The Royal Prerogative in the Realms

Commonwealth Law Bulletin, Vol. 33, No. 4, 2007

37 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2008

Date Written: 2007


From 1840 the laws of New Zealand have comprised the common law and statute law, both of which - but especially the former - were originally based upon the laws of England, and which continued to draw upon England jurisprudence. Since New Zealand was regarded as a settled colony, the settlers brought with them such of the laws of England as were applicable to the circumstances of the colony. This included the royal prerogative.

Although elements of the royal prerogative are obsolete or have been subsumed in parliamentary enactments, there are a number of aspects which continue to be used by the Crown today. One is the honours prerogative. The changed nature of the Crown (and in particular its division among the realms) has, however, led to some uncertainties. In particular, the have been questions regarding the use of the royal prerogative in respect of armorial bearings, and the proper exercise and application of the Law of Arms. This has never caused serious difficulties in New Zealand - if indeed it can be said to be an issue at all - but the Canadian case of Black v Chr├ętien has shown that disputes over honours and dignities can arise, and can have serious political or constitutional implications.

This paper considers the introduction of the royal prerogative to the realms, and some of the implications and possible difficulties which this process may have led to.

Keywords: law, royal prerogative, realms, dominions

JEL Classification: K1, K4

Suggested Citation

Cox, Noel S.B., The Royal Prerogative in the Realms (2007). Commonwealth Law Bulletin, Vol. 33, No. 4, 2007, Available at SSRN:

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