Finding the New Zealand judiciary

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The New Zealand judiciary is a vital constitutional institution, and its legitimacy depends on maintaining public confidence. Yet there is a significant degree of public-facing ambiguity about what, or who, that institution includes. This article surveys the ways in which the judiciary and its constituent members are presented and regulated by the New Zealand government in the wake of the 2016 courts reforms. Senior judges have dominated regulatory and critical attention, reflecting their particular constitutional role, but a concern with the legitimacy of judicial power requires a broader focus. The discussion therefore extends from “inferior” judges to various non-judge and non-court adjudicators, including in the tribunal system, as potential candidates for inclusion in the modern judiciary. It considers evidence for and against their inclusion, in and beyond the current statute book, and invites critical reflection on whether conventional understandings of the judiciary as “the judges” may be increasingly under-inclusive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-36
JournalNew Zealand Law Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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