Importance Of Constitutional Conventions In The New Zealand Legal System

1030 Words 5 Pages
Constitutional conventions and statutes are central to the New Zealand (NZ) legal system and both play an imperative role. While the two are vital to our legal system, statutes are more important at restraining the Executive in NZ. This essay will discuss the significance of both and argue why I think statutes are more important.

A statute can be defined as a written piece of legislation, made by Parliament, which has gone through the processes to become law. Statute law is the supreme form of Law in NZ. An example of an important statute in NZ is the Social Security Act 1938 which created various welfare benefits, including Superannuation and Unemployment, for New Zealanders in need. While statutes apply to every citizen in NZ, constitutional conventions only
…show more content…
There is an important constitutional convention that says ministers should not openly criticise judges. Judges have the power to check Executive action so if they faced the idea of being criticised publically they perhaps would act as the Executive wanted them to instead of being impartial. Because ministers can’t criticise their decisions, the judiciary can effectively restrain them. John McGrath explained why conventions, such as this, are necessary when he said “Conventions ensure that the legal powers of our constitution are exercised in accordance with democratic principles”. Without constitutional conventions, NZ would effectively become a dictatorship with one person, or party, in control of all three branches of government.
Another important constitutional convention is that of collective ministerial responsibility which requires every Cabinet decision to be unanimously supported outside Cabinet. This restrains the Executive because Cabinet are less likely to push through extreme or controversial acts that they will have to publically

Related Documents