This conversation series will invite judges from a wide range of jurisdictions, including national and supranational courts, to address questions about the separation of powers in the context of their own jurisdictions. Issues to be explored include the legal and political factors that determine the role of the judiciary, the relationship between the judiciary and other institutions, and the concept of judicial independence.

Discussants for this event are Max Harris (Examination Fellow at All Souls College, University of Oxford) and David Williams (Visiting Professor at Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford)

This conversation will ask:

HOW IS THE “NEW COMMONWEALTH MODEL” OF HUMAN RIGHTS ADJUDICATION WORKING IN MULTI-CULTURAL NEW ZEALAND?

New Zealand adopted a Bill of Rights in 1990, a law that in many ways served as a model for the United Kingdom Human Rights Act, 1999, and which has been described by commentators such as Stephen Gardbaum as one of the prime examples of the “new Commonwealth model of constitutionalism”  (Gardbaum The New Commonwealth Model of Constitutionalism: Theory and Practice 2013: Cambridge).  Like the United Kingdom too, New Zealand does not have a single document that serves as its Constitution.  The Treaty of Waitangi (1840) is one of the founding constitutional texts in New Zealand. That Treaty sought to regulate and preserve the rights of the indigenous Maori community. In this conversation, Dame Sian will discuss the role of the Bill of Rights in New Zealand law, as well as the manner in which the courts have grappled with giving effect to Maori rights and customs.