The Development of a Separate Crown in New Zealand
Aberystwyth University - Department of Law and Criminology
Australian Journal of Law and Society, Forthcoming
The development of the concept of the divisible Crown occurred as the Dominions obtained control of the prerogative. One king, several kingdoms gradually became several distinct kingships. This was not as the result of any conscious policy decision, but as a result of the natural evolution of domestic laws and practices in the absence of an insistence by the imperial authorities on uniformity.
The Sovereign might have lost his or her personal power, but the institution of the Crown continued. The powers of the Governors-General were generally extended at the expense of the Sovereign, though seldom were they exercisable at the Governor-General's discretion. Rather, they became a significant source of governmental authority, exercised at the behest of Ministers.
The subsequent evolution of this process will be traced in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In each country different forces and influences were at work, but each shared certain common aspects. The development of national Crowns depended particularly upon two factors: The identification of the Sovereign with the individual country, and the patriation of the office of Governor-General. It is the latter which has been most decisive, as it has affected the way in which the office of Governor-General has been perceived. But the former is important also, as the Sovereign is the ultimate personification of the Crown.
The gradual increase in control over the Crown in the Dominions led to the adoption of distinct royal styles and titles, and eventually the acceptance of a separation of the one imperial Crown into many.
National identity did not yet demand abandonment of the Crown, but did demand that it be a national Crown. Yet this partial unity is still reflected in elements of the constitutions of many of the realms of the Queen, including New Zealand.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 28
Keywords: Crown, monarchy, Commonwealth, separate Crowns, independence
JEL Classification: K39Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 18, 2003
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