"Law" can describe a set of statements that have legal consequences. It's a technique of social control, achieved in different ways.

  • Penal technique - Any statutory provision which creates an offence or a crime in an example of the penal technique.
  • Grievance-remedial technique - This technique involves a private citizen seeking a civil remedy as opposed to a criminal prosecution conducted by the state.
  • Private arranging technique - The law provides rules which determine whether some act is validly done. E.g. making a will, selling a house etc.
  • Constitutive technique - The law recognizes a group of indivuals as constituing a legal person, separate from those individuals.
  • Administrative regulatory technique - This technique regulates activities that are generally of societal benefit, but which need controls and guidelines: eg. the production of food.
  • Fiscal techniques - The law imposes a complicated set of social controls on what we can retain of what we earn - direct taxation as well as other levies, eg. GST, ACC levies, local authority rates.
  • Social benefit conferment - How government spends itrevenue to provide benefits and services.

The creation of Acts of Parliament
Proposed legislation is introduced in the form of Bills. Public Bills apply to the whole community, local Bills apply only to a particular locality and Private Bills apply only to a particular individual or group. Government Bills are introduced by a minister on behalf of the government. Private Members' Bills are introduced by individual members.

Introduction of bill
The Leader of the House informs the clerk of the House of the intention to introduce the Bill. Printed copies of the Bill are then circulated and then the Clerk announces the introduction of the Bill on the next sitting day.Members then have three sitting days to become familiar with the Bill and the Attorney General has the chance to examine the Bill for inconsistencies with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

First reading debate
A motion is moved by the member in charge of the bill that it be read for the first time. The debate on the motion is limited to up to 2 hours for government Bills and just over 1 hour for others. The Select Committee to which the Bill is to be referred is then indicated by the member, unless the Bill is accorded urgency or related to finance bills, and the House votes on the motion. If agreed to, the Bill is referred to the relevant Select Committee.

Select Committee consideration
The Select Committe examines the Bill and may recommend amendments. Public submissions are invited. The Committe must report back to the House within 6 months, or the Bill is discharged from further committe consideration.The amendments made during the select committe process are shown in the reprinted version of the Bill, and the select committee also prepares a commentary, which includes submissions received, witnesses heard, discussion and reasons for any significant changes.

Second reading debate
This is where Members of the House debate the principles of the Bill. Then a motion is put that the Bill be read a second time. If passed, the Bill enters the Committe of the Whole House stage.

Committee of the whole House
This is the stage where the Bill is debated clause for clause and can be amended. There is generally no time limit on the debate. The number of the clause or other provision is read and then a question proposed that it stand as part of the Bill. At the end of debate on this change, the question is put whether the change should stand as part of the Bill. The Bill is then set down for its final reading on the third sitting day following.

Third reading and'passing'
A motion is put that the Bill be read a third time. This is the last chance to debate the Bill, and it can last for up to 2 hours. If the motion to read is carried, the Bill has been 'passed' by the House.

Royal assent
A 'fair' copy of the Bill is then printed and two copies are authenticated by the Clerk of the house and presented for the royal assent by the governor general as the representative of the Queen. These procedures may be abridged when urgency is taken.

Creation of regulations (Exectutive Council)
Regulations are one form of 'delegated' or 'subordinate' legislation, made by the Governor General acting together with those members of the House holding ministerial warrants. In the past regulation-making powers meant much of the rule making process was removed from the scrutiny of Parliament but they are now subject to disallowance by the House of Representatives if they are considered inappropriate.

The essence of being a lawyer involves his or her practical, effective, persuasive and inventive skills for getting things done. Lawyers are problem solvers, attempting to find solutions which are in the clients best interests. Also rather than advocating about legal meanings and liability for past actions, lawyers have to be able to structure a clients transactions for the future, ie. making wills, buying houses, adopting children etc. This will often involve the application and interpretation of legislation.

Legislation is the product of several different processes. The statute is created through Parliament and is also known as primary legislation. Delegated legislation is created through the authority of parliament. This includes regulations made by the executive council (the governor general and the cabinet). Sometimes legislative authority is delegated to local authorities that create local bylaws.

The skills that are expected of lawyers include:

  1. Skill 1 - factual analysis
    Because lawyers deal with people and their problems, they must be able to understand the problem that the client has and then determine if there is a legal problem and identify it. This involves analyising complex and unfamiliar data into legally relevant terms. Lawyers are often presented with extraneous information. They must jettison this and seek out what is legally relevant.

  2. Skill 2 - legal analysis and prognosis
    This skill is to distinguish what is a legally relevant fact. The difference between this skill and skill 1 is that the lawyer must know what the law is at any given time, and be able to anticipate what the law might be on a matter not previously decided.

  3. Skill 3 - changing the law
    As an advocate before a judicial tribunal, lawyers sometimes are required to make arguments that the law should be changed. This means that lawyers should have the ability to critically analyse the law, discover its defects and suggest changes that might be properly made.

  4. Skill 4 - ethical and moral evaluation
    Being important servants of the communit, lawyers are governed by stringent ethical rules and are often called upon to make decisions involving difficult ethical and moral elements.

  5. Skill 5 - oral and written advocacy
    The ability to clearly articulate a position orally is an important quality for presenting a position to a client or colleague etc. This applies equally to written submissions as during their professional life, lawyers are required to express legal opinions and make arguments in clear and concise terms.
The Law lecture was certainly entertaining. But, more than that, it was intellectually challenging. Many things taken for granted were discussed in depth. These including the phrase: "Good Morning" and what exactly it entailed. The point was that ordinary things mean an awful lot more under the surface. Law is an exploration in the meaning of words, and what I need to do is develop a sensitivity to words used. Questions shouldn't be leading. Words such as What? Which? Where? When? Who? Why? How? aren't leading and nothing is presumed but the danger is what follows these words may be leading. At the moment they are ambiguous, there is no substantial content; they are abstract.

Law is a changing concept, one has to adapt always. New Zealand Legal History is so short that it is based on ideas (concepts and abstractions) not events, like say, English legal history. Thus the quote from the textbook about 50 years in NZ equalling 150 elsewhere.

What came first, law, or society? Anthropologists and Sociologists would argue society, but without law there is no society, rather there is chaos.

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