New Zealand

W. John Hopkins

in International Law and Domestic Legal Systems

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199694907
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731914 | DOI:
New Zealand

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The incorporation of international law into New Zealand law remains uncertain and fraught with difficulties. Lack of parliamentary oversight means that treaties can be entered into with very limited domestic accountability, and once accepted the executive's duty to follow them is unclear. In terms of custom, the courts' formal acceptance of customary international law must be tempered by their willingness to do so only on their own, often conflicting, terms. New Zealand appears to be stumbling towards a modified monism across both custom and treaty but the judge-made nature of this development leaves the new approach lacking coherence. Despite the unsatisfactory nature of the current situation, political realities mean that the current lack of clarity is unlikely to be resolved any time soon. While academics will attempt to impose a degree of rationality on the system, the reality of the New Zealand judiciary's ‘pick and mix’ approach to international law is likely to endure.

Keywords: customary international law; domestic law; constitutional law; parliamentary oversight; treaties

Chapter.  10279 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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