1. The authors of the communication
are Kenneth Daniel Bulmer, born in 1964, and Melvin Joseph Parun, born
in 1955, both New Zealand citizens. They claim to be victims of the
violation of their rights under articles 2, 14 and 26 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by New Zealand.
Facts as submitted
by the authors
2.1 The authors were barristers
practising in New Zealand, working with criminal cases, including legal
2.2 It appears that the
authors commenced procedures in the High Court at Wellington, New Zealand,
on 4 August 1997, alleging that the Registrar of the Wellington District
Court allocated criminal legal aid to lawyers in an unreasonable and
unlawful way. The authors provide no information on these proceedings.
2.3 In April 1998, the authors
applied to the Court of Appeal for a disqualification from the hearing
of their case of High Court Justice Neazor, on the grounds of the judge's
alleged involvement in policy and administration of legal aid. In a
letter dated 10 July 1998, directed to the Registrar of the Court of
Appeal of New Zealand, authors' counsel objected to the involvement
in the court hearing by several listed Court of Appeal judges due to
their involvement in several committees and councils. They also required
declarations from all permanent judges of the Court of Appeal, inter
alia, about their involvement in committees listed in the letter, stating
that any hearing in breach of either of the said requirements would
give rise to claims for substantial damages.
2.4 On 20 July 1998, the
Court of Appeal of New Zealand dismissed the application for disqualification
of Justice Neazor on the grounds that it had no jurisdiction to act
upon an originating application.
2.5 In its judgement, the
Court of Appeal stated that it was forwarding the judgement and the
authors' letter to the Registrar of the Court to the Wellington District
Law Society (WDLS). The Court was of the opinion that the authors had
misused the Court's procedure,
and that their letter to the Registrar
could be interpreted as a threat to the judges, and lodged a complaint
to the WDLS against the authors accordingly. In a letter dated 11 November
1998, the WDLS found the complaint justified. According to the authors,
the WDLS decision may be appealed to the High Court of New Zealand.
2.6 On 21 September 1998,
the Court of Appeal of New Zealand dismissed the authors' application
for conditional leave to appeal the 20 July 1998 decision to the Privy
Council, on the basis that the court had no jurisdiction to grant the
leave. On the same day, the Court of Appeal of New Zealand dismissed
the authors' ancillary application for discovery in their case against
Justice Neazor, on the basis that the authors did not appear before
the Court. The authors state that they may appeal the decisions to the
Privy Council directly. However, they choose not to submit a direct
appeal to the Privy Council since the members of the Court of Appeal
are also members of the Privy Council, and the authors consider them
all biased against them.
2.7 The authors further
claim that they have not pursued available court remedies in respect
of their claim to be registered as legal aid lawyers, their eventual
complaint against the WDLS decision and their eventual claim for compensation
from the State, because the New Zealand courts are biased against them.
3. The authors contend that
by failing to provide them with an effective remedy of disqualifying
the High Court Justice Neazor, and by allowing participation of several
judges in the Court of Appeal whom the authors had alleged were biased
against them, their rights pursuant to Articles 2, 14 and 26 of the
Covenant were violated. Furthermore, the authors claim violation of
the Covenant because they were being denied access to an independent
and impartial court in respect of their claim to be registered as legal
aid lawyers, their eventual complaint against the WDLS decision and
in respect of their eventual claim for compensation from the State.
Issues and proceedings
before the Human Rights Committee
4.1 Before considering any
claims contained in the communication, the Human Rights Committee must,
in accordance with Article 87 of its rules of procedure, decide whether
or not it is admissible under the Optional Protocol to the Covenant.
4.2 The essence of the authors'
claim is that all New Zealand courts are biased against them. For this
reason they fail to pursue remedies before the domestic courts. The
Committee is of the opinion that the authors have provided no substantiation
for this claim. In these circumstances, the Committee is of the view
that the authors' claim has not been substantiated for purposes of admissibility,
and the communication is therefore inadmissible under articles
2 and 5, paragraph 2(b), of the Optional Protocol.
5. The Committee
a) that the communication
b) that this decision shall
be communicated to the authors and, for information, to the State party.
Adopted in English, French
and Spanish, the English text being the original version. Subsequently
to be translated into Arabic, Chinese and Russian as part of the Committee's
Annual Report to the General Assembly.]
* The following members of the Committee participated in the examination
of the present communication: Mr. Abdelfattah Amor, Mr. Nisuke Ando,
Mr. Prafullachandra Natwarlal Bhagwati, Ms. Christine Chanet, Mr. Louis
Henkin, Mr. David Kretzmer, Ms. Cecilia Medina Quiroga, Mr. Rafael Rivas
Posada, Sir Nigel Rodley, Mr. Martin Scheinin, Mr. Ivan Shearer, Mr.
Hipólito Solari Yrigoyen, Mr. Ahmed Tawfik Khalil, Mr. Patrick Vella,
Mr. Maxwell Yalden.