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New Zealand’s Supreme Court & More

So it’s been a few days since I wrote and it is still going great!  I figured out on my second day about how to use the different research sites of the office along with their library right across from my cubicle so that is going to come in handy.  I’ve also started compiling a list of word differences and acronyms so I start learning the lingo in my office and so when I hand in a paper that I don’t have a whole bunch of spelling corrections on them because they use an “s” where we put a “z.”  Besides learning about these items, one of the attorney’s asked me and another student to come with him to visit the Supreme Court and the Law Society’s Library.  So of course I said yes! 

The Supreme Court is a new building since the court was only established two years ago when Parliament determined that they no longer wanted to use the Privy Council for challenges to appeals.  The Supreme Court building is very low compared to the other government buildings, has a “veil” around the top, and a shallow pool about 5 inches deep of water going around the building.   Once you get in the court’s chambers, it is enveloped in an egg-like copper structure.  There were only ~50 seats within it.  Where was the media or constituents supposed to watch the cases being heard?  It was a beautiful day to walk and explore. 

I also learned that Victoria University along with 3 other schools had a law program, but it is a different system than the US.  The law programs are part of their undergraduate programs and take 5 years.  The Law School is the biggest wood building in the Southern Hemisphere and the 2nd largest in the world.  It is beautifully preserved and shimmers in the sunlight.  I really want to go into it and talk to people there about possibly attending courses or using the library for my AWR research.  We then went to the library which seemed small with only 5 computers for people to research the databases.  It was pretty much another library. 

When we got back to the office, I ate lunch at Burger King which is two doors down from our building.  It was really good and only cost $6!  Plus the BK’s here have this retro 50s look that is quite unique.  I wish that US BK’s still had the same feel.   

On Wednesday, I learned about how changes are made to regulations and law within New Zealand and the process a Ministry must go through.  I attended several meetings since I read all the background information and could starting getting my head around the issues.  So the meetings were really helpful, and I got my first assignment after it.  I’ve been working on it ever since, and it will be an ongoing issue.  I also got a small 30 minute assignment where I analyzed a regulation and tried to decide whether it could be open for interpretation.  If it could be, then I would have to recommend that it be amended to include clarifying language.  If not, then it would stay the same.  So I made my recommendation.  This was a very interesting and short project about reading statutes.  I’ve also had my first staff meeting which went very well, and I think that I will be looking forward to these each week.

So something interesting about where I live and work.  Our office has two entrances – one on the Terrace and the other on Lambton Quay.  However, they are three floors apart from each other.  From my house on the Terrace to the Lambton Quay below the difference is more like 10 stories instead of 3 stories of a building.  I know this because of how many flights of steps it takes me if I take Lambton Quay up to my house instead of steadily climbing the Terrace.  I learned that the Terrace used to be the waterfront or a cliff until Wellington reclaimed the land from the Terrace onward towards the water.  The Lambton Quay is the farthest quay into Wellington. 

Well off to get some dinner…more to come.


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