LEGAL201-21D (TGA)

Public Law

30 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
Te Piringa - Faculty of Law


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Paper Description

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This paper covers aspects of Public Law including Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, the New Zealand Bill of Rights and the Treaty of Waitangi. Constitutional Law examines the principles of constitutionalism and the framework of the New Zealand system of government. Administrative Law examines the exercise and control of executive power in New Zealand and the relationship between the state, its agencies and the individual

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Paper Structure

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This is a year-long, two Trimester, paper. The paper comprises one 1 hour lecture on Tuesday and one 2 hour lecture on Wednesday.

The lecture hours are: Tuesday, 10 ­- 11 (ELT.G. 01) and Wednesday 9 -­ 11 (L.G. 01)

This course is FLEXI and the lectures will also be available via Zoom. The only exception to this are classes timetabled in rooms without recording functionality.

The lectures are supplemented by eight tutorials spread throughout the course. Details of the Tutorial streams that students can sign up for are given below and the dates and times of specific Tutorials are set out in the weekly schedule of activities that can be accessed via the online timetable for this paper. One tutorial stream (Tuesday 5 - 6pm) will be available via zoom through a Hamilton delivery.

Tutorials weeks are listed below:

Tutorial sessionsWeek beginning
Tutorial 1 runs8 March
Tutorial 2 runs29 March
Tutorial 3 runs3 May
Tutorial 4 runs19 May
Tutorial 5 runs26 July
Tutorial 6 runs9 August
Tutorial 7 runs13 September
Tutorial 8 runs4 October

Eight tutorial sessions will be held during the year. The Tutorial weeks for each semester are indicated above. Rooms and hours are on the University’s Timetable at You need to join one of the tutorial groups to attend these sessions, which are an important element of the course. To do so, sign up through Moodle under the Introduction tab. There may be timetabling and room changes. Students should check the University’s Timetable timetabling before attending tutorials.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • Understand, be able to articulate and to work with general constitutional principles, particularly as and how they apply in New Zealand, using case law, statute, convention, commentary and history.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Understand, be able to articulate and to analyse New Zealand’s basic constitutional arrangements using case law, statute, convention, commentary and historic examples.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Understand, to articulate and to analyse constraints on public power, the reasons for those restraints and their limitations; and to be able to work with those restraints using supporting authority or examples to analyse & solve problem situations.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Understand, be able to articulate, and be able to work with constitutional issues surrounding the Treaty of Waitangi, vis a vis historical examples, constitutional structures and relevant cases and statutes, current and past.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Understand public law remedies available to provide checks and balances against the abuse of executive power (e.g. Ombudsmen, Privacy Commissioner, Tribunals and Inquiries, and Judicial Review).
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Understand the legislative process, the function of Parliamentary Select Committees and opportunities for public participation.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Understand judicial review including standing, grounds, discretion, remedies and procedure.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Appreciate the role of public law in the context of current economic, political and social issues.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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Final Exam: 50% of overall grade

Internal Assessment: 50% of overall grade

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. In Class/On line Test
2 Jun 2021
9:00 AM
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Problem Essay
20 Aug 2021
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. In Class/On line Test
8 Sep 2021
9:00 AM
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Final Exam
5. Exam
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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All law students are required to purchase, for use in all law papers, a copy of Coppard, McLay, Murray & Orpin-Dowell, New Zealand Law Style Guide, 3rd edition, Thomson Reuters (2018). This is available from Bennetts, at an approximate price of $37 including GST.

In addition to the recommended text identified below, the required readings will be in Course Material BOOKS for this paper. These will be available from Waikato Print. Some readings will be posted on Moodle as well.

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Recommended Readings

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Very HIGHLY Recommended reading

  • B Harris New Zealand Constitution: An Analysis in Terms of Principles (Thomson & Reuters: Wellington, 2018 (call number KUQ1734.H37 2018)
  • P Joseph Constitutional and Administrative Law in New Zealand (4th Edition)(Brookers: Wellington, 2014) (call number KUQ1750.J68 2014)

Further reading (many of these references are on desk reserve, and all are available, in the Law Library). This list is in alphabetical order, and all are very good. Bolded readings are highly recommended. The further reading list is designed to supplement your reading of the required and recommended readings.

  • M Belgrave, M Kawharu and D Williams (eds) Waitangi Revisited – Perspectives on the Treaty of Waitangi (Oxford University Press, Auckland, 2005)(call number KUQ354.W143)
  • A Butler and P Butler The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act: A Commentary (2nd ed, LexisNexis, Wellington, 2015) (call number KUQ2095.A3 1990 B88 2015)
  • M Chen and G Palmer Public Law in New Zealand – Cases, Materials, Commentary and Questions (3rd ed, Oxford University Press, Auckland, 1993)(call number KUQ1710.C48)
  • M Chen Public Law Toolbox (2nd ed, LexisNexis, Wellington, 2014) (call number KUQ1710.C49 2014 and online access)
  • J Colin (ed) Building the Constitution (Institute of Policy Studies, Wellington, 2000) (call number KUQ1749.B85)
  • M Durie Te Mana, Te Kāwanatanga – The Politics of Māori Self-Determination (Oxford University Press, Auckland, 1998) (call number KUQ354.D87)
  • A Geddis Electoral Law in New Zealand (2nd ed, LexisNexis, Wellington 2014) (call number KUQ2176 .G44 2014)
  • Gross and F Ni Aolain, Fionnuala Law in Times of Crisis: Emergency Powers in Theory and Practice (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2006) (call number K3344 .G76)
  • G Huscroft and P Rishworth (eds) Rights and Freedoms (Brookers, Wellington, 1995)
  • V Jackson and M Tushnet, Comparative Constitutional Law (2nd ed, Foundation Press, 2006) (call number K3165 .J32)
  • P Joseph Constitutional and Administrative Law in New Zealand (4th ed, Brookers, Wellington, 2014) (call number KUQ1750.J68 2014)
  • S Levine and P Harris (eds) The New Zealand Politics Source Book, (3rd ed, Dunmore Press Ltd, Palmerston North, 1999) (call number JQ5811.N535)
  • V Toki Indigenous Courts, self-determination and criminal justice (Routlege, 2017)
  • M Mulholland and V Tawhai(eds) Weeping Waters: the Treaty of Waitangi and constitutional change (Huia Publishers, Wellington, 2010) (call numberKUQ1870 .W1W44 2010)
  • C OrangeThe Treaty of Waitangi (Allen & Unwin New Zealand Limited: Wellington, 1987) (call number DU418.2 .O63)
  • M Palmer The Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand Constitutional Law (Victoria University Press, Wellington, 2008) (call number KUQ354 .P38)
  • G Palmer and M Palmer Bridled Power - New Zealand Government under MMP (4th ed, Oxford University Press, Auckland, 2004) (call number JQ5881 .P3)
  • S. Penk & MR Rose New Zealand Method Handbook (Thompson- Reuters, Wellington, 2014)
  • P Rishworth The New Zealand Bill of Rights (Oxford University Press, Auckland, 2003) (call number KUQ2095.N44 2003)
  • Report of the Royal Commission on the Electoral System (1986) (call number JQ5892.N585)

Further material may be provided on the paper site on Moodle (, the University of Waikato’s online learning system. Any such material is provided on the following terms:

University of Waikato owns the intellectual property rights, including copyright, in and to this site, or has acquired the necessary licenses to display the material on the site. As a student of the Te Piringa Faculty of Law, you are granted a limited license to use (access, display or print a single copy) the material from the papers in which you are enrolled for the purposes of participating in the paper only, provided the information is not modified. Materials may not under any circumstances be copied, stored, distributed or provided in any form or method whatsoever to any third party. Any other use of the material is prohibited. None of the material may be otherwise reproduced, reformatted, republished or re-disseminated in any manner or form without the prior written consent of University of Waikato. To obtain such consent, please contact the Te Piringa Faculty of Law.

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Online Support

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Online support for this paper is provided via Moodle.

If you require assistance with Moodle, or encounter any problems, please contact the Help Desk. You can send a message to Help Desk by using the instant message service in your paper (from the participants list within the People block). Alternatively, you can email them directly at or call 838 4008.

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Students should expect to spend 300 hours on this paper. The workload for this paper will vary according to the speed at which students read, engage with, and absorb material. In addition to lecture attendance, significant time will need to be spent on background and complementary reading. Students should allow for periods of more-focused research time in the preparation of assignments.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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Public Law is fundamental to a student’s understanding of the constitutional system in New Zealand, and is integral component to the development of students’ analytical and writing skills. The Paper has strong linkages with Legal Systems and Societies (LEGAL 106) and Legal Method (LEGAL 103/104).
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