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Article
“What is New Zealand’s Constitution and Who Interprets it? Constitutional Realism and the Importance of Public Office-holders”
Public Law Review (2006)
  • Matthew S. R. Palmer, Victoria University of Wellington
Abstract

In May 2007 this article was awarded the Legal Research Foundation's Sir Ian Barker Published Article Award for the best article, essay or discrete book chapter published by a New Zealand-based author in 2005 or 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 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 set of identified public office-holders as having a significant, and under-appreciated role in the reality of New Zealand constitutional interpretation in practice.

Keywords
  • New Zealand,
  • Constitution,
  • Realism
Disciplines
Publication Date
June, 2006
Publisher Statement
This article was first published in the (2006) Vol 17 Public Law Review, a publication of the ©Lawbook Co, part of Thomson Legal & Regulatory Limited www.thomson.com.au”. Republished with permission. Non-commercial viewing, copying, printing and/or distribution or reproduction of this article or any copy or material portion of the article is permitted on condition that any copy or material portion thereof must contain copyright notice referring “Copyright ©2006 Lawbook Co t/a Thomson Legal & Regulatory Limited.” Any commercial use of the article or any copy or material portion of the article is strictly prohibited. For commercial use, permission can be obtained from Lawbook Co, Thomson Legal & Regulatory Limited, PO Box 3502, Rozelle NSW 2039. www.thomson.com.au
Citation Information
Matthew S. R. Palmer. “What is New Zealand’s Constitution and Who Interprets it? Constitutional Realism and the Importance of Public Office-holders” (2006) 17 Public Law Review 133.