Putting a Social and Cultural Framework on the Evidence Act
Recent New Zealand Supreme Court Guidance
What follows are presentations to a seminar on the Supreme Court decision in Deng v Zheng (2022): guidance on bringing relevant social and cultural information to the court’s attention. The case concerned whether, despite a lack of formal documentation, the parties had entered into a legal partnership, of which they would be jointly responsible for the debts of the partnership. Two issues arose relating to the culture of the parties: namely, whether the meaning to be ascribed to 公司 (gingsi) went beyond ‘company’ and could extend to ‘firm’ or ‘enterprise’ and the significance of 关系 (guanxi). Both parties are Chinese and their business relationship appeared to have been conducted in Mandarin. Justice Goddard was the presiding judge in Zheng v Deng (2020), the Court of Appeal judgment appealed to the Supreme Court. Mai Chen appeared with two other lawyers on behalf of the intervenor, the New Zealand Law Society.
Keywords: social and cultural framework; Evidence Act; expert evidence; translations; interpreters; adjudicative facts; social facts; legislative facts; stereotyping; subconscious bias; judicial notice; reliable published documents.
Those who contribute items to Amicus Curiae retain author copyright in their work but are asked to grant two licences. One is a licence to the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, enabling us to reproduce the item in digital form, so that it can be made available for access online in the open journal system, repository, and website. The terms of the licence which you are asked to grant to the University for this purpose are as follows:
'I grant to the University of London the irrevocable, non-exclusive royalty-free right to reproduce, distribute, display, and perform this work in any format including electronic formats throughout the world for educational, research, and scientific non-profit uses during the full term of copyright including renewals and extensions'.
The other licence is for the benefit of those who wish to make use of items published online in Amicus Curiae and stored in the e-repository. For this purpose we use a Creative Commons licence (http://www.creativecommons.org.uk/); which allows others to download your works and share them with others as long as they mention you and link back to your entry in Amicus Curiae and/or SAS-SPACE; but they can't change them in any way or use them commercially.