A Conceptual Framework for the New Zealand Tort of Intrusion

23 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2016 Last revised: 25 Mar 2019

See all articles by N. A. Moreham

N. A. Moreham

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 31, 2016


This article provides a conceptual framework for understanding the nascent New Zealand privacy tort. It argues that, although it has the potential to be applied more broadly, the intrusion tort should focus on unwarranted watching, listening and recording of activities in respect of which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. The article is divided into three main parts. It begins by identifying retreat and inaccessibility as the basis for Anglo-Commonwealth understandings of privacy and providing a taxonomy of six sub-interests which fall within it. Then, it considers which of those six privacy sub-categories should come within the scope of the intrusion tort. Finally, the intrusion tort is reformulated so that it is clear precisely what behaviour it seeks to proscribe and on what legal basis.

Keywords: Privacy, intrusion, New Zealand, tort, surveillance, reasonable expectation of privacy, highly offensive to a reasonable person, observation, voyeurism, eavesdropping

JEL Classification: K13

Suggested Citation

Moreham, Nicole A., A Conceptual Framework for the New Zealand Tort of Intrusion (May 31, 2016). (2016) 47 VUWLR 283; Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 7/2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2787503

Nicole A. Moreham (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand

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