Story: Constitution

The International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice

New Zealand is bound by the decisions of international judicial bodies. This places limits on the powers of national government. This 1995 cartoon by Laurence Clark is about New Zealand's actions in the International Court of Justice (referred to here as the World Court) with respect to nuclear testing and nuclear weapons. In 1995 New Zealand and Australia took a case to the court after France resumed nuclear testing in the Pacific Ocean. The case was rejected by the court on technical grounds, but France stopped testing earlier than planned and closed the test site due to international pressure, which New Zealand's court action helped to build. The cartoon references the early 17th-century novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes that features a famous scene where the main character jousts with windmills, which has come to be synonymous with the notion of fighting a losing battle.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: H-244-008
Cartoon by Laurence Clark ('Klarc')

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Matthew Palmer, 'Constitution - Judicial limits on the executive', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 28 October 2020)

Story by Matthew Palmer, published 20 Jun 2012