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New Zealand

Police roundup

by Walter Olson on September 4, 2014

  • Spectacular investigative report from Radley Balko on fines, fees, and revenue-driven law enforcement in the towns north of St. Louis [WaPo] Reading it, I’m pretty confident my two cents a couple of weeks ago was on the right track;
  • Talk about wrong turns: some self-styled progressives want to seize the moment to extend federal government control further over local police management [BuzzFeed, Scott Greenfield ("czar" idea)]
  • More reporting on how we got police militarization [ProPublica, Newsweek]
  • Race, police, and political power in Ferguson [Charles Cobb guest-posting at Volokh] Richard Epstein on not jumping to factual conclusions (link fixed now);
  • N.Z.: “Police union’s election year wishlist” [Radio New Zealand (via @EricCrampton who comments: "Short version: any restriction on liberty that makes their job easier"); yesterday's post]
  • Pretextual pot busts? Zimring’s curious defense of NYC “broken windows” policing [NYP]
  • Yes, there’s a SWAT lobby in Washington, D.C., behaving as you’d expect [Tim Mak, Daily Beast] “If Democrats Seek to ‘Rally Blacks’ Against Police Militarization, They Might Start with the Congressional Black Caucus” [Nick Gillespie; Zaid Jilani, Vanity Fair]
  • “Police Officers and Patents of Nobility” [Coyote] “Man shot, paralyzed over unpaid parking tickets” [Balko; Lehigh County, Pa.]

That’s a widely shared objective right now, but at what price? In New Zealand, one of the two main political parties, Labour, is now contemplating rolling back the presumption of innocence, while the other, incumbent National, is contemplating allowing the criminal process to infer guilt from silence. [New Zealand Herald, more]


  • More details on my panel discussions on food issues next week at the Heritage Foundation [Monday, Sept. 23] and at Vermont Law School [Friday, Sept. 27];
  • “A Ban on Some Italian Cured Meat Is Ending” [Glenn Collins, N.Y. Times] “Market Forces Lead to Better Treatment for Farm Animals” [Steve Chapman]
  • “Tempering temperance: Puritan attitudes on alcohol still linger decades after Prohibition” [National Post]
  • Dozens of class-action suits: “Bay Area courts center of legal battle against food industry” [Mercury-News]
  • “Plain and/or Terrifying Packaging Considered for Junk Food in New Zealand (and Australia)” [Katherine Mangu-Ward]
  • If the dangers of rice aren’t enough to alarm even today’s Margaret Hamburg-headed FDA, they’re probably not very serious [ACSH]
  • North Carolina: home visits to make sure Medicaid recipient kids are eating their veggies? [Rick Henderson video]

Driverless-car chasing

by Walter Olson on September 13, 2013

The driverless car, it’s increasingly clear, is a technology with transformative potential, and among its key advantages would be its promise in reducing accident rates. Yet without attention to liability reform the progress could stall, according to Megan McArdle. “Even if the overall number of accidents drops, the number of accidents where the automaker is perceived to be at fault will approach 100 percent.” Would a massive, New Zealand-style effort to replace the whole tort system do better? [Bloomberg; more on New Zealand no-fault compensation here, here; the original 1967 Woodhouse report here]


April 25 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 25, 2012


February 19 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 19, 2012

  • Self-service arrangement: Pennsylvania judge charged with fixing her own parking tickets [Lancaster Online]
  • Economist cover story: “Over-regulated America“. Obama hesitant about heavy-handed regulation? Really? [Veronique de Rugy, NRO]
  • Argument for letting money market funds “break the buck” without federal backstop [David Henderson, EconLog]
  • Suing apps makers? “Entertainment Lawyers Go Wild for ‘Secondary’ Copyright Lawsuits” [WSJ Law Blog] SWAT raid on Kiwi copyright scofflaw? [Balko] Despite its editor’s views, NYT finds it hard to avoid breaching copyright laws itself [Carly Carioli, Boston Phoenix] “Contempt Sanctions Imposed on Copyright Troll Evan Stone” [Paul Alan Levy] More: “obscene materials can’t be copyrighted” offered as defense in illegal download case [Kerr]
  • Tenure terror: “Teacher in Los Angeles molest case reportedly paid $40G to drop appeal of firing” [AP]
  • FDA rejects lead-in-lipstick scare campaign [ACSH vs. Environmental Working Group]
  • A horror story of eyewitness I.D. [claim of DNA exoneration in Va. rape case; AP via Scott Greenfield]

November 4 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 4, 2011

  • “Kentucky antidiscrimination law doesn’t bar discrimination based on litigiousness” [Volokh]
  • “Lawyer sues to stop fireworks show; now wants $756K in fees from taxpayers” [CJAC, San Diego]
  • Leahy bill reauthorizing VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) includes language codifying OCR assault on campus due process [Bader, Daily Caller, Inside Higher Ed, FIRE, earlier here, here]
  • “One-Ninth the Freedom Kids Used To Have” [Free-Range Kids] “WARNING: Baby in pram! Anything could happen!” [same]
  • New Zealand considers criminalizing breaches of fiduciary duty [Prof. Bainbridge]
  • From libertarian Steve Chapman, a favorable rating for Rahm Emanuel as Chicago mayor [Chicago Tribune]
  • Did California privacy legislation just regulate bloggers? [Eric Goldman, Paul Alan Levy]


And wants recompense from the fruit canner, in New Zealand. []


March 24 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 24, 2009


For quite a while I’ve been getting complaints that readers in other countries — Australia, in particular — are locked out of Overlawyered with a “403 — you don’t have permission to access the server” error message. (Similarly, see these bulletin board discussions from New Zealand and Germany). Reader Stephen Mepham from Australia wrote to alert me when he encountered this problem on switching to a new cable provider, and helpfully included his IP number (the 777.77.7.777 thing). That allowed me to track down what had happened: in response to a series of spam and denial-of-service attacks, our hosting providers over the years have taken aggressive measures to exclude various large blocks of IP numbers (as well as country domains associated with spam and DOS attacks). I’ve now taken a few gingerly steps to relax these controls, which I hope should let more Australian readers access the site in particular. Should the attacks resume, of course, we’ll need to go back to tougher blocking.

If you’re a reader who’s encountered this problem or knows someone who has, give it a try again, and feel free to email me with a message along the lines of “Yes, now it works again” or “No, I still get blocked” — and try to include your IP address if convenient, which you can identify here.


We continue to hear reports, scattered and so far unexplained, from readers around the world who get an “unavailable” or “forbidden” message when they call up in their browser. Thus some readers in Australia have no problem with access to the site, while others have reported that they are blocked; and we got a similarly inconsistent report the other day from New Zealand.

The Australian lawyer who writes the interesting blog Stumblng Tumblr writes to say that

I have outflanked the problem. I only regret that it took me so long to think of it. I use Bloglines and it permits me to choose how much of a feed I want to see in Bloglines itself. It finally occurred to me to change the setting for Overlawyered to show the full post in Bloglines in every case, rather than just a summary. That means that I don’t have to go to your site. I just read it all in Bloglines.

I’m very happy to be able to read Overlawyered again!


I was on Marcus Lush’s Radio Live talk show out of Auckland this morning, discussing American employment law. My book The Excuse Factory: How Employment Law Is Paralyzing the American Workplace is available on Amazon.

Since 1979 nineteen countries led by Sweden have banned corporal punishment by parents of kids in the home. A bill scheduled for debate today before the Massachusetts legislature would make that state the first to join the trend. (Laurel Sweet, “Bay State’s going slap-happy”, Boston Herald, Nov. 27; “Anti-spanking bill is folly” (editorial), Nov. 28; Stephen Bainbridge, Nov. 22 (New Zealand)). Earlier: Apr. 19, 2004 (U.K.); Feb. 14 and Feb. 24, 2007 (proposal in California).

More: such laws in both Sweden and New Zealand have been softened (i.e., made more lenient toward parents) by the interpolation of reasonableness standards, per Kiwi website Big News (via QuizLaw).


At least not unless she loses some weight (Paul Chapman and Graeme Baker, “New Zealand bars British man’s ‘fat’ wife”, Daily Telegraph, Nov. 21; Zycher, Medical Progress Today, Nov. 21). Australia “last year refused citizenship to a healthy British woman who wasn’t heavy enough.” (Aida Edemarian, “Are you too fat to emigrate?”, Guardian, Nov. 20).

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November 20 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 20, 2007

  • Dickie Scruggs will host Dec. 15 Hillary fundraiser headlined by Bill [Clarion-Ledger via WSJ law blog]
  • Megabucks campaigns for state judicial office: Symptom? Illness? Both? [Justice O'Connor @, Adler @ Volokh; Pero]
  • U.K. kids’ author says publisher’s safety worries vetoed depiction of fire-breathing dragon in book [Daily Mail]
  • Roger Parloff describes the Judith Regan complaint as bizarre, and angry commenters are soon denouncing him as a Fox’s-paw [Fortune Legal Pad; Althouse; ritual disclaimer]
  • Wonder why booking a dance venue can get pricey? Here’s one reason [WV Record]
  • “Why should I take a dollar out of [my neighbor's] pocket?”: a Virginia Tech family wrestles with the temptation to sue [Mundy, WashPostMag]
  • Essential silliness of the “media diversity” scare [Welch, LAT]
  • Boston’s James Sokolove, known for his heavy rotation of personal-injury TV ads, is now chasing for … patent plaintiffs? [WSJ law blog; earlier]
  • Great big gobs of mutilated monkey meat could bring five years in slammer for NYC immigrant [IHT]
  • Recounting the tale of Miami’s one-time high-living “King of Torts” Louis Robles, who stole from around 4,500 clients [AJP "CEO Alert" series, PDF]

  • Campaign regulation laws spell incumbent protection in New Zealand too [Bainbridge]
  • Influence of newspaper lobby retards natural migration to the web of fine-print legal notices [Liptak, NYT]


Defamation-suit Hall of Fame: a New Zealand prisoner serving a life sentence for the notoriously brutal murder of a 17-year-old girl has won cash compensation from newspapers which described him as a rapist. “Andrew Ronald MacMillan was granted legal aid – a government- funded scheme which allows people who cannot afford legal representation to get a lawyer – to sue Fairfax Media, publishers of New Zealand newspapers The Press and Dominion Post, for defamation and punitive damages.” The victim, whose body was discovered nearly naked, had suffered violence in intimate places, but authorities never charged MacMillan with rape in the case. (“Murderer gets compensation from paper over rape allegation”, DPA/, Apr. 10). Two and a half years ago MacMillan won $1200 for hurt feelings and humiliation because the Corrections Department had not shown him the text of a letter accusing him of misbehavior while on prison furlough. (Bridget Carter, “‘Hurt feelings’ win killer $1200 compensation”, New Zealand Herald, Aug. 23, 2004).


Don’t load up on stocks in that newfangled biometric scanner technology just yet. A federal complaint alleges that workers have a religious right not to sign in using handprints; Matthew Heller has the details and the complaint. Canada has required reasonable accommodation of such beliefs, while New Zealand rejects it. American law simply requires beliefs be “sincerely held.”


November 21 roundup

by Ted Frank on November 21, 2006

  • Today at AEI: Panel (and webcast) on Massachusetts v. EPA Supreme Court argument on carbon dioxide regulation. [AEI]
  • Paulson to Economic Club of New York: “Legal reform is crucial to the long-term competitiveness of our economy.” [Paulson; WSJ; WaPo; NYT; American]
  • One who reposts on Internet allegedly libelous news article immune from liability in California. One hopes this deters a certain attorney complaining about a six-year-old Overlawyered post recounting a 2000 LA Times article. [Point of Law; Volokh]
  • It’s an obvious point, but many judges simply refuse to acknowledge it in failure-to-warn litigation: overwarning can be counterproductive. [WaPo]
  • Congress holds that Psalms 37:21 trumps Leviticus 27:30; Senator Obama objects. [WaPo]
  • Russia: woman successfully sues Coca-Cola for causing gastrointestinal distress. [Kevin M.D.]
  • More on breast implants. [Bernstein @ Volokh]
  • More on the New Zealand no-fault med-mal system. [Point of Law]
  • Posner on Friedman. [Posner]
  • John Edwards seeks to cut in front of line to purchase Playstation 3 at Wal-Mart. Which of the Two Americas is that again? [Taylor @ Reason via Kirkendall]