Juridical Encounters: Maori and the Colonial Courts, 1840-1852

Juridical Encounters: Maori and the Colonial Courts, 1840-1852

by Shaunnagh Dorsett

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Juridical Encounters: Maori and the Colonial Courts, 1840-1852 by Shaunnagh Dorsett

From 1840 to 1852, the Crown Colony period, the British attempted to impose their own law on New Zealand. In theory Maori, as subjects of the Queen, were to be ruled by British law. But in fact, outside the small, isolated, British settlements, most Maori and many settlers lived according to tikanga. How then were Maori to be brought under British law? Influenced by the idea of exceptional laws that was circulating in the Empire, the colonial authorities set out to craft new regimes and new courts through which Maori would be encouraged to forsake tikanga and to take up the laws of the settlers. Shaunnagh Dorsett examines the shape that exceptional laws took in New Zealand, the ways they influenced institutional design and the engagement of Maori with those new institutions, particularly through the lowest courts in the land. It is in the everyday micro-encounters of Maori and the new British institutions that the beginnings of the displacement of tikanga and the imposition of British law can be seen. Juridical Encounters presents one of the first detailed studies of the interactions of an indigenous people in an Anglo-settler colony with the new British courts. By recovering Maori juridical encounters at a formative moment of New Zealand law and life, Dorsett reveals much about our law and our history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781775589204
Publisher: Auckland University Press
Publication date: 09/18/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 344
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Shaunnagh Dorsett is Professor of Law at the University of Technology Sydney and Research Fellow in the Faculty of Law at Victoria University of Wellington. She is the author or editor of a number of books, including Law and Politics in British Colonial Thought: Transpositions of Empire (Palgrave McMillan, 2010, edited with Ian Hunter); Jurisdiction (Routledge, 2012, with Shaun McVeigh); and Legal Histories of the British Empire: Laws, Engagements and Legacies (Routledge, 2014, edited with John McLaren). She was the leader of the New Zealand Law Foundation's 'Lost Cases' Project.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Introduction: Juridical Encounters 1

Part I Whose Law? Which Law? 23

1 Preliminary Matters 25

2 Metropolitan Theorising: Amelioration, Protection and Exceptionalism 33

3 Amenability to British Law and Toleration: The Executive and Others 52

4 Common Law Jurisdiction over Maori: Three Cases 75

5 Conclusion 91

Part II Designing Exceptional Laws and institutions 95

1 Hobson and Clarke: 'Native' Courts 98

2 FitzRoy: The Native Exemption Ordinance 1844 109

3 FitzRoy: Unsworn Testimony 128

4 Grey: The Resident Magistrates Courts 1846 141

5 Conclusion 156

Part III Juridical Encounters in the Colonial Courts 157

1 Preliminaries: Courts and Data 160

2 Offices: Protectors, Lawyers, Interpreters 168

3 Crime 195

4 Suing Civilly: The Resident Magistrates Court and the Office of the Native Assessor 244

5 Conclusion 267

The Displacement of Tikanga - A Brief Jurisprudential Afterword 271

Appendices 282

Abbreviations 294

Bibliography 295

Index 306

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