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Christchurch City Council abandons appeal against brothels ruling

23 March 2006

Christchurch City Council has decided to instruct its lawyers to abandon a case before the Court of Appeal which sought to overturn a High Court ruling that parts of its Brothels (Location and Signage) Bylaw are invalid. The Court of Appeal was to have considered the case on 2 May.

The city councillors today reconsidered the court action in light of another High Court decision about a similar Auckland City Council bylaw. Christchurch City Council’s legal advisors said the recent Auckland decision made it even less likely the Court of Appeal would overturn the High Court decision.

Both High Court decisions relate to the councils’ desire in their bylaws to prohibit brothels in operating residential areas. The effect of each Council’s bylaw was to prohibit small owner-operator brothels in the suburbs. In this regard, the judges in each case ruled that the bylaws prohibited sex workers from plying their lawful trade from small owner-operated brothels, therefore undermining what Parliament intended when it passed the Prostitution Reform Act in 2003.

Christchurch City Council staff have been asked to prepare a report setting out options available to the council following the abandonment of the appeal.

● 29 July 2005 – the High Court, in Willowford Family Trust and Brown v Christchurch City Council, quashed clauses 6 and 7 of the Christchurch bylaw as it related to the control of brothels
● 4 August 2005 – Christchurch City Council decides to appeal against the Willowford decision in the Court of Appeal
● 14 March 2006 – Mr Justice Heath, in the High Court, issued the decision in J B International Ltd v Auckland city Council, finding that an Auckland City Council bylaw which controlled the location of brothels was invalid. 


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