15.3.3 Council instigated legal proceedings, including prosecutions


  1. The council’s commitment to acting as a model litigant is especially important when instigating legal proceedings.

  2. The council’s most common legal proceedings are prosecutions and enforcement actions for non-compliance with regulatory requirements, e.g. a breach of a bylaw, resource or building consent.

  3. In considering whether to bring an enforcement action or to prosecute, the council adopts an escalated approach, i.e. an enforcement officer will assess the nature of the non-compliance and, in particular, whether it was intentional.  

  4. In deciding whether to prosecute and throughout the prosecution, the council complies with the Solicitor-General’s Prosecution Guidelines which aim to ensure all prosecution processes are open and fair, and reflect the public interest [1].

  5. Elected members should not get involved in decisions on individual prosecutions and enforcement actions. This does not prevent elected members from engaging in the council’s overall policy on prosecutions.

  6. Generally, the council will prosecute cases of intentional non-compliance or recidivist or serious non-compliance (where there is serious impact or harm caused). Where the non-compliance is non-intentional, the council may impose low level sanctions and require the non-compliance to be remedied instead of prosecuting.

  7. The council’s prosecuting lawyers have particular professional obligations [2] (in addition to their general professional obligations), including presenting the prosecution case fully and fairly and with professional detachment.



Previous | Next