple conceptions of dignity are possible. Further, in the bijural New Zealand context, the term dignity is frequently used alongside related tikanga Māori concepts, most notably mana. By setting out a comprehensive review of dignity as used in New Zealand law, this project will explore inconsistencies, competing conceptions, and problematic usages, and in turn facilitate the use of dignity in a meaningful way.

Grantee: Dr Anna High and Mihiata Pirini at the Faculty of Law, University of Otago

Is it time for a New Zealand Modern Slavery Act?

Borrin contribution: $12,517 (Total grant: $25,035)

Modern slavery is a reality in New Zealand – it has been identified in the horticultural sector, the former foreign-charter vessel sector of the fishing industry, as well as in other sectors. The New Zealand government is has committed to taking measures to end modern slavery. Officials are currently updating the Plan of Action to Prevent People Trafficking in an effort to ensure New Zealand’s compliance with international standards. However, further legal action is needed for New Zealand to keep pace with rapid jurisprudential advances occurring in the UK and Australia with both passing bespoke modern slavery legislation in the past five years. This project will: examine whether New Zealand should introduce a Modern Slavery Act into law and consider the issues in the New Zealand context.

Grantee: Associate Professor Christina Stringer at the Auckland Business School, University of Auckland

Ensuring the reliability of Forensic Science in New Zealand Criminal Courts

Borrin contribution: $32,855 (Total grant: $65,711)

This project will evaluate the state of forensic-science evidence in New Zealand criminal courts. It will explore whether the Evidence Act 2006 is sufficient to ensure the validity and reliability of the scientific evidence used in criminal trials in New Zealand. It will specifically review Section 25 of the Evidence Act in light of Shepherd v R, [2011] NZCA 666, which admitted as reliable a novel scientific technique involving facial mapping, and AM v R, [2017] NZCA 345, which excluded expert evidence purporting to assess the video tape of a witness interview to determine veracity as insufficiently scientifically valid. The project seeks to identify any gaps in the current legal regime for screening forensic-science evidence and best-practice standards for the use of forensic evidence in New Zealand, as well as recommendations related to the Evidence Act 2006 and/or the way the New Zealand appellate courts interpret the Act.

Grantee: Associate Professor Carrie Leonetti at the Faculty of Law, University of Auckland

*The Law Foundation is now in recess to allow its funding base to rebuild so that, in time, it can support a new generation of legal research. The Foundation’s last funding was round closed in July 2020. For more information see the Law Foundation.