What is New Zealand's Constitution and Who Interprets it? Constitutional Realism and the Importance of Public Office-Holders

Public Law Review, Vol. 17, pp. 133-162, 2006

30 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2006

Abstract

This article treats two, reasonably simple, questions: what is the New Zealand constitution and who interprets it? There have been few comprehensive attempts to identify, precisely and systematically, the elements of New Zealand's unwritten constitution. This account is derived from a theoretical perspective labelled constitutional realism that seeks the meaning of a constitution in the real-world understandings and actions of those people involved in the application and interpretation of the constitution. The article further identifies a certain set of public office-holders as having a significant, and underappreciated, role in the reality of New Zealand constitutional interpretation in practice.

Keywords: Constitutions, Comparative Constitutionalism, New Zealand, Realism, Interpretation

JEL Classification: N40

Suggested Citation

Palmer, Matthew S.R., What is New Zealand's Constitution and Who Interprets it? Constitutional Realism and the Importance of Public Office-Holders. Public Law Review, Vol. 17, pp. 133-162, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=916501

Matthew S.R. Palmer (Contact Author)

High Court of New Zealand ( email )

Auckland, CX10222
New Zealand

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
305
Abstract Views
1,221
rank
99,755
PlumX Metrics