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The constitutional monarchy of New Zealand gained full independence from the United Kingdom in 1947. It operates as a unitary state, and not as a federal system like Australia or Canada. Its legislature is unicameral, that is, there exists in its Parliament only a House of Representatives, with no Upper House. Like its parent state, New Zealand has no written constitution, although a constitution exists in a series of statutes, letters of patent, treaties, and tradition. Due to its once being part of the United Kingdom, New Zealand still operates using the common law tradition and its legal materials are housed in Langdell. New Zealand is part of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Captain Cook landed in New Zealand in 1769 and declared it a British possession. This political reality came into legal reality on 6 February 1840 with the Treaty of Waitangi. The British Parliament passed the 1846 Constitution Act which was soon superseded by the New Zealand Constitution Act of 1852, which provides the anchor to New Zealand's modern constitution. In 1907 New Zealand became a dominion, although its legal status as a colony of the United Kingdom did not change. The 1931 Statute of Westminster allowed New Zealand to become fully independent from the U.K. and it was formally adopted in 1947 by the New Zealand's Parliament enacting the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act. One final act in 1973, the New Zealand Constitution Amendment Act formalized the independence of New Zealand.
1. The most comprehensive online guide is by Margaret Greville, a law librarian at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Written in August 2005, it is available at Globelex (http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/new_zealand.htm). Descriptions of the primary legal sources, government structure, and a detailed subject listing is available on this site.
2. Another excellent site is by the University of Waikato (http://www.waikato.ac.nz/library/resources/law/s_nz.shtml). This also features a link to online Maori law resources.
3. The New Zealand Legal Information Institute (NZLII) offer links to all aspects of New Zealand law online, and part of the World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII) site at (http://www.worldlii.org/catalog/242.html), which also features links to New Zealand law.
4. Two other sites provide additional information although they both link to the above-referenced sites. Washlaw has a New Zealand page at (http://www.washlaw.edu/forint/pacific/neland.html) and the Law Library of Congress also features a New Zealand page at (http://www.loc.gov/law/guide/newzealand.html).
1. Lexis-Nexis features basic case law and statutes for New Zealand.
a. Case Law: N.Z. Law Reports 1958-; Butterworth's Current Law 1996-; N.Z. Administrative Reports 1995-; N.Z. Resource Management Appeals 1991-; N.Z. District Court Reports 1996-; and N.Z. Family Law Reports 1981-.
b. Additional New Zealand resources include the Laws of New Zealand, a commentary based on the laws as of 17 March 2003 and Mealey's Litigation Report 1993- for international arbitration.
2. Westlaw contains no primary legal materials for New Zealand. It does provide news and business information from periodicals published in or about New Zealand.
Library of Congress call numbers for New Zealand law begin with KUQ. These materials are housed in Langdell on BNorth. Print resources can be identified on HOLLIS. A listing of some key resources follows.
1. As noted above the New Zealand Constitution is not a single document as is the case in the United States, but rather a framework of written and unwritten sources in the same manner as the United Kingdom or Israel. The main sources of the New Zealand Constitution are: rule of law; legislation from both the parliaments of New Zealand and the United Kingdom; constitutional conventions; common law; Letters of Patent; and the Treaty of Waitangi. A detailed explanation of the constitution and its various parts can be read on pp. 130-50 of Morag McDowell's, The New Zealand Legal System: Structures, Processes and Legal Theory (3d ed.), cited below at E(2)(b).
2. The national legislature is the Parliament of New Zealand. As of October 1996, it is comprised of 120 members chosen in a mixed member parliament (MMP) method. Currently 62 members are directly elected, 7 Maori seats are elected, and 51 seats are decided by electorate votes for a specific party. The parliament chooses a government based on majority of a single party or a coalition of parties. The de facto head of government is the prime minister of New Zealand. However, the executive head of the government is the Queen, with power vested in an appointed Governor General.
a. The official series for statutory law is the Statutes of New Zealand which begin in 1860 (KUQ 13.N49). Statutes from 1841-1860 appear in two works as the Statutes of the General Assembly of New Zealand (1841-1853 and 1854-1860). Statutes passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom may also still be in full force and effect. Please see our guide to researching British Statutes. A finite list of such statutes was passed in 1988 as the Imperial Laws Application Act of 1988. An index to using the statutes is available in the print work, Tables of New Zealand Acts and Ordinances and Statutory Regulations in Force, which begins in 1985 at KUQ10.T33. For more information see J.F. Burrows, Statute Law in New Zealand, 3d ed. (2003) at KUQ1990. B87 2003.
b. The statutes are officially online here.
1. The official publication for case law is New Zealand Law Reports KUQ 19.A2 1883 which begins in 1883. There are also some twenty series of law reports by subject.
2. Online sources include those on Lexis-Nexis listed above. Internet sources include Judicial Opinions Online from the New Zealand Ministry of Justice. These decisions include all Supreme Court decisions; Court of Appeal decisions from 2003 onward; and High Court decisions from August 2005 onward. The University of Waikato's site also offers a comprehensive directory of online decisions.
3. The best manner for finding cases in print is using The Abridgement of New Zealand Case Law (KUQ22. W55x 1963), which indexes case law from 1861 to the present. Cases can also be found in a variety of subject-related reporters.
4. The official site for New Zealand courts provides an overview of the structure, purpose and history of the major courts there. The three major courts are the Supreme Court, the High Court and the Court of Appeals.
5. The WorldLII site provides a detailed online listing of courts and court reports as well.
1. New Zealand has such a reference work which encompasses both case and statutory law and presents those resources in alphabetical subject areas. The Laws of New Zealand (KUQ25.5 L39x) is available in print or on Lexis-Nexis. The print service is current up to 2007.
2. General Legal Research
a. Web Resources: see Section I.B. supra.
b. Print Resources:
i. Morag McDowell and Duncan Webb, The New Zealand Legal System: Structures, Processes and Legal Theory, 4th ed. (Butterworths, 2006), KUQ68 .M35x 2002.
ii. R.D. Mulholland, Introduction to the New Zealand Legal System, 10th ed. (Butterworths, 2001), KUQ68.M85 2001x.
3. Administrative Law
a. Philip A. Joseph, Constitutional and Administrative Law in New Zealand, 3d ed. (Brookers, 2007), KUQ1750.J67 2007x.
4. Banking Law
a. Alan L. Tyree, Tyree's Banking Law in New Zealand, 2d ed. (LexisNexis, 2003), KUQ885.T97x 2003.
5. Bankruptcy Law
a. Tony Agar and Gerard Coles, Insolvency: New Zealand Law Society Seminar (New Zealand Law Society, 1994), KUQ963.I57x 1994.
b. Roman Tomasic, Insolvency Law in East Asia (Ashgate, 2006), ILS KNC362 .I57 2006.
6. Commercial Law
a. Phillippa Gerbic and Martin Lawrence, Understanding Commercial Law, 5th ed. (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2002), KUQ856.G47x 2002.
b. David Rowe and Cynthia Hawes, eds., Commercial Law Essays: A New Zealand Collection (Centre for Commercial & Corporate Law, 2003), KUQ856.C66x 2003.
c. John Skinnon and John McDermott, eds., Law of Marketing in New Zealand, 2d ed. (Butterworths, 2001), KUQ982.3.L39x 2001.
7. Conflict of Laws
a. David Goddard and Helen McQueen, Private International Law in New Zealand (New Zealand Law Society, 2001), KUQ480.P75x 2001.
8. Constitutional Law
a. Peter C. Oliver, The Constitution of Independence: the Development of Constitutional Theory in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand (Oxford U. Press, 2005), K3165.O43 2005.
b. G.W.R. Palmer and Matthew Palmer, Bridled Power: New Zealand's Constitution and Government, 4th ed. (Oxford U. Press, 2004), JQ5831.P35 2004.
9. Contract Law
a. J.F. Burrows, Jeremy Finn, and Stephen Todd, Law of Contract in New Zealand, 3rd ed. (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2007), KUQ810.B873x 2007.
b. Maree Chetwin and Stephen Graw, An Introduction to the Law of Contract in New Zealand, 4th ed. (Brookers, 2006), KUQ810.C48 2001.
10. Corporate Law
a. Andrew Beck and Andrew Borrowdale, Guidebook to New Zealand Companies and Securities Law, 7th ed. (CCH New Zealand, 2002), KUQ956.B43x 2002.
b. Ross Grantham and Charles E.F. Rickett, Company and Securities Law: Commentary and Materials (Brookers, 2002), KUQ956.G73 2002.
c. Robin Burnett, Law of International Business Transactions, 3d ed. (Federation Press, 2004), KVC247.B87 2004.
d. Susan Watson, The Law of Business Organisations, 3d ed. (Palatine Press, 1999), KUQ952.W38x 1999.
e. Doing Business in New Zealand (Arthur Andersen, 1997), KUQ956.D65x 1997.
11. Criminal Law
a. A.P. Simester and W.J. Brookbanks, Principles of Criminal Law, 3d ed. (Brookers, 2007), KUQ3800.S58 2007.
b. J. Bruce Robertson, Adams On Criminal Law, 3d ed. (Brookers, 2001), KUQ3800.A33 2001.
12. Employment Law
a. LexisNexis Employment Law Guide, 7th ed. (LexisNexis, 2005), KUQ1237.B88x 2005.
b. Alan J. Geare, Employment Relations (Otago U. Press, 2007), KUQ1220 .G43 2007.
13. Environmental Law
a. Klaus Bosselmann and David Grinlinton, Environmental Law for a Sustainable Society (New Zealand Centre for Environmental Law, 2002), KUQ1507.E59x 2002.
b. David A.R. Williams, ed., Environmental and Resource Management Law in New Zealand, 2d ed. (Buttersworth, 1997), KUQ1507.E58x 1997.
14. Equity Law
a. G.E. Dal Pont and D.R.C. Chalmers, Equity and Trusts in Australia and New Zealand, 2d ed. (LBC Information Services, 2000), KU490.D35 2000x.
a. Evidence Code and Commentary (New Zealand Law Commission, 1999), KUQ3542.A23 1999.
b. Evidence: Reform of the Law (New Zealand Law Commission, 1999), KUQ3542.A23 1999a.
c. Ian Wilson, Key Concepts in Evidence, 1st ed. (Paihinu, 1997), KUQ3542.W55x 1997.
d. Donald L. Mathieson, editor, Evidence [looseleaf edition](Butterworths, 1996-), KUQ3542.E95x.
16. Family Law
a. John Lulich, ed., Family Law in New Zealand, 12th ed. (LexisNexis, 2005), KUQ540.F36x 2005.
17. Health Care Law
a. Sue Johnson, editor, Health Care and the Law, 3d ed. (Thomson/Brookers, 2004), KUQ1520.W35x 2004.
b. P.D.G. Skegg and Ron Paterson, eds., Medical Law In New Zealand (Thomson/Brookers, 2006), KUQ1520 .M43x 2006.
18. Indigenous Peoples
a. F.M. Brookfield, Waitangi and Indigenous Rights: Revolution, Law, and Legitimation (Auckland University Press, 2006), WID-LC KUQ2565 .B76 2006x.
19. Inheritance Law
a. I.J. Hardingham, M.A. Neave, and H.A.J. Ford, Wills and Intestacy in Australia and New Zealand, 2d ed. (Law Book Co., 1989), AU 919 HAR.
b. Rebecca Irving, Equity: Trusts and Wills, 2d ed. (Butterworths, 1999), KUQ 740 .I79x 1999.
20. Insurance Law
a. Duncan Webb and David Rowe, eds., Insurance Law: Practice, Policy & Principles (Centre for Commercial & Corporate Law, 2004), KUQ931.I62 2004.
21. Intellectual Property
a. Barry Barclay, Mana Tuturu: Maori Treasures and Intellectual Rights (Auckland U. Press, 2005), KUQ1100.B37 2005.
b. Ian Finch, James &Wells Intellectual Property Law in New Zealand (Brookers, 2007), KUQ1100 .J36x 2007.
c. Paul Sumpter, Intellectual Property Law: Principles in Practice (CCH New Zealand, 2006), KUQ1100 .S86x 2006.
22. Land Law
a. Tom Bennion, New Zealand Land Law (Thomson Brookers, 2005), KUQ658.N49 2005.
b. Richard Boast, Maori Land Law, 2d ed. (LexisNexis, 2004), KUQ2562.M36 2004x.
b. Andrew Alston, Guide to New Zealand Land Law, 2d ed. (Brookers, 2000), KUQ658.G85 2000.
23. Media Law
J.F. Burrows and Ursual Cheer, Media Law in New Zealand, 5th ed. (Oxford U. Press, 2005), KUQ1064.5.B87 2005.
24. Mental Health Law
a. Sylvia A. Bell and Warren J. Brookbanks, Mental Health Law in New Zealand, 2d ed. (Thomson/Brookers, 2005), KUQ518.B45 2005x.
25. Personal Property Law
a. Barry Allan, Guidebook to New Zealand Personal Property Securities Law (CCH New Zealand, 2002), KUQ904.5 A955 2002.
26. Statutory Law
a. J.F. Burrows, Statute Law in New Zealand, 3d ed. (LexisNexis, 2003), KUQ1990.B87 2003.
27. Tax Law
a. Clinton Alley, New Zealand Taxation, 1st ed. (Thomson/Brookers, 2004), KUQ2790.N495x 2004.
b. Garth Harris, Income Tax in New Zealand (Thomson/Brookers, 2004), KUQ2832.I53x 2004.
28. Tort Law
a. R.P. Balkin and J.L.R. Davis, Law of Torts, 3d ed. (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2004), KVB236.B35x 2004.
1. The Index to Legal Periodicals & Books (ILP) (HU ID and PIN required.) provides citations to articles in over 800 legal periodicals such as law reviews, bar association journals, yearbooks, institutes, and government publications from August 1981 to the present. In 1994, ILP began indexing legal books and now includes approximately 2,000 per year. The Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective (ILPR) (HU ID and PIN required.) indexes over 750 legal periodicals and covers the period 1908-1981.Geographical coverage includes the United States, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland and New Zealand. ILP is also available through LexisNexis and Westlaw (password required) and in print in the Library at REF K 33 .I54 and ILS RR K 33 .I54. Print coverage begins in 1926 and goes to 2007. See Jones & Chipman for coverage of 1786-1922 and print coverage up to 1937.
2. LegalTrac (HU ID and PIN required) provides citations to articles in over 1,000 legal periodicals published since 1980. LegalTrac covers law reviews, bar association journals, legal newspapers, and international legal journals. It also covers law-related articles from about 1,000 additional business and general interest titles. Geographical coverage includes the U.S., Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Also available through LexisNexis and Westlaw (password required) where it is known as Legal Resource Index. Available in print in the library as the Current Law Index, REF K33.C87 covering the years 1980 to 2007.
3. Legal Journals Index provides citations to articles in over 450 legal journals published in the United Kingdom and other European countries, including Ireland, from 1986 to the present. Covers topics pertaining to the laws of the European Union and its member states. Online access via Westlaw (password required). Citation includes an abstract and links to the full-text of the article and referenced cases when available. Also available in print in the Library at Reference KD 59 .L44 (but only up to 1999).
4. Papers Past contains more than one million pages of digitized New Zealand newspapers and periodicals. The collection covers the years 1840 to 1915 and includes publications from all regions of New Zealand.
This guide relied heavily on many of the general legal research books and websites herein mentioned.
Prepared by Martin Hollick, March 2007, last update March 2008.
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