Can the courts declare legislation inconsistent with human rights? How is the Crown-Maori relationship changing? How closely should the courts supervise decisions made by elected representatives?
Those were among the questions that took centre stage at Victoria Law’s inaugural Government Law: Year-in-Review half-day seminar.
Hosted by Victoria’s New Zealand Centre for Public Law, the half-day seminar sought to explain some of the key developments in government law over the past year, and explore their significance for those working inside and outside of government.
“There is so much going on in the government law space – whether related to the Treaty, the Bill of Rights, judicial review, the shape and form of government, international law, legislation, and so on,” says Dr Dean Knight, Senior Lecturer at Victoria Law and Co-Director of the New Zealand Centre for Public Law.
“There’s huge activity, and an incredible appetite from people to stay on top of the tensions and shifting sands,” he says.
Dr Knight says that the value of the seminar, which they hope to make an annual event, lies in a few simple facts.
“You’ve got academics who care passionately about these different components of government law, tracing them and then translating them for a busy civic and professional audience,” he says
Highlights of the seminar included a talk from Professor Claudia Geiringer (Chair in Public Law at Victoria University of Wellington and Co-Director of the New Zealand Centre for Public Law) on the Bill of Rights Act, in which she discussed the prisoner voting case, which was heard by the Supreme Court shortly after the half-day seminar.