The SFO's job is to present the best possible argument to the Court

The Justice System

New Zealand’s justice system is part of our system of government. It's made up of a number of institutions, groups of people and individuals who make, apply and enforce the law.

The institutions of government are divided into Parliament or Legislature (elected MPs), the Executive (Governor General, the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers), and the Judiciary (judges and judicial officers).

The system has checks and balances in place so that no individual group within the government can become too powerful. New Zealand’s constitution sets out how Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary have their own roles and how they also work together to make, pass, apply and enforce the law.

Laws are written by the Executive and passed through Parliament. It is the role of New Zealand’s courts and judges to interpret these laws and ensure that people, groups and institutions in New Zealand comply with them.


When the SFO has a case, it is our job to present the best possible argument to the Court. Courts are independent and impartial and the decisions of individual judges sitting in courts are subject only to law. The Court will consider the evidence on all sides of the case, interpret the law as it applies to that evidence and then make a decision. It is not the role of the SFO to find guilt or seek compensation for losses suffered by victims.

We do play an important role in public disclosure of cases and when a custodial sentences are imposed they are a strong deterrent of financial crime. High profile cases are an opportunity for the SFO to share our expertise and increase understanding of the impact of complex financial crime on victims and business.

The Justice Sector

The Justice Sector is made up the SFO and five other government departments:

Ministry of Justice
New Zealand Police
Department of Corrections
Crown Law Office
Child, Youth and Family (part of the Ministry of Social Development)

It is lead by the Ministry of Justice. We all work together to make New Zealand safer and to deliver accessible justice services and better outcomes for all New Zealanders.