Royal prerogative of mercy

The Royal prerogative of mercy provides a special avenue for criminal cases to be reopened where a person may have been wrongly convicted or sentenced.  It is usually sought after a person has used all their appeal rights. 

In New Zealand, the Royal prerogative of mercy is exercised by the Governor-General, on the advice of the Minister of Justice.

About the Royal prerogative of mercy

The Royal prerogative of mercy is an important constitutional safeguard in New Zealand's criminal justice system.

It provides a special avenue for criminal cases to be re-opened where a person may have been wrongly convicted or sentenced.

In New Zealand, the prerogative of mercy is exercised by the Governor-General as the Queen's representative. The Governor-General will act on the advice of the Minister of Justice, and has the power to grant a pardon, reduce a sentence, or refer a case back to the courts for reconsideration.

Get an application form

Applications for the Royal prerogative of mercy are made to the Governor-General. A brochure providing additional information and an application form for people considering seeking exercise of the Royal prerogative of mercy can be downloaded from the website of the Governor-General of New Zealand (external link) or provided in hard copy on request by calling Government House on (04) 389 8055 or the Ministry of Justice on (04) 918 8800.

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