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New Zealand: New Rules on Drones Come into Effect

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(July 31, 2015) On August 1, 2015, new and amended Civil Aviation Rules on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) came into effect in New Zealand. The rules, which were developed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) under the Civil Aviation Act 1990, were approved by the Associate Minister of Transport on April 8, 2015. (Notification of Ordinary Rules (May 7, 2015), 47 NEW ZEALAND GAZETTE 2706; Civil Aviation Act 1990, New Zealand Legislation website.) The CAA stated that the changes are part of its interim approach to regulating unmanned aircraft and "strike a balance between safety and enabling operations." (Press Release, CAA, New Civil Aviation Rules for Unmanned Aircraft Operations Come into Force (July 23, 2015), CAA website.)

Amended Civil Aviation Rules Part 101

Civil Aviation Rules Part 101, which was originally designed to regulate traditional model aircraft, has been amended to allow operators of unmanned aircraft to operate their aircrafts without needing to seek CAA approval, as long as "they remain strictly within the operating limits" prescribed in the Part. (Id.) To come within Part 101, unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 25 kilograms (about 55 pounds); aircraft between 15 kilograms and 25 kilograms must be inspected and approved by an approved organization and operated under its authority. (Civil Aviation Rules Part 101, Gyrogliders and Parasails, Unmanned Aircraft (including Balloons), Kites, and Rockets – Operating Rules, Amendment 6 (Apr. 8, 2015), r 101.215, CAA website.) Currently, the only organization authorized to approve such small model or other unmanned aircraft is Model Flying New Zealand, the national association of RPAS/model aircraft enthusiasts. (RPAS, UAV, UAS, Drones and Model Aircraft, CAA website (last visited July 29, 2015).)

The Rules include:

  • restrictions on operating unmanned aircraft within a military operating area, other designated areas, and low-flying zones;
  • a requirement to "take all practicable steps" to minimize hazards to persons, property, and other aircraft;
  • restrictions on operating an aircraft in areas or conditions where a person's view is obstructed, with the operator being required to maintain a visual line of sight with the aircraft;
  • a requirement that the operator not operate unmanned aircraft outside at night and not fly such aircraft at any height above 400 feet (subject to certain exceptions and notification requirements); and
  • a requirement that operators ensure that their aircraft remain clear of all manned aircraft both on the ground and in flight. (Civil Aviation Rules Part 101, Amendment 6, rr 101.7, 101.9, 101.13, 101.207, 101.209, 101.211, & 101.213.)

One of the amendments to the Part is a requirement that operators of unmanned aircraft obtain consent from persons and property owners before flying the aircraft over them or their property. (Id. r 101.207.) The CAA is encouraging public land owners to be "proactive," suggesting that they erect signs at the entrance to parks stating whether unmanned aircraft are permitted there or not. (New Drone Rules Unveiled, NEW ZEALAND HERALD (July 23, 2015).)

New Civil Aviation Rules Part 102

The new Civil Aviation Rules Part 102 requires those who wish to conduct unmanned aircraft operations that exceed the operating limits in Part 101 to obtain a certificate from the CAA. According to the CAA, due to the lack of established standards in the sector, the interim approach is to have "minimal prescription" in the applicable rules, with operating requirements for unmanned aircraft instead "determined for each application on a case by case basis." (Pending Rules, CAA (last visited July 29, 2015) [Note: this webpage, which appeared as a temporary site, may no longer be accessible].) The new rules require, for example, "anyone who wants to operate a UAV at night, beyond line of sight or above 400 feet to get certification." (Press Release, Simon Bridges & Craig Foss, New World-Class Framework for UAVs (July 23, 2015), BEEHIVE.GOVT.NZ.)

In order to be granted an operator's certificate, an applicant must have conducted an adequate assessment of the safety risk posed by conducting the proposed unmanned aircraft operations. The applicant must also have developed procedures to adequately manage any risks and ensure the operation is conducted safely. (Civil Aviation Rules Part 102, Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certification (Apr. 8, 2015), r 102.1, CAA website.)

The Rules specify the matters that must be addressed in an "exposition" that is submitted to the Director of the CAA. (Id. r 102.11.) When granting a certificate, the Director may impose requirements and specify procedures to be followed by the operator. (Id. r 102.13.) Certificates will include an "operations specification" that records certain information about the operator and the operations he or she is permitted to perform. (Id. r 102.15.) Certificates may be granted for a period of up to five years and may be renewed. (Id. rr 102.19 & 102.25.) The CAA has published a sample exposition to demonstrate what should be included in an operator's application. (Sample Exposition: CAR Part 102 Unmanned Aircraft Operators Certificate, Document Version 0, CAA website (July 29, 2015).)

Breaches of Civil Aviation Rules are investigated by the CAA and may result in a fine, a written warning, or prosecution under Part 5 of the Civil Aviation Act 1990.

Use of Drones in New Zealand

The Minister of Transport, Simon Bridges, noted that "UAVs are increasingly popular in a wide variety of operations, including scientific research, agriculture, fire-fighting, film and video production, as well as search and rescue." (New CAA Drone Rules Welcomed, NEW ZEALAND HERALD (July 25, 2015).) For example, it was recently reported that a courier company in Auckland had partnered with an Australian UAV company to create an aerial delivery service, with the first drone parcel delivery trial taking place in Auckland in June 2015. The news report stated, "New Zealand has become a key testing ground for the drones because of its favourable legislation and a relatively uncrowded airspace." (Matthew Theunissen, Parcel Delivery by Drone, NEW ZEALAND HERALD (June 21, 2015).) The Associate Minister, Craig Foss, stated in announcing the new rules that he hopes "to see more businesses embracing unmanned aircraft and the opportunities they present, including the ability to simplify operations, save time and money, and offer new services — the sky's the limit." (New World-Class Framework for UAVs, supra.)

According to news Reports citing information provided by the CAA, in 2011 there was just one incident involving drones reported to the CAA, but there were 27 incidents in 2014 and there have been 53 since the start of 2015. (New CAA Drone Rules Welcomed, supra; New Drone Rules Unveiled, supra.) While the exact number of unmanned aircraft operating in New Zealand is not known, the CAA has reported that it receives 50 inquiries per week relating to their use. (New CAA Drone Rules Welcomed, supra.)

Privacy Concerns

The office of the Privacy Commissioner recently published a blog post on its first privacy complaint related to the use of drone technology. A man complained that a drone operated by a television company came close to his apartment, which is located near a sports stadium. The drone operator stated that the recording equipment on the drone was not turned on at the time; therefore the complaint was dismissed by the Privacy Commissioner, as there had been no breach of privacy. (Sam Grover, Droning on Drones, PRIVACY COMMISSIONER (July 6, 2015).) The post notes, however, the CAA's rule changes on the need to obtain permission from people who will be affected by a drone's use. (Id.)

The CAA website points out that the Privacy Commissioner's guidelines on CCTV use also apply to many situations in which unmanned aircraft are used. (RPAS, UAV, UAS, Drones and Model Aircraft – Privacy, CAA (last visited July 31, 2015).) An earlier blog post by the office of the Privacy Commissioner provided further information on the potential application of privacy legislation and other statutes to drone use. (Charles Mabbett, Game of Drones, PRIVACY COMMISSIONER (Jan. 21, 2015).)

Author: Kelly Buchanan More by this author
Topic: Administrative law and regulatory procedures More on this topic
 Aviation and airports More on this topic
 Science and technology More on this topic
 Transportation safety and security More on this topic
Jurisdiction: New Zealand More about this jurisdiction

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Ireland: Gender Recognition Bill Passed

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(July 31, 2015) On July 15, 2015, the Gender Recognition Bill 2014 was passed by the Oireachtas (Irish legislature). (Gender Recognition Bill 2014, No. 116/2014, HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS.) The bill was signed into law by the President of Ireland on July 22. (2015 Legislation, PRESIDENT OF IRELAND.)

The bill enables transgender people to obtain full legal recognition of their preferred gender by securing a gender recognition certificate. (Gender Recognition Bill 2014, § 8.) The bill allows those over 18 to self-declare their gender change; however, those aged between 16 and 18 must undergo a court process involving the furnishing of supporting medical statements. (Government Agrees Self-Declaration Approach for Gender Recognition Bill, DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL PROTECTION (June 3, 2015).)

The final version of the bill did not include the so-called "forced divorce" provision. (Mary Minihan, Gender Recognition Bill Will Drop "Forced Divorce" Clause, IRISH TIMES (June 3, 2015).) Previously, because same-sex marriage was constitutionally prohibited, individuals applying for a gender recognition certificate could not be married. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has welcomed this development as the "latest outworking" of the recent marriage equality referendum vote. (Rights Watchdog Welcomes Latest Outworking of Marriage Equality Vote, Irish Council for Civil Liberties website (July 16, 2015).)

Prepared by Lucy Jones, Law Library Intern, under the supervision of Luis Acosta, Chief, Foreign, International, and Comparative Law Division II.

Author: Luis Acosta More by this author
Topic: Civil rights and liberties More on this topic
 Discrimination More on this topic
 Marriage and family status More on this topic
 Same-sex marriage More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Ireland More about this jurisdiction

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Israel: Supreme Court Approves Harsher Sentencing for Stealing Smart Phones

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(July 31, 2015) On July 14, 2015, Israel's Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, rejected an appeal of a sentence imposed on a person convicted of four robberies of minors 14 to 15 years of age involving smart phones. (CrimA 8627/14 Dvir v. State of Israel, STATE OF ISRAEL: THE JUDICIAL AUTHORITY (July 13, 2015) (in Hebrew).)

The Lower Court Sentence

The Central District Court sentenced the appellant to 36 months of actual imprisonment and 12 months of probationary imprisonment on condition that he would not commit any offenses involving violence or theft for a period of three years. In addition, the appellant was ordered to pay compensation to one of the victims who had been harmed in the course of the perpetrators' escape from the scene of one of the robberies. (CrimA 8627/14 ¶ 2.)

The appellant had admitted that the robberies were conducted while he was driving a car and his accomplice snatched a cellular phone from each of the victims and that in one case, when he had started speeding to escape from the scene of the crime, his car door was open and it injured the victim. The appellant was accordingly convicted by the Central District Court of four offenses of serious robberies carried out by a group, under section 402(b) and 29 of the Penal Law, and of conspiring to commit a felony or misdemeanor and a crime under section 449(1-2) of that Law. (CrimA 8627/14 ¶ 1; Penal Law, 5737-1977, 1 LAWS OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL (Special Volume) 1977 (as amended).)

The Supreme Court's View

According to Justice Isaac Amit, writing on behalf of the Supreme Court, the appellate court usually refrains from intervening in a sentence imposed by an adjudicating court, except in unusual cases of an "extreme deviation from sentencing policy or when there was a substantive error in the sentence." (CrimA 8627/14, ¶ 4.) The circumstances in this case, Amit determined, did not present any such grounds. (Id.)

On the appropriateness of imposing a severe punishment for the theft of cellular phones, Amit opined:

Theft and burglary of a cellular phone is not the same as theft and burglary of money or other chattel. The smartphone has become a person's good friend. … [I]n the cellular phone lies the life story of a person … containing significant moments and memories in the life of a person, along with information and essential details of his/her daily functions -- photos of him/herself and of loved ones, addresses and telephone numbers of relatives and friends, a diary, reminders, a calendar, etc. Not every person protects himself/herself by backing up the content of the equipment in a cloud, and retrieval of the details is sometimes impossible and at times involves time and monetary resources. …
In addition to the loss of access [to these details] and the anxiety [that creates], the theft of a cellular phone constitutes an invasion of a person's most private space … . A recent technological advance even transforms this cellular equipment into a means of payment called "a digital wallet," which is gradually replacing hard credit cards. Even assuming that the average Israeli thief is not interested in the content [stored in] the cellular equipment, the knowledge that the theft might result in blackmail or in dissemination of personal and sensitive information is sufficient to increase the anxiety and the feeling of loss of control of the victim of the theft. … [This] indicates that theft and burglary of a cellular phone should not be viewed as a "regular" property offense, and this is [the reason for] the policy of [imposing] harsh penalties on such offenses." (Id. ¶ 7.)
The Supreme Court therefore upheld the sentence.

Author: Ruth Levush More by this author
Topic: Cell phones More on this topic
 Crime and law enforcement More on this topic
 Crimes against property More on this topic
 Sentencing More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Israel More about this jurisdiction

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Armenia: Veterans Permitted to Seek Medical Treatment Abroad

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(July 30, 2015) On July 2, 2015, the President of Armenia signed into law amendments to the Law on Social Security of Servicemen and Their Family Members that provide for full government financing of medical treatment abroad of servicemen injured during military service. (Press Release, President Serzh Sargsyan Signed a Number of Laws Passed by the National Assembly, President of the Republic of Armenia official website (July 2, 2015) (in Armenian).) The amended Law requires the state to pay for medical treatment, travel, and accommodation expenses if adequate treatment in Armenia is not available for the serviceman. (Law No. 258/1998, OFFICIAL GAZETTE No. 258 (1998), ARLIS [Armenian Legal Information System] (in Armenian).)

On July 23, 2015, the Government of Armenia passed resolutions ordering the allocation of funds to implement these amendments. (Government of Republic of Armenia Increases Military Insurance, ARMENPRESS (July 23, 2015).)

Background

The explanatory note to the draft version of the amendments to the Law stated that numerous young men who join the army in good health receive wounds, injuries, and mutilating diseases that cannot be treated in Armenia and, as a result of the lack of access to proper care, remain permanently bedridden or wheelchair-bound. This situation also negatively affects the government's recruitment efforts. (Gayane Mkrtchyan, Armenian Government Endorses Bill on Budget-Funded Treatment of Wounded Soldiers Abroad, ARMENIANOW.COM (May 22, 2015).)

According to Member of Parliament Edmon Marukyan, one of the sponsors of the legislation, the necessity of amending the Law became evident due to the highly publicized case of Gevorg Yeghiazaryan, a serviceman who was seriously wounded by a gunshot while on duty at his military post in 2011. (Armenian Parliament Votes Unanimously for Bill on State Payment of Servicemen's Treatment Abroad, PANORAMA.AM (June 18, 2015).) In this case, the Ministry of Defense initially allocated US$70,000 to pay for Yeghiazaryan's treatment at an Israeli clinic, but then refused to finance the second phase of the treatment. (Mkrtchyan, supra.)

Written by Nerses Isajanyan, Foreign Law Consultant under the supervision of Peter Roudik, Director of Legal Research.

Author: Peter Roudik More by this author
Topic: Health More on this topic
 Military service More on this topic
 Veterans More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Armenia More about this jurisdiction

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Canada: Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of Pakistani Canadian Pilot in Discrimination Case

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(July 30, 2015) On July 23, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the appeal of a Pakistani Canadian pilot in a discrimination case filed against Bombardier, an aerospace company. (Quebec (Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse) v. Bombardier Inc. (Bombardier Aerospace Training Center), 2015 SCC 39, Judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada website.)

Case History

In 2004, Javed Latif, who held both a U.S. and a Canadian pilot's license, applied for training at Bombardier's pilot training center located in Dallas, Texas, under his U.S. license. The security clearance needed was not granted by American authorities, however, and Latif was refused the training. Latif then applied at Bombardier's Montreal center, using his Canadian pilot's license. This request was also denied by Bombardier, which based its decision on that of the U.S. authorities without knowing the motivation behind their decision. (Id. ss. 5-15.)

Latif filed a complaint with the Commission des droits de l'homme et de la jeunesse (Commission for Human Rights and for Youth), citing racial discrimination by Bombardier. (Id. s. 18). The Commission initiated proceedings on behalf of Latif in the Human Rights Tribunal, under various sections of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms (COMPILATION OF QUEBEC LAWS AND REGULATIONS, c. 12 (updated to July 1, 2015), PUBLICATIONS QUEBEC); the Tribunal sided with Latif and granted him damages of about CA$320,000 (about US$247, 450). (Quebec (Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse) v. Bombardier Inc. (Bombardier Aerospace Training Center), ss. 20-25.) The Human Rights Tribunal is a specialized Quebec tribunal that has jurisdiction over discrimination and harassment complaints brought under the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. (Ann-Marie Jones, The Human Rights Tribunal, Justice Quebec website (June 25, 2015).)

On appeal, the Quebec Court of Appeal rejected the decision of the Tribunal, stating the lack of sufficient proof of racial discrimination on the part of the U.S. government. Without proof of discrimination by American authorities, in the Court's view, it was impossible to find such discrimination in the Montreal Bombardier center's similar refusal of Latif's application. (Quebec (Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse) v. Bombardier Inc. (Bombardier Aerospace Training Center), ss. 26-27.)

The Supreme Court of Canada's Ruling

The seven justices present on the Supreme Court bench, in a unanimous ruling, rejected Latif's appeal, explaining that there was no sufficient proof of discrimination based on race. The justices opined that it had not been shown on a balance of probabilities that there was a connection between a prohibited ground of discrimination and Bombadier's decision to deny the individual's training request. (Id. s. 98.)

Explanation of Establishment of Discrimination

The Court explained the two-step process needed to establish that discrimination has occurred under section 10 of the Quebec Charter. First, the plaintiff must prove that there was "prima facie" discrimination, by: 1) establishing "a distinction, exclusion or preference" in the way he was treated; then 2) establishing that this treatment is based on one of the specific grounds listed in section 10, paragraph 1; and finally 3) proving that the discrimination, exclusion, or preference resulted in the nullification or impairment of "the right to full and equal recognition and exercise of a human right or freedom." (Id. ss. 42-54.) These three elements of prima facie discrimination need to be established according to a standard of proof on "a balance of probabilities." If the defendant has freed itself from this burden of proof, the Court proceeds to the next step. (Id. ss. 56 & 64.)

The second step, the Court stated, is to shift the burden of proof onto the defendant, who can either put forth evidence contradicting the accusation of discrimination, or justify its allegedly discriminatory decision or conduct according to the various acceptable exceptions provided by the law. Failure to fill this obligation will result in the discrimination being recognized. (Id. s. 64.)

Rejection of Tribunal Decision

The Supreme Court ruled that the Tribunal's decision was unreasonable and that there was insufficient proof to determine that discrimination had occurred. (Id. s. 73.) The Commission failed to demonstrate that there was a connection between the Bombardier decision and Latif's ethnicity, the justices stated. In order to establish this connection, A it would have sufficed to prove that the exclusion by American authorities had been motivated by Latif's ethnicity. (Id. s. 80.) The Court also pointed out, "[i]t cannot be presumed solely on the basis of a social context of discrimination against a group that a specific decision against a member of that group is necessarily based on a prohibited ground under the Charter." (Id. s. 88.)

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court cautioned Canadian companies that its decision did not allow them to follow discriminatory decisions taken by foreign entities:

However, we wish to make it clear that our conclusion in this case does not mean that a company can blindly comply with a discriminatory decision of a foreign authority without exposing itself to liability under the Charter. Our conclusion flows from the fact that there is simply no evidence in this case of a connection between a prohibited ground and the foreign decision in question. (Id. s. 99.)
Prepared by Julia Heron, Law Library Intern, under the supervision of Tariq Ahmad, Senior Legal Research Analyst.

Author: Tariq Ahmad More by this author
Topic: Civil rights and liberties More on this topic
 Discrimination More on this topic
 Human rights and civil liberties More on this topic
 Racial and ethnic relations More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Canada More about this jurisdiction

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