9781927248041-qa-public-law

Key Issues

You should be familiar with the following issues before trying to answer the questions below:

  • What purpose is the separation of powers intended to serve?
  • What are the different concepts that the term “separation of powers” can refer to?
  • What are the differences, in terms of the separation of powers, between the United States presidential system and New Zealand’s system of parliamentary or cabinet government?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of strong and weak applications of the separation of powers in a constitutional system?
  • Why is judicial independence so important?

Common Pitfalls

The term “separation of powers” is used to refer to related, but different, concepts. Make sure you distinguish clearly between these different meanings.

 

Question 1

“New Zealand should adopt a stricter separation of powers, as in the United States, so that the executive is completely separate from the legislature. A stricter separation of powers would better protect the rights of citizens and would lead to better government.”

Do you agree? Why or why not?

Outline of Solution

You will need to address the following matters in your answer:

  • What does the “separation of powers” mean?
  • What purpose is the separation of powers intended to serve?
  • Does the separation of powers protect citizens’ fundamental freedoms?
  • What are the checks and balances that exist in the United States presidential system and the New Zealand parliamentary or cabinet system?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of both systems insofar as the separation of powers is concerned?
  • • Do you think one system is better than the other? If so, why?

 

Question 2

How does the constitution of New Zealand ensure the independence of the judiciary? Why is the independence of the judiciary an important constitutional principle?

Outline of Solution

You will need to address the following matters in your answer:

  • What does the independence of the judiciary entail?
  • Why is it important for the judiciary to be independent?
  • In what ways do the constitutional arrangements in New Zealand protect the independence of the judiciary?

 

For the full sample answers and more see Wood, Questions and Answers Public Law (3rd ed, LexisNexis, Wellington, 2014)

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