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
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: Suggested Citation