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Preface to the Third Edition

It is with both pleasure and sadness that I write the preface to the new edition of the New Zealand Law Style Guide. Chris, Jono, and I are delighted to see the continued success of the guide we worked on with Justice Chambers. The guide continues to be commonly used across the judiciary, the universities and the profession as the standard way to cite New Zealand law. We are also delighted to be joined in this edition by Alice Coppard, the Student Editor in Chief of the Victoria University of Wellington Law Review, who has done almost all of the hard work leading to this edition, and without whose keen intelligence and dedication it simply would not have been completed to the standard that it has. The sadness comes, of course, from Justice Chambers’ untimely death in 2013. Much of the success of the original two editions came from his enthusiasm for the project, his keen chairing of our discussions and his tireless evangelism for its use. We have missed Rob, and can only hope that he would have been as thrilled as we are that there is now a third edition, albeit six months later than the deadline of 2017 that he promised in the last preface.

In preparing this edition of the guide we took the early view that we would build on the success of the previous work by clarifying and refreshing rather than reforming. A similar view was expressed by the librarians, academics, journal editors, judges’ clerks and students who we asked for suggestions. While we have therefore updated many of the examples and sometimes clarified rules, those who learnt from previous editions should be confident that there is little that will need to be relearnt. We have included a list of major changes, although the reality is that almost all of them are matters of detail.

We have been helped in preparing this edition by a number of people. Special mention should be made of Tracey Thomas and her colleagues at the Davis Law Library at the University of Auckland who collated a large number of suggestions from their community of law librarians, and who helped proofread the final version. Similarly, Scott Fletcher coordinated feedback from the judges’ clerks. We received suggestions from a number of people but were particularly helped by comments from Jonathon Yeldon of the Otago Law Review and my colleague Dr Bevan Marten. We were also grateful for further guidance from the Māori Land Court as to how to cite their work. Mitchell East and Christina Laing, both judges’ clerks, and Alec Duncan, Student Editor of the New Zealand Journal of Public and International Law, greatly helped by volunteering to proofread the final product. Associate Professor Joanna Mossop at the School of Law, Victoria University of Wellington helped us by looking over the international materials section. Victoria University of Wellington provided both through its Performance-Based Research Fund and the Law Faculty research fund the wherewithal to pay Alice for at least some of her work. We are very grateful for all of this help.

We have retained the prefaces to the first two editions to acknowledge the work of the people that helped us with those, and the assistance provided by the New Zealand Law Foundation. We are also pleased that Thomson Reuters will continue to publish the guide and to provide a web version, which has been key to the guide’s success, and we acknowledge the encouragement of Renay Taylor. The web version will continue to be hosted on the New Zealand Law Foundation’s website <www.lawfoundation.org.nz>.

Any exercise to revise a guide like this inevitably means leaving some things out. We have not acted on some of the suggestions that we have received for more particular guidance in certain areas, not because we did not think this was important, but rather we hope that over time that guidance can be supplied through the guide’s webpage.

We hope that a fourth edition will not be needed until 2025.


Geoff McLay

Old Government Buildings

Easter 2018

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