Glossary of Terms

Title Acronym Definition
Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971 AFDA The legislation relating to the discipline of the New Zealand armed forces and which provides for the discipline and administration of justice within those forces.
Assembling Authority AA CDF or the officer in command of a part of the Armed Forces involved in the matter. The AA appoints the Court, and details the time and place a COI must commence and the terms of reference which must be addressed by the Court.
Command Investigation CI A simple informal investigation into matters, without statutory powers or privileges of a COI.
Composition of a COI   A COI must consist of no less than two members, of whom at least one must be an officer who is the President and the other/s must be officers, warrant officers, or members of the NZDF Civil Staff of equivalent standing.
Counsel Assisting   An officer who is a barrister and solicitor of the High Court appointed by the assembling authority to the inquiry to assist and advise the court.
Court of Inquiry COI

A court established under Section 200A of the Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971 (AFDA).  Its purpose is to provide an officer in command with ‘an expeditious fact finding procedure so that a matter can be promptly investigated and if necessary, prompt, remedial action can be taken’. The procedure of a COI is provided for in Part 11 of the AFDA. A Court of Inquiry can be conducted into any matter that an Assembling Authority directs.  There are certain incidents where it is mandatory to conduct a COI.  A Court of Inquiry must occur when a service person dies or is seriously injured in the course of his or her duties, (unless the death or injury occurred during armed conflict); or where an incident is investigated as a disciplinary matter.

Courts of Inquiry have greater status in law than command investigations and therefore offer certain protections which command investigations do not.

Cross Service Court   Members appointed to a Court from different Services.
Exhibit   Any document or real item produced in evidence to the court.
External Legal Assurance Panel   A panel of members comprising Queen’s Counsel, appointed by the Judge Advocate General to provide an independent legal assurance of significant COI, upon request of the superior commander.
High Profile Inquiry   An inquiry which may be the subject of significant or sustained public interest.
Legal Advisor   NZDF Legal officer.
Member   A member of the court of inquiry and includes the President.
Next of Kin NOK The term is not a legal construct but concerns those nominated relative or relatives or family representative(s) appointed as Point of Contact with the COI/Command.
Preliminary Inquiry   A disciplinary investigation which precedes the recording of a charge under the AFDA to determine whether the allegation is well founded.
President   The President of the Court of Inquiry is the most senior officer and member of the COI with responsibility for directing the procedures of the court and ensuring the inquiry addresses its terms of reference.
Record of Proceedings   The record of the evidence collected by the COI and any court report or comment of findings and recommendations.
Redaction   The separation of disclosable from non-disclosable information by blocking out individual words, sentences or paragraphs or the removal of whole pages or sections (normally for privacy or security reasons) prior to any release of the document.
Summons   A legal notice issued by the President to compel a civilian witness to attend an inquiry and produce or provide a document or thing (item). Members of the Armed Forces are ordered to do so.
Superior Commander   CDF, VCDF, Chief of Service, Commander Joint Force NZ and any officer they appoint not below the rank of Colonel or the equivalent to act as a disciplinary officer. The Superior Commander is responsible for approving any release of the COI.
Terms of Reference TOR The direction from the Assembling authority to the court, stating the purpose and requirements of the inquiry that must be addressed.
This page was last reviewed on 15 December 2014.