New Zealand Legal System Essay

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To What Extent has History Affected the development of New Zealand’s Legal System? ID: 62952639
History has had an enormous impact on the development of New Zealand’s legal system. Legal history is more than an explanation, it is a crucial part of understanding New Zealand society, as habitually aspects of it remain, embedded in our legal system . Key components of the modern New Zealand legal system can be founded through an examination of important moments in legal history. Both the historical foundations and New Zealand’s adoption of the common law derive from key moments in history. Additionally precedent setting cases in common law have significantly developed New Zealand’s legal structure. While historic moments in New Zealand history
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The historical development of common law is the bedrock for New Zealand’s current legal system. The legal system in England was a ‘splintered system’, until the successful invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066 . William developed an organised legal system to be consistent or ‘common’ across all of England . As time progressed the common law continued to develop. The signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, governed the way the state interacts with its citizens, a fundamental principle in every legal system . While additionally forging the beginnings of parliamentary sovereignty, a vital component of New Zealand’s modern legal structure . The tradition of robust, centralised rule continued with subsequent monarchs and the ‘common law’ continued to shape into the system New Zealand officially inherited in 1858 . Without these important founding moments in history New Zealand’s modern legal system could not exist as it does …show more content…
Common law dominated and Maori customary law was effectively swept aside . This was due to the English constitutional theory that no other system of law could exist in a British colony . The colonisation of New Zealand marked a period great injustice for Maori. The new parliament passed unjust laws such as the Native Land Acts which strong armed many Maori into selling land. Intricacies of New Zealand voting essentially denied all Maori the right to vote, while they remained vastly underrepresented in parliament . They were also subject to racial voting segregation and denied a key democratic principle of a confidential vote . These historical wrongdoings have greatly affected how Maori customary law is incorporated into modern New Zealand’s legal system. The realisation of these historical wrongs during colonisation has only recently lead to the incorporation of Maori legal concepts into the formal legal system . The surviving remnants of Maori culture began to be incorporated into legislation, this started with the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 . The traditional Maori culture once excluded from New Zealand’s legal system still continues to be incorporated, altering our current legal construct. It was the historical injustices that fuelled change and as a result New Zealand now has key pieces of legal history incorporated in its formal legal

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