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Constitutional Roundtable – Claudia Geiringer

November 16, 2016 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm



Claudia Geiringer (Victoria University of Wellington School of Law, New Zealand)

moderated by Professor Kent Roach

Wednesday November 16, 2016 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM

Falconer Hall Solarium (room FA2)

84 Queen’s Park 

Topic: The Strange Antipodean Afterlife of John Hart Ely’s Democracy and Distrust 

This paper tells the strange, and little known, story of how John Hart Ely’s process-perfecting theory of constitutional interpretation (of the United States Constitution) became a blueprint for the design of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. The paper reflects on Ely’s antipodean afterlife as an instance of the migration of constitutional ideas. It examines the processes of de- and re-contextualization by which Ely’s theory was remodelled and repurposed, during the process of migration, in order to re-fit it for the new legal system. And it suggests that this process of transmogrification augmented the problems of coherence already associated with Ely’s theory. The paper will be of relevance both to those constitutional theorists with an interest in the coherence and legitimacy of process theories generally, and to scholars of comparative constitutional law, who care about the pathways by which constitutional ideas migrate between legal systems.

Professor Claudia Geiringer holds the Chair in Public Law at Victoria University of Wellington School of Law, and is the Co-Director of the New Zealand Centre of Public Law. Her research interests include the constitutional protection of human rights in New Zealand and comparator Commonwealth nations, the laws and procedures of Parliament, and the domestic reception of international law. She currently holds a grant from the Royal Society of New Zealand to write a book on the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.

A light lunch will be provided.


November 16, 2016
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm


Falconer Hall Solarium (room FA2)
84 Queen’s Park