Basic constitutional principles and values of New Zealand law
This is a single section from Chapter 3. Read the full chapter here.
Dignity of the individual and the presumption in favour of liberty
New legislation must respect the dignity of the individual and the presumption in favour of liberty.
Respect for the dignity of the individual: Respect for the dignity of the individual is of paramount concern to the law and gives rise to fundamental human rights. These rights include the right to:
- physical integrity;
- freedom from medical or scientific experimentation without consent;
- freedom to refuse to undergo medical treatment;
- freedom from discrimination on specified grounds;
- freedom from torture, cruel, degrading or disproportionately severe treatment or punishment.
The presumption in favour of liberty: Nobody should be deprived of their liberty without proper cause and due process. Liberty can be denied in various ways. Examples include:
- arrest and imprisonment;
- detention for mental health treatment;
- detention for customs or immigration purposes;
- restrictions on a person’s movement or activities (such as curfews or prohibition from entering certain parts of a town).
Those who are or may be deprived of their liberty should have access to the courts to review the legality of the restriction.