Report

A comparative perspective on reforming the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act

4 Dec 2014
Description

This model grants to legislatures ultimate responsibility for the resolution of controversial rights issues while at the same time seeking to improve the rights sensitivity of the legislative process and increasing the rights protective powers of courts as compared with the traditional institutional form of parliamentary supremacy.

Summary
As an academic comparative constitutional lawyer, I come to the recent Constitutional Advisory Panel report and the issue of whether and how the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (NZBORA) should be reformed from a particular – perhaps idiosyncratic – perspective. This is viewing the NZBORA as an influential version of a new general model of constitutionalism. This model grants to legislatures ultimate responsibility for the resolution of controversial rights issues while at the same time seeking to improve the rights sensitivity of the legislative process and increasing the rights protective powers of courts as compared with the traditional institutional form of parliamentary supremacy. At least in theory and aspiration, this general model provides an alternative to both the latter, venerable form of constitutional arrangement and its conventional rival, the model of constitutional supremacy, involving a fully constitutionalised regime of supreme, entrenched law enforced by the power of one or more courts to invalidate inconsistent statutes. As an experiment, this new model seeks to create greater balance between courts and legislatures on the resolution of contested rights issues than the traditional alternatives, whilst also providing an effective regime of rights protection.
 

Publication Details
Published year only: 
2014
21
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