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Student editor feels privileged to contribute to Māori law discussions

7 April 2016

Indiana Shewen

Victoria University of Wellington law student Indiana Shewen has been appointed 2016 student editor of the Māori Law Review, a monthly review of law affecting Māori.

Indiana is in her third year studying towards a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Māori Resource Management and Public Policy. She is of Te Ᾱtiawa and Ngāti Mutunga descent.

“Getting this role means a lot to me because growing up, my Mum taught me the importance of my family history and the prestige of my culture. I came to law school with the intention of using what I learn to address legal issues facing Māori,” Indiana says. “I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to support the work of so many dedicated researchers and practitioners, and to help facilitate discussion of these important issues through the Māori Law Review.”

Indiana is actively involved in her fields of study: volunteering as a law tutor for first-year university students, as well as working as a Research Assistant for Victoria University academic Dr Carwyn Jones, co-editor of the Māori Law Review.

“The Māori Law Review student editor provides us with a lot of support particularly making sure our reporting of Māori Land Court decisions is comprehensive and of high quality,” Dr Jones says. “Indiana clearly has a real passion for this area of law, and that will be a real advantage in terms of helping to ensure that the Māori Law Review continues to be a leading voice on current issues in this field. We’re really pleased to have her as part of the Māori Law Review team for this year.”

Indiana says that as a law student, she believes it is important that she remains well informed about the legal issues facing her community, particularly Māori.

“I applied for the student editor role because I want to spark more discussions. As tikanga Māori continues to gain recognition through legislation, it is clear that lawyers of my generation will be asked to consider this in their practices. I hope that law students can learn to incorporate tikanga Māori within their studies so that they are well-equipped when they enter the legal profession,” she says.

“At Victoria University of Wellington we are lucky enough to be placed right in the centre of discussions between academics, practitioners, policy analysts and researchers. The Law Faculty hosts guest speakers from all around the world and students have access to academic writing of the highest calibre - and it is all right at our doorstep!

“Student-editing Māori Law Review is a fantastic opportunity to immerse myself in these discussions and contribute to the dialogue that goes on at law school. I encourage students to get amongst these discussions by attending our Indigenous Law Speaker Series events throughout the year and following us on our Facebook page.”

Victoria University has a subscription to the Māori Law Review which allows all its students to access content online. The Māori Law Review website is here http://maorilawreview.co.nz and you can follow the Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/MaoriLawReview/?fref=ts.

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Prize to remember Fran Wright launched

15 March 2016

Fran Wright

Former Faculty member Caroline Morris (now at Queen Mary University, London) and Associate Professor Elisabeth McDonald have established and contributed to a prize to honour Fran Wright.  A valued former member of the Victoria University Faculty of Law, Fran Wright passed away after a short illness in New South Wales, Australia on 14 April, 2014.

The Fran Wright Memorial Prize in Criminal Law will be officially launched at an early evening event at the Faculty of Law on 20 April, 2016, when Caroline is in Wellington.

The prize will be awarded to the inaugural recipient – the selection criteria being that it is a LAWS 214 student, who, in the opinion of the teachers of that course, best continues the legacy of the late Fran Wright by approaching the study of criminal law with diligence, thoughtfulness and an excellent understanding of the social and policy implications of New Zealand criminal law.

“Rather than awarding a prize for the top student in criminal law, it was agreed that a more fitting tribute to Fran would be to recognise a student who demonstrated the values Fran held so dearly,” Elisabeth McDonald says.

Fran was born in England but lived in many places and made hundreds of friends. She emigrated from the United Kingdom to New Zealand with her husband Paul. During her time in New Zealand she worked at the Faculty of Law, where she also completed her LLM. She is remembered fondly for her enthusiasm for teaching law, for research, and for life. Fran demonstrated that using law to make an argument is an incredibly creative process, and that it is the most innovative use of law which drives research forward.

“Fran was a generous and kind person. She had an open heart and an open door to colleagues – no problem was too small to bother her with and she was always bubbling with ideas about law, life and cooking,” Caroline Morris says.

Contributions to establish an endowment fund for this prize would be very welcome. Please contact Anna Burtt in the first instance. Anna.Burtt@vuw.ac.nz

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Media intrusions into privacy examined in new book

3 March 2016

Nicole Moreham

The legal profession is grappling with how to deal with phone-hacking, revenge porn, misuse of private information, internet trolling, bullying via social media and media intrusion, according to a new book.

Victoria University of Wellington Faculty of Law’s Dr Nicole Moreham examines this in a book launched in Wellington today, The Law of Privacy and The Media (3ed) (OUP, 838 pp), which she edited with Sir Mark Warby, specialist English media High Court judge.

Dr Moreham first studied this subject as a PhD student at Cambridge University in England and has since earned a reputation as one of the world’s leading scholars of privacy.

She says the new edition of the book responds to the continuing expansion of the law of privacy, including in the so-called ‘new media’.

“It is aimed at both practitioners and academics and responds in part to the enormous public interest in the media and privacy, particularly in high profile cases such as the phone hacking media scandal in the United Kingdom and anonymising injunctions for public figures wanting to keep information that might discredit them out of the public eye. This book is about the ongoing need to balance those individuals’ privacy interests with the competing right of the media to tell the public things that they have a legitimate public interest in knowing,” Dr Moreham says.

“But a book like this can’t be just about the mainstream media anymore. The ability of ordinary individuals to obtain and widely circulate private material is now part of our daily life. This democratisation of mass communication not only brings fresh challenges for the law, it has re-defined our understanding of the media.

“The book looks at the way that courts in England and elsewhere are grappling with these issues. Included in that is the burgeoning use of harassment legislation to protect against the disclosure of private material, particularly on the internet, and many practical ways to address internet trolling and to get material taken down from the web,” she says.

Such is the interest globally in privacy issues, Dr Lina Zhou, an Associate Professor at the Communication University of China in Beijing, is translating the book into Chinese.

The book, published by Oxford University Press, is available via their website, https://global.oup.com/academic/product/tugendhat-and-christie-the-law-of-privacy-and-the-media-9780199581153?cc=nz&lang=en&

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Victoria alumnus nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

26 February 2016

Professor Roger Clark, who received an honorary doctorate from Victoria University of Wellington in 2014, has been nominated for Nobel Peace Prize.

He is part of an international team representing the Republic of the Marshall Islands, which was left devastated by nuclear testing. The islands have launched a legal bid in The Hague to hold accountable the nine countries in possession of nuclear weapons.

Between 1946 and 1958, the United States detonated 60 nuclear weapons on the islands, the equivalent of detonating 1.7 Hiroshima bombs each day for 12 years.

Professor Clark said it would be a hard case to win, but he thought they "had a shot". Hearings on the Marshall Islands case begin in March.

Professor Clark graduated from Victoria in 1964 with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws. He added a Master of Laws in 1967 and Doctor of Laws from Victoria in 1997, along with a Master of Laws and a Doctorate in Juridical Science from Columbia University in New York.

He has played a significant role in international human rights law—especially in helping to establish the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Professor Clark has taught at Rutgers University-Camden for over 40 years, where he insisted on the inclusion of a course on the international protection of human rights, an uncommon part of the law school curriculum in the United States at the time.

In the mid-1980s, he helped shape the discipline of international criminal law that is now taught at the majority of law schools across the United States and is the subject of specialty programmes worldwide.

The Nobel Peace Prize Laureates will be announced in October, with a ceremony in Oslo in December.

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Expert panel to discuss next steps on TPPA

22 February 2016

Victoria University experts say it is critical people understand the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and will tomorrow (Tuesday 23 February 2016) host a public seminar to promote discussion.

Meredith Kolsky Lewis, Gordon Anderson, Carwyn Jones and Susy Frankel, from the Faculty of Law, will give commentary about the agreement at the seminar from 10am to 12 noon at the Faculty of Law on Lambton Quay, Wellington. There will be opportunity for the audience to comment and ask questions as well.

“There is high public interest in the TPPA and informed discussion is important to ensure people understand what the agreement really means for New Zealand,” says Professor Frankel, Director of the New Zealand Centre of International Economic Law (NZCIEL). “We are expecting lively discussion tomorrow.”

Meredith Kolsky Lewis will discuss the next steps in the ratification process in the United States and prospects for the agreement; Gordon Anderson will talk to the TPPA labour chapter; Carwyn Jones will address the implications of the TPPA for Māori and rights under the Treaty of Waitangi; and Susy Frankel will cover intellectual property issues and their relationship with investment under the new agreement.

Professor Lewis from SUNY Buffalo Law School, Buffalo, New York, is also part of the Victoria Faculty of Law (part-time). She is an internationally renowned scholar of international economic law, with a particular emphasis on international trade law and the World Trade Organization, and has commentated and published extensively about the TPPA.

Professor Anderson is an employment and labour law specialist and he has written on the subject extensively, including Labour Law in New Zealand. He has written on international trade law and in particular New Zealand’s trade agreements at both bilateral and multilateral levels. He is the current Hicks Morley Professor of International and Comparative Labour Law at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

Dr Jones, of Ngāti Kahungunu descent, is a Treaty of Waitangi and Māori law specialist. He has previously worked in a number of different roles at the Waitangi Tribunal, Māori Land Court, and the Office of Treaty Settlements and he is the co-editor of the Māori Law Review.

Professor Frankel is a globally recognised authority on international intellectual property and its nexus with international trade, including protection of indigenous peoples’ intellectual property. Her recent publications include Test Tubes Global Intellectual Property Issues: Small Market Economies (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

The panel discussion will be held in Lecture Theatre 1, Rear Courtyard, Old Government Buildings, 55 Lambton Quay, Wellington – from 10am to 12 noon on Tuesday 23 February 2016.

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Celebrating Law Faculty’s New Year Honours

9 February 2016

Honourable Justice Terence Arnold, Knights Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (KNZM) for services to the judiciary. Justice Arnold was appointed a Supreme Court Judge in June 2013, having previously been a Judge of the High Court and Court of Appeal since 2006. He has taught law and been a partner in a law firm. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1997. Justice Arnold was Solicitor-General and Chief Executive of the Crown Law Office from 2000 to 2006.

Honourable Justice Pamela Andrews, Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to the judiciary. Justice Andrews was a High Court Judge from 2006 until her retirement from the bench in 2015. She has worked as a writer/journalist, in public service and as a partner in a law firm.

Honourable Justice Alan McKenzie, Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to the judiciary. Justice MacKenzie was a judge of the High Court from 2004 until retiring in 2015. He has acted for government organisations around regulatory matters and advised the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and the Overseas Investment Commission.

John Te Manihera Chadwick, Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to Māori and the law. Mr Chadwick has been the managing partner of three all-Māori law firms in Rotorua. He now practices law as a Barrister. He has founded or served on a number of societies and trusts and advised government on Māori and the law.

Conrad Smith, Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to rugby. Mr Smith made his All Blacks debut in 2004 and was a member of the All Blacks squads that achieved victory at the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups.

Rachel Emere Taulelei, Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to the food and hospitality industry. Ms Taulelei is an award-winning entrepreneur and business woman. She was formerly New Zealand Trade Commissioner in Los Angeles, and in 2012 received a Sir Peter Blake Leadership award. She has founded and run companies and has a number of directorships.

Judge Leslie Herrick Atkins QC, Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (QSO) for services to the judiciary. Judge Atkins was a District Court Judge from 1997 until his retirement in 2015, serving the bulk of his time in Palmerston North.
He has taught law and practised as a Barrister and Solicitor specialising in criminal law. He was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1990.

Heta Kenneth Hingston, Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (QSO) for services to Māori and the judiciary. Mr Heta Hingston has had a legal career spanning 40 years and is a former judge of the Cook Islands High Court and Court of Appeal and Chief Justice of the High Court of Niue. He is most notably recognised as the judge who made the initial decision on Māori ownership of the foreshore and seabed, which was upheld by the Court of Appeal in 2003.

More detailed profiles can be found here: http://www.dpmc.govt.nz/honours/lists/ny2016-list

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The TPPA and the Treaty

3 February 2016

The following commentary is provided by Dr Carwyn Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu and Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki), a Senior Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Law.

In comedy they say that “timing is everything”. There isn’t a whole lot that is funny about the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) but holding the signing in Auckland in the week leading up to Waitangi Day does show an incredible sense of timing. Waitangi Day of course celebrates the signing of a treaty that permitted the Crown to share in the exercise of public power in Aotearoa and guaranteed a range of Māori rights. The TPPA places limits on both the government’s regulatory ability and the recognition of Māori rights. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe there is some comedy to be found in all of this – that is, if you like your comedy very, very black.

In recent weeks, I’ve been involved in the public discussion around the TPPA and its effects on Māori rights. I co-authored a paper on this topic (which can be found, with others relating to the TPPA,  at www.tpplegal.wordpress.com ). Our view is that the TPPA represents a significant impediment to the recognition of rights under the Treaty of Waitangi. While lobbyists and government have dismissed these concerns by pointing to the Treaty of Waitangi exception clause that is included in the TPPA, there are technical reasons why I think the TPPA does impose an additional barrier to developing Treaty-consistent law and policy, notwithstanding the exception clause. But even if you don’t feel like you need the technical detail about Māori rights and the TPPA, this is an instance where the example of how Treaty of Waitangi rights have been dealt with is illustrative of broader issues that ought to be of direct concern to all New Zealanders.

The principles of the Treaty, supported by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, direct that where Māori interests are at stake, Māori ought to be consulted about how their rights will be affected and how those rights ought to be protected. In part, this is just good practice for making fully informed decisions. This has not happened in the case of the TPPA. In fact, the whole of the TPPA has been negotiated without meaningful discussion with the New Zealand public. The government’s approach has been to tell us not to worry our pretty little heads about it because they’ll decide what is important and let us know the outcome.

In the case of Māori rights, the outcome is the Treaty of Waitangi exception clause. The text of the Treaty exception is virtually the same as that used in free trade agreements for years and trade lobbyists argue that, because there have been no challenges from foreign parties related to these exception clauses, things must be working perfectly. But the concerns around Treaty of Waitangi rights are not that the TPPA expressly prohibits the government from fulfilling its Treaty obligations but rather that it creates incentives for the government to avoid taking any action which might potentially be open to challenge. Given that many areas of New Zealand law and policy have been found to be inconsistent with Treaty principles, one might have thought that the government would be virtually continuously needing to call on these Treaty exceptions as it strives to correct this. And yet that doesn’t seem to have been the case. I am not aware that the New Zealand government has ever invoked a Treaty exception clause. That is the key weakness of an exception clause like the one in the TPPA. It relies on the New Zealand government being willing to act outside of the general rules of the agreement in order to protect Treaty rights. Governments tend to be reluctant to do this because they do not want other parties to make use of exceptions that may be applicable to them. Despite the existence of the Treaty exception, the TPPA is therefore likely to have a chilling effect on the government’s will to comply with its Treaty obligations. This is of real concern because the TPPA covers areas of law and policy such as intellectual property rights, environemental regulation, and others in which Māori have long-standing concerns about the recognition of Treaty of Waitangi rights.

Neither the process nor the substance of the TPPA text is satisfactory. It certainly does not meet the standards required of a reasonable Treaty partner, acting in good faith.  Hosting the signing of the TPPA just two days before Waitangi Day only serves to underline what a tasteless joke this all is.

Well, you’ve got to laugh, I suppose.

Or else you’d cry.

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Public lecture – considering indigenous laws

1 February 2016

Can law be taught outside the traditional law school classroom? Are declarations of Parliament and the Courts the only laws for consideration? What about the laws of indigenous peoples?Professor John Borrows

Learning outside the classroom, on and from the land, should be integral to understanding our legal world.

Mark 5.30-7pm on Thursday 11 February 2016 in your diary to hear the views and experiences of Canadian Professor John Borrows – an internationally respected indigenous legal scholar. At his public lecture – open to anyone – he will explore innovative teaching approaches to give students deeper understandings of the way law works, especially in the context of indigenous peoples.

Legal obligations are generated in homes, businesses, hospitals, courts, cities, and rural landscapes. These and other legal sites should be explored and examined in more direct ways. Law schools can do more to mediate learning experiences in their immediate physical locations and much further afield.

“This is a great opportunity to hear a different perspective on how law is present in physical and social relationships from a leading international scholar,” says Dr Carwyn Jones, Senior Lecturer, Te Kura Tātai Ture - Faculty of Law, Victoria University of Wellington - Te Whare Wānanga o te Ūpoko o te Ika a Māui.

“Professor Borrows has previously spent time in New Zealand and he is a consulting editor to the Māori Law Review, so his work contains significant insights for legal scholarship.”

Information on attending the public lecture (pdf).

About Professor John Borrows

John Borrows B.A., M.A., J.D., LL.M. (Toronto), Ph.D. (Osgoode Hall Law School), F.R.S.C., is Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, based at the University of Victoria, British Colombia. He teaches in the areas of Constitutional Law, Indigenous Law, and Environmental Law.

Professor Borrows has served as a Visiting Professor and Acting Executive Director of the Indian Legal Program at Arizona State University College of Law in Phoenix, Arizona; Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of New South Wales, Australia; New Zealand Law Foundation Distinguished Visitor at Waikato University in New Zealand; Visiting Professor at J. Rueben Clark Law School at BYU; Vine Deloria Distinguished Visitor at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers School of Law; and LG Pathy Professor in Canadian Studies at Princeton University.

His publications include, Recovering Canada: The Resurgence of Indigenous Law (Donald Smiley Award for the best book in Canadian Political Science, 2002); Canada’s Indigenous Constitution (Canadian Law and Society Best Book Award 2011): and Drawing Out Law: A Spirit’s Guide; all from the University of Toronto Press.

Professor Borrows is a Fellow of the Academy of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada (RSC), Canada’s highest academic honour; and a 2012 recipient of the Indigenous Peoples Counsel (I.P.C.) from the Indigenous Bar Association, for honour and integrity in service to Indigenous communities.

He is a consulting editor to the Māori Law Review.

Professor Borrows is Anishinabe/Ojibway and a member of the Chippewa of the Nawash First Nation in Ontario, Canada.

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