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EC Adams prize-winner

22 April 2015

Nathalie HarringtonWe are proud to announce that Nathalie Harrington has won the EC Adams Memorial Prize in Land Law. This prize is awarded for the best piece of writing showing excellence of achievement in the study of Land Law, by a student enrolled for the Degree of Bachelor of Laws (or Bachelor of Laws(Honours)) of any New Zealand University. The prize was this year judged by Professor Toomey of Canterbury University.

Nathalie’s paper “Te Akau Block 1865 – 1913: A Case Note” was written for LAWS316 - Māori Land Law, taught by Richard Boast. The paper was nominated by Carwyn Jones.

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Law students contribute to prestigious international research project

21 April 2015

Students from Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Law are contributing to a Harvard John F Kennedy School of Government research project which is evaluating the status of violence against women.
Law schools from around the world have been approached by the Harvard team to research the perspective of individual countries on violence against women.
Law students Jasmine Harding and Mollie Matich are leading a team of students which is involved in the Wellington Community Justice Project (WCJP)—an extra-curricular student-led programme—which aims to improve access to justice and legal services in the community, and to provide law students with an opportunity to gain practical legal experience.
Jasmine and Mollie are the Human Rights leaders of the WCJP, and together the group has chosen to focus on domestic violence because of its prevalence in New Zealand.
It’s hoped that this global piece of research will help create a new protocol for violence against women, says Jasmine.
“The research project came from the widely-held view that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is not effective enough, as well as a desire for an international instrument that’s from the perspective of a victim.”
As part of the project the team will talk to a number of groups and individuals with expertise, experience and opinions on the state of violence against women in New Zealand since the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act 1995.
“This information will help us draw conclusions around potential gaps in the legislative framework and the implementation of anti-violence measures in New Zealand during the last two decades,” says Mollie.
The work will be cited in a video conference presentation to the Harvard John F Kennedy School of Government at the end of April. It will also be incorporated into wider research spanning multiple countries, with the intent of minimising gaps in the international legal framework to reduce violence against women all around the world.
“It’s hoped that this global piece of research will be used to present a case at the United Nations to establish a new convention on CEDAW,” says Jasmine.

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Bilateral arbitration treaty and Rainbow Warrior focus for Visiting Research Fellow

16 April 2015

Gary Born

A proposed bilateral arbitration treaty and the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior will be the focus of a visit from world leading international arbitrator and litigator Gary Born next month.

Mr Born has been awarded the New Zealand Centre of International Economic Law’s (NZCIEL) Inaugural Senior Visiting Research Fellowship for 2015 and will visit New Zealand from 1 to 9 May.

While in New Zealand, Mr Born will discuss his recent initiative—a Bilateral Arbitration Treaty regime—with government representatives and businesses. This is aimed at addressing the adverse consequences that some businesses are facing because of the structure of the international litigation system, which is often time-consuming, expensive and inefficient.

He will also give a number of public lectures, co-hosted by Victoria University of Wellington, including a panel discussion on the Rainbow Warrior, 30 years since its sinking. Mr Born acted as counsel for Greenpeace in the Greenpeace v France arbitration, which concluded with an award of damages in favour of Greenpeace. Other panellists include Dr Gerard Curry (counsel for Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur), Sir Kenneth Keith, Bill Mansfield, Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Dr Penelope Ridings.

Professor Susy Frankel, Director of the NZCIEL, said the Centre’s inaugural fellowship recognised the significant contribution Mr Born has made to international commercial arbitration and litigation.

“It's a wonderful opportunity for those interested in international dispute resolution to hear from someone of Mr Born’s calibre—and to consider his insights from the New Zealand perspective.”

More information on Gary Born’s visit and his Bilateral Arbitration Treaty regime is available at http://www.victoria.ac.nz/law/centres/nzciel/news


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Law Faculty News - March 2015 edition

9 April 2015

Please click here to read the March 2015 edition of our Faculty News.

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Longest serving female academic in Faculty recognised

31 March 2015

As part of the recent Staff Excellence Awards at Victoria, the longest-serving female academic was recognised for her 25 years' service to Victoria’s Faculty of Law.
Associate Professor Elisabeth McDonald’s association with the Faculty at Victoria began in 1985, when she enrolled for the Bachelor of Laws, which she finished in 1987 as one of three Senior Scholars to graduate in May 1988, along with Matthew Palmer QC.
After an interlude in Washington DC (as part of the Jessup Moot team) and Michigan, where she completed a Master of Laws, Elisabeth returned to Victoria in June 1989 as a temporary lecturer, a position that was made permanent in January 1990—the year in which she had her first child.
She was promoted to Senior Lecturer in January 1995 and to Associate Professor in January 2005.
Elisabeth worked at the Law Commission on secondment for two years, on both the women’s access to justice project and evidence law reform—an area in which she has subsequently published extensively—both generally, and in the application of that law to the particular problems associated with sexual violence.
Highlights of her time at the Faculty include successfully introducing a special topic course—Feminist Legal Theory—at her first faculty meeting, a white-water rafting trip with Neil Cameron and Graeme Austin, editing three special issues of the Victoria University of Wellington Law Review and being involved in a curriculum review with Sir Geoffrey Palmer.
She stifles laughter when her evidence students refer to her as a “learned author” as part of their oral arguments. In her most recent course evaluations for her evidence course, a student remarked that she had “excellent fashion sense” too.

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Strengthening Polish-Kiwi connections

31 March 2015

Peter Fraser’s invitation to Polish refugee children at the end of World War II has been inspirational for many people, not least of whom Polish PhD student Joanna Siekiera.
Joanna is currently in New Zealand undertaking research for her doctoral thesis on New Zealand’s role in the South Pacific’s regional legal and political institutions.
Asked “Why New Zealand?” she is very clear.
“About the time I was picking my thesis topic for my Bachelor’s degree I came across the touching story of the Polish children being offered a second home here in New Zealand. They grew up here, were educated here, helped establish this new sovereign country.”
Joanna says their story is basis of contemporary diplomatic relations between Poland and New Zealand.
Fast-forward seven years and she is one of a few European specialists in the field of diplomatic law, Polish foreign relations policy and the legal frameworks for co-operation among the states of the South Pacific region. She is currently based at the University of Wroclaw, Poland, with the Chair of International and European Law.
During her three months in New Zealand, Johanna has been meeting with academics, diplomats, government ministers and representatives and members of the Polish community, and giving lectures on her research. Her time at Victoria's Faculty of Law has been under the supervision of Professor Tony Angelo.
Joanna says she is grateful for the opportunities she has been given here in New Zealand, including this week’s public lecture for The New Zealand Association for Comparative Law. She is also very optimistic about the future of New Zealand—Polish relations.
“It’s not only about bilateral relations, but relations between two regions—Poland at the heart of Europe and New Zealand as representative of the South Pacific. By building cooperation with each country, we build relationships with these wider regions as well.”

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Two new LAWS electives added to 2015

23 March 2015

Trimester 2
LAWS 363 Securities Regulation (TRF 11:30-12:20) - Victoria Stace

Summer - Jan/Feb
LAWS 318 Resource Management Law (to be timetabled) - Estair van Wagner

The courses are now available on course add/drop or send sharon.watkins@vuw.ac.nz an email with your full name and student ID.

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Successful launch for the 2015 Wellington Community Justice Project

20 March 2015

The 2015 WCJP Executive:
Back row (L–R): Gabrielle Groube, Mariah Hori te Pa, Tom Nelson, Yousuf Ahmad;
Middle row (L–R): Jasmine Harding, Mollie Mattich, Fady Girgis, Rebecca McMenamin
Front row (L–R): Nathalie Harrington, Tina Chen-Xu, Asaph Verner, Fayez Shahbaz.

This month, the Wellington Community Justice Project held its 2015 Launch, recruiting students for an exciting year of projects ahead.
The Wellington Community Justice Project is an extra-curricular student-led society—for second-year law students and above—which aims to improve access to justice and legal services in the community, and to provide law students with an opportunity to gain practical legal experience.
The project consists of four specialist teams: Human Rights, Education, Advocacy and Law Reform. Each year, the teams run three or four different projects which students volunteer to be a part of.
Last year, the Education team in conjunction with Community Law Wellington, visited high schools, alternative education providers and university halls of residence around Wellington as part of their Rights Education Project. The purpose of the visits was to deliver modules teaching teenagers about their various legal rights around tenancy, drugs and alcohol, sex and consent, and more. The team also hopes to develop a cyber-safety module about what rights teenagers have on the internet.
The group also works very closely with Community Law Wellington, offering support with all types of tasks from note-taking to giving advice and support.
This year joint Student Directors Nathalie Harrington and Fayez Shahbaz are looking forward to an action-packed year, after a fantastic response to their launch which saw over 200 student volunteers sign up—a significant increase from last year.
Their guest speaker at the launch event was human rights lawyer Claire Achmad, who has worked as an in-house counsel for the New Zealand government, as a Child Rights and Research and Advocacy Officer for UNICEF, and as a Senior Advisor to the Chief Human Rights Commissioner and Executive Director of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.
The Human Rights team are currently contributing to a Harvard John F Kennedy School of Government research project evaluating the global status of violence against women. More information about this project will be in the April issue of Faculty News.

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Victoria team wins Red Cross International Law Moot in Hong Kong

16 March 2015

Pictured (L–R): Joanna Mossop, Teja Kandarpa, Conor Donohue and Alberto Costi.

We are extremely pleased to announce that the Victoria University team of Conor Donohue and Teja Kandarpa (coached by Faculty members Joanna Mossop and Alberto Costi) have won the 13th Red Cross International Law Moot in Hong Kong.

Conor and Teja faced the University of Hong Kong in a close final, and the competition from the other 23 teams was fierce.

In addition to winning the final, Conor was named as best mooter of the competition and Teja was named third best mooter. The team also picked up a second honourable mention for their memorial for the defence.

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Austrians bring research down under

11 March 2015

New Zealand’s approach to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the focus of two Austrian researchers who made the Law School their base earlier in March.

Eva Nachtschatt and Alexander Lamplmayr, from the University of Innsbruck, are undertaking a comparative research project looking at how Austria, Germany, New Zealand and Australia have each put into practice key aspects of the convention.

“We are specifically looking at articles 4.3 and 33.3 which require that people with disabilities are actively involved and consulted when it comes to developing and implementing legislation and policies relating to the Convention,” says Eva.

Associate Professor Petra Butler from the New Zealand Centre for Public Law arranged their visit and set up meetings with a range of organisations including the Human Rights Commission, the Office for Disability Issues and the Office of the Ombudsman.

Alexander says New Zealand was an obvious choice for their research project as it was one of the leading countries in negotiating and ratifying the convention in 2008. From here they will head to the University of New South Wales to enable a comparison of two common law systems.

Coming from a town surrounded by mountains, Eva and Alexander have enjoyed their brief stay in the compact seaside capital.

“Wellington is a beautiful city with its old houses up next to skyscrapers. And working in this beautiful old building that’s also a museum – it’s very impressive,” says Eva.

The pair hope to complete their research in 2016.

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"New Zealand's Defective Law on Climate Change"

16 February 2015

These notes are a summary of Sir Geoffrey Palmer’s public lecture entitled “New Zealand’s Defective Law on Climate Change”, held at Victoria’s Faculty of Law on Monday 16 February.

Sir Geoffrey Palmer speech notes - pdf (476 KB)

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New lecturer joins Faculty

16 February 2015

Edward Clark

Eddie Clark, a Victoria alumnus, returns to Wellington to join the Faculty of Law as a lecturer mid-February.

After graduating from Victoria in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws with Honours, Eddie worked for a number of years at a large corporate firm in Wellington, specialising in commercial public law and says this experience is what piqued his interest in administrative law.

Following a year-long break during his time in practice, Eddie completed his Master of Law at the University of Toronto. His research focused on the possibility of extending procedural fairness to the making of delegated legislation.

After two further years of practice, he returned to Toronto to commence his doctoral studies, which he hopes to complete shortly. His doctoral work builds on his Master’s and argues that one of the motivating factors underlying administrative law is a concern for a legitimate administrative state.

“I also argue that one of the implications of this concern with legitimacy must be an expansion of procedural fairness to cover ‘legislative’ executive decision-making.”

Eddie says that this work, and his practice experience, are really all about a fascination with the minutiae of government: how the everyday practices of the administrative state affect people and businesses.

“I look forward to continuing to puzzle out the role of the law in mediating this relationship between state and citizen at the coalface of government when I start at Victoria.”

“I am very excited to be joining the outstanding community of public law scholars at Victoria.”

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Town and Gown for summer

5 February 2015

Summer Scholars at Woodward St Chambers

Pictured (L–R): Jason McHerron (Woodward Street Chambers), Professor John Prebble; Olivia Miller; Aynsley Wood, Hamish McIntosh (Woodward Street Chambers), Dion Blummont and Silvia Rodriguez Atencio.

A summer project designed to publicise more widely research by members of Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Law, has involved Faculty staff and students working more closely with Woodward Street Chambers.

The project, led by Professor John Prebble and Māmari Stephens, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty, involved student interns preparing abstracts of scholarly papers by members of the Faculty of Law for posting on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN).

Victoria’s Faculty of Law has its own page on the network, allowing the work of Faculty members to be accessible to a wider international audience, which have been published in a variety of global journals.

The four interns who volunteered to assist the project are law students Aynsley Wood and Dion Blummont; arts and design student, Olivia Miller; and Silvia Rodriguez Atencio, a lawyer from Argentina who is now working in Wellington.

Woodward Street Chambers provided working space and oversight for the interns, which is greatly appreciated by the Faculty, says Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Law Professor Tony Smith.

“Projects like this allow our staff and student to develop closer relationships with the Wellington law profession, and it showcases Victoria’s unique position in the heart of Wellington’s legal and political district.”

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Law students enter mediation competition in Paris

4 February 2015

Mediation team at the Law School

Left to Right: Senior Lecturer Grant Morris with students Georgia Cameron and William Steel.

For the first time, Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Law will be represented in the annual International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Commercial Mediation Competition.

Two students, Georgia Cameron and William Steel, are winging their way to Paris this week to compete against 65 other teams. The competition, now in its 10th year, is the world’s only moot devoted exclusively to international commercial mediation.

The contest will involve 120 mediators and corporate representatives from five continents and more than 40 countries. Each university competes in at least four preliminary round mediations, after which the competition enters a knock-out phase.

The students will be accompanied by their coach Dr Grant Morris, a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law, who runs a third-year dispute resolution course. Georgia and William were outstanding participants in Dr Morris’ class last year.

“The course includes a practical element in mediation as well as theory so part of the preparation was already done,” says Dr Morris.

As well as regular practice mediations with Dr Morris, the students have received support from some of Wellington’s leading mediators, including Geoff Sharp, who was voted New Zealand Mediator of the Year by the New Zealand legal profession at the 2012/2013 Law Awards, and Annabel Shaw, a mediator for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

“We’ve been very lucky to have these fantastic practitioners around Wellington who’ve been more than willing to give up their time after work,” says Georgia. 

After weeks of hard work, William feels they are as ready as they’ll ever be.

“We just want to go over there and focus on enjoying it now,” says Georgia.

William is a final year student studying for an LLB (Hons) and BCom degree majoring in economics and finance, and Georgia will complete her LLB and BA degree in politics this year.

The team has received financial support from Fairway Resolution and the Association of Dispute Resolvers (LEADR).

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Law Faculty News - January 2015 edition

2 February 2015

Please click here to read the January 2015 edition of our Faculty News (pdf).

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SUNY Buffalo Law School visit

30 January 2015

Meredith and her students with Justice Glazebrook

Associate Professor Meredith Kolsky Lewis visited the law school for two weeks this month with 11 of her students from the SUNY Buffalo Law School (where she is also Associate Professor). The visit was in connection with Meredith's course New Zealand: International Economic Law in Context. While in Wellington, the group met with many Vic colleagues; officials from MFAT, MPI, NZTE and the Law Commission; Justice Glazebrook at the Supreme Court (pictured); and legal practitioners and consultants. They also visited the Tapu Te Ranga marae in Island Bay; Dry River vineyard in Martinborough; and Zealandia.

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Dean Knight's PhD

29 January 2015

Dean Knight in front of the London School of Economics 

Just before Christmas, Dean Knight submitted the PhD thesis he has been working on at the London School of Economics and Political Science over the last few years. He still needs to complete his viva (oral examination and defence), which is scheduled for May.


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