Occasional Papers

The NZ Centre for Public Law publishes occasional papers. Generally, the papers are based on public lectures given at the Centre.

Occasional Papers are no longer published in hard-copy.  Some old hard copies are available, new copies are available electronically or through NZJPIL. To enquire please contact the Centre Administrator:

Phone: +64 4 463 6327

Email: nzcpl@vuw.ac.nz


"Law and Life"

Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC

Occasional Paper 21

This paper (November 2016) is the edited text of the Lecretia Seales Memorial Lecture, delivered
at the New Zealand Parliament on 29 August 2016.

"Law and Life" pdf


"Regulations and Other Subordinate Legislative Instruments: Drafting, Publication, Interpretation and Disallowance"

Ross Carter

Occasional Paper 20

This paper (December 2010) examines New Zealand subordinate legislation and the laws (past, present, and future) on how it may or must be drafted, published, interpreted, and disallowed. In particular, this paper looks at how New Zealand's law on subordinate legislation has developed, in order to try to show that different kinds of subordinate legislation have been, are, and will be relevant for each of those different purposes (drafting, publication, interpretation, and disallowance).

"Regulations and Other Subordinate Legislative Instruments: Drafting, Publication, Interpretation and Disallowance" pdf


"Interpreting Treaties, Statutes and Contracts"

KJ Keith

Occasional Paper 19

In this paper (May 2009), Sir Kenneth Keith draws on his years of teaching, law reform work and judging and considers the process of interpreting treaties, constitutions, statutes, contracts and other legal instruments.

Courts and tribunals, lawyers in private and public practice and legal scholars have long been engaged in the interpretative process. Legislative bodies have also long been in the business of proposing and adopting rules or principles of, and approaches to, interpretation. This paper considers parts of those two enterprises. First, how do interpreters go about their task? Secondly, do formally adopted codifications or statements of the processes, principles and rules assist the processes of interpretation? Finally, whether interpreters and codifiers concerned with one type of legal document can usefully draw on the experience of interpreting other types is addressed.

"Interpreting Treaties, Statutes and Contracts" pdf


"Law Reform & the Law Commission in New Zealand after 20 Years – We Need to Try a Little Harder"

Sir Geoffrey Palmer

Occasional Paper 18

This paper is based on an address to the NZ Centre for Public Law last year, as part of the Public Office Holder Lecture Series. The paper discusses the nature of the New Zealand Law Commission and law reform in New Zealand. It discusses post-modern philosophical approaches to law that pose obstacles for statutes and law reform projects, and makes a number of suggests about the presentation and accessibility of legislation.

"Law Reform & the Law Commission in New Zealand after 20 Years – We Need to Try a Little Harder" pdf


"The Official Information Act - A Window on Government or Curtains Drawn?"

Steven Price

Occasional Paper 17

Text from a lecture given in November 2005.

"The Official Information Act - A Window on Government or Curtains Drawn?" pdf


"The Case that Stopped the Coup? The Rule of Law in Fiji"

Professor George Williams

Occasional Paper 15

Transcript of the 2003 'Quentin-Baxter Memorial Trust Lecture' lecture delivered at the Law School on 27 November 2003 by George Williams, Anthony Mason Professor and Director, Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, University New South Wales.

"The Case that Stopped the Coup? The Rule of Law in Fiji" pdf


"Establishing the Ground Rules in International Law: Where to from here?"

Bill Mansfield

Occasional Paper 14

The work of the International Law Commission at its 54th session, 2002.

"Establishing the Ground Rules in International Law: Where to from here?" pdf


"Hong Kong's Legal System: The Final Court of Appeal"

Hon Mr Justice Bokhary PJ

Occasional Paper 13

Transcript of a lecture delivered at the Law School on 6 November 2002 by the Hon. Mr Justice Bokhary PJ, a Permanent Judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.

"Hong Kong's Legal System: The Final Court of Appeal" pdf


"Democracy through Law"

Lord Johan Steyn

Occasional Paper 12

Text from a lecture given in September 2002.

"Democracy through Law" pdf


"Tradition and Innovation in a Law Reform Agency"

Hon J Bruce Robertson

Occasional Paper 11

Text from a lecture given in July 2002.

"Tradition and Innovation in a Law Reform Agency" pdf


"2002: A Justice Oddessey"

Kim Economides

Occasional Paper 10

Text from a lecture given April 2002.

"2002: A Justice Oddessey" pdf


"Terrorism Legislation and the Human Rights Act 1998"

Anthony Lester QC

Occasional Paper 9

Text from a lecture given April 2002.

"Terrorism Legislation and the Human Rights Act 1998" pdf


"Parliamentary Scrutiny of Legislation Under the Human Rights Act 1998"

Anthony Lester QC

Occasional Paper 8

Text from a lecture given April 2002.

"Parliamentary Scrutiny of Legislation Under the Human Rights Act 1998" pdf


"Final Appeal Courts: Some Comparisons"

Lord Cooke of Thorndon

Occasional Paper 7

Text of a lecture given on 12 December 2001. Lord Cooke, discusses recent lectures by American Judges on the United States Supreme Courts, making his own comparisons with New Zealand Final Appeals Courts and other judicial systems around the globe.

"Final Appeal Courts: Some Comparisons" pdf


"The Role of the Governor General"

Dame Silvia Cartwright, Former New Zealand Governor General

Occasional Paper 6

Text of a lecture given on 8th October 2001. Dame Silvia Cartwright traverses some of the historical developments relating to the office of Governor-General, discussing the many significant changes since 1840, and reflecting on how these changes will help inform our view of the Role at the beginning of thew 21st Century.

"The Role of the Governor General" pdf


"The Role of the Secretary of Cabinet - The View from the Beehive"

Marie Shroff, Secretary of the Cabinet

Occasional Paper 5

Text of a lecture given on 31st July 2001. Marie Shroff discusses the history of the Secretary to the Cabinet position, and also her experience in the roles as Secretary to the Cabinet and Clerk of the Executive Council.

"The Role of the Secretary of Cabinet - The View from the Beehive" pdf


"The Maori Land Court - A Separate Legal System?"

Chief Judge Joe Williams

Occasional Paper 4

Text of a lecture given on 10th July 2001. Chief Judge Joe Williams describes the extent to which Maori Land Court has (or has not) become a separate legal system as well as raising some issues regarding the future.

"The Maori Land Court - A Separate Legal System?" pdf


"Legislature v Executive - The Struggle Continues"

Hon Doug Kidd

Occasional Paper 3

Text from a lecture given on 18th May 2001. Hon Doug Kidd discusses observations on the work of the powerful Regulations Review Committee.

"Legislature v Executive - The Struggle Continues" pdf


"The Role of the Law Commission"

Justice David Baragwanath, Former President of the Law Commission

Occasional Paper 2

Text from a lecture given 27 March 2001. Justice Baragwanath reflects on his time as President of the Law Commission.

"The Role of the Law Commission" pdf


"Workways of the United States Supreme Court"

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Occasional Paper 1

Text from a lecture given on 8 February 2001.

"Workways of the United States Supreme Court" pdf