Chapter 20
Current law and issues


20.36At present, New Zealand legislation does not set out who should be making decisions in respect of the final arrangements for the body of the deceased. Similarly, there is no legislative guidance on how to deal with disputes that might arise. These issues are instead governed by the common law.

20.37We think that there is a case for a new statutory framework to operate in this area. Legislation can provide greater certainty and accessibility than the common law and is therefore more useful for those seeking to understand their legal rights and obligations after the death of a loved one. It can also provide new solutions that are beyond the reach of judges. New statutory provisions can be created to help resolve disputes in a way that gives effect to values deemed to be important in our society and to allow different interests to be taken into account.