Faculty of Law


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International recognition for Victoria law students

17 December 2014

Arbitrator Intelligence is non-profit venture that aims to promote transparency, fairness and accountability in the selection of international arbitrators by increasing and equalizing access to critical information. Arbitrator Intelligence is currently in a preliminary start-up phase. When fully developed, Arbitrator Intelligence will be a resource for Members to search for information about international arbitrators.

Not only did Victoria Law student Nicholas Coyle win a prize in the Fall 2014 Sweepstake, Paul Comrie-Thomson's experience with obtaining an award at the centre of a New Zealand enforcement decision was published on the project's website.


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V.Alum 2014

16 December 2014

The annual report of the Law Faculty, V.Alum, is available both in the School Office in hard copy or as a pdf (attached).

In this issue:

  • New Thinking on Sustainability
  • A Clash of Utopias
  • Farewell to the Dean
  • Student prizewinners
  • Student Activities
Valum cover

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Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Law appointed

15 December 2014

Dr Mark Hickford has been appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Law at Victoria.

Mark has a background in commercial law combined with many years of senior management and leadership experience in the public and private sectors, including being in the Prime Minister’s Policy Advisory Group in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for the past four years. He is a specialist in public law, the Treaty of Waitangi, Crown-Māori relations and natural resources law and has an extensive research and publishing record.

Mark has a history with the Faculty, as he was a member of the Regulatory Reform Project 2011 – 2013 and a teaching fellow.

Mark will take over the role of Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Law on 11 May, 2015.

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The Robin Cooke Lecture 2014

3 December 2014

The Chief Justice of Australia, the Honourable Robert French, delivered the Robin Cooke Lecture to a packed audience at Law School last week. His subject, “Common Law Constitutionalism” was an examination of the principles that Lord Cooke defined in his time as a judge.
The lecture was followed by the Law School’s Christmas drinks, an event which town and gown enjoy.

Robert French speaking

Full lecture theatre

Christmas function

PhD students

Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Justice Robert French

Lecturer Bevan Marten at the Christmas Function


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Marsden Grant Success

7 November 2014

Carwyn Jones and Elisabeth McDonald

The Faculty is celebrating two of its academics being awarded Marsden Grants.
Congratulations to Associate Professor Elisabeth McDonald (pictured right), for “Rape myths as barriers to fair trial practices” ($540,000) and Lecturer Carwyn Jones (pictured left), for “Legal; Traditions of Ngati Kahungunu” ($300,000).
Both grants allow the recipients to fully develop their research interests and enrich legal scholarship.

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Professor Campbell McLachlan Interview

5 November 2014

Professor McLachlan’s book “Foreign Relations Law” was launched at Parliament in August this year.
Watch him discuss the policies of foreign relations law in four Commonwealth nations.

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2014 Robin Cooke Lecture

14 October 2014

Chief Justice FrenchThe title for the 2014 Robin Cooke Lecture by the Chief Justice of Australia Robert French, is:
“Common Law Constitutionalism.”

The lecture is on 27 November at 5.30pm in GBLT1 & 2, followed by the Law School Christmas drinks.

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Doing Us Proud

19 September 2014

Warm congratulations to law students Nick Cross, Nick Gavey and Maddy Nash who distinguished themselves at the recent Joynt Scroll debating competition.
Nick Cross was named for the NZ debating team, Nick Gavey was a Highly Commended speaker and Maddy Nash won the Promising Speaker prize.

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Celebrating Harriette Vine

19 September 2014

Professor Elisabeth McDonald

This week the Faculty celebrated the centenary of its first female law graduate, Harriette Vine, with
a Special Issue of the VUWLR, “Women in Law.”
Associate Professor Elisabeth McDonald (pictured) edited the edition. Several Faculty academics contributed articles, as well as students.

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Victoria students lead youth engagement publication

4 September 2014

Victoria students lead youth engagement publication

A group of Victoria University students are trying to reverse the trend of political disengagement by giving young people a voice.

Ours, the brainchild of law and arts students Ollie Neas and Asher Emanuel, showcases the voices and views of young people online daily, and in print each week in the New Zealand Herald, in the lead up to the 2014 general election.

victoria-students-newsOllie says Ours began after seeing how young people were unengaged with politics.

“We believed that this is more a consequence of the way politics is done, rather than the result of some deep-seated apathy in young people. We wanted to find a way to get young people from across New Zealand speaking to other young people.”

With youth voter turnout at the last general election the lowest ever, Ours provides a platform for young people to start conversations about what matters to them. Instead of promoting a political agenda, the aim is to give a voice to people who might not ordinarily have their views heard in the political process.

Over the next three weeks, Ours will cover a new theme: identity and opportunity are already available online and in print, while this Wednesday’s issue covers the topic of community. Later issues will look at the election, and New Zealand’s place in the world.

Ours is about making the voices of young people a part of the conversation,” says Asher.

As the project developed, a team of former Salient magazine editors and staff became involved as volunteers. Most are current students, including data editors Chris McIntyre and Stella Blake-Kelly who are both completing a Bachelor of Science, law and arts student Molly McCarthy who manages social media.

Former Salient designer Rachael Reeves is responsible for the creative direction of the publication, and a number of other volunteers from Victoria, Otago and Auckland universities help with writing, interviewing, photography, and research.

“A project of this size wouldn’t be possible without everyone’s willingness to volunteer. It’s really heartening so many people have donated time and skills to help young people engage with such an important process,” says Chris.

The team is also releasing new content most days, ranging from interviews with young New Zealanders, to infographics and videos featuring issues that are important to young people.

One section allows readers to submit viewpoints on what they would change about New Zealand, with a selection of the best being published in the New Zealand Herald.

Ours has also collated summaries of political party policy documents and interviews with party leaders to help young people make up their minds on what will be, for many, their first time voting.

Ours can be found online at ours.co.nz, and every Wednesday in the New Zealand Herald. Ours is also on Facebook at facebook.com/OursNZ and Twitter at @OursNZ.

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Māori Moot Winner

12 August 2014

Congratulations to Emma Huntley who has won the Internal Māori Moot, organised by Ngā Rangahautira. Emma goes on to the National Māori Moot on September 4.

Pictured: Emma with judges Senior Lecturer Mamari Stephens and David Jones from Kensington Swan.

 Maori Moot Competition Winner

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8 August 2014

Warm congratulations to two esteemed senior Faculty members who are Cambridge-bound. Dean of Law, Professor Tony Smith, has been awarded the Arthur Goodhart Visiting Professorship in Legal Science at Cambridge University for a year from September 2015 and Professor David McLauchlan has been selected as the Herbert Smith Freehills Visitor to the Faculty of Law from April to June 2015.

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New Supreme Court and Court of Appeal Appointments

23 June 2014

We are thrilled to learn that VUW Law Alumnus, the Honourable Sir Mark O’Regan, has been appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court.

The Honourable Justice Ellen France now takes the role of the President of the Court of Appeal and the Honourable Justice Mark Cooper has been appointed a Judge of the Court of Appeal.

Congratulations to them all.

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Three Victoria alumni made QCs

9 June 2014

Congratulations to three of our alumni who have recently taken silk: David Laurenson, Paul Radich and Matthew Palmer.  Matthew, of course, was Professor Smith’s immediate predecessor as Dean.  The Faculty is delighted by this news, and wishes those new QCs all the best.

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Upcoming NZCIEL Conference

30 May 2014

Intellectual Property and Alternative Regimes: Is there life outside of the Big Three?

Featuring Keynote address: Rochelle C. Dreyfuss, Pauline Newman Professor of Law, Co-Director, Engelberg Centre on Innovation Law and Policy, New York University School of Law

When one speaks of intellectual property, one usually speaks of copyrights, patents, and trade marks, the Big Three of Intellectual Property. Increasingly, however, problems posed by the forced disclosure in patent applications, the cost of obtaining international patent protection, the over enforcement of software patents by “non-practicing entities” (trolls), the dubious validity of many patents on software and online business models, and the inefficiency of copyright-led efforts to modify online behaviour have led to calls to repeal laws that do not work or replace them with other legal solutions. The useful but very limited role of trade marks (such as preventing domain names that too closely resemble protected marks) does not work well for new online uses, including the sale of brand names as AdWords.

Is there life for intellectual property online outside of the Big Three? Should researchers, online businesses and internet users focus more resources on exploring other solutions? The common denominator of intellectual-property rights outside of the big three are that they often are sui generis regimes or they stem from common law doctrines and have limited (or even no) recognition in international treaties. Does that matter? Do we need new instruments?

Panels will include discussion of the following topics:

  1. Trade secrets
  2. Publicity rights and the right to one’s image 
  3. Unjust enrichment and related doctrines 
  4. Sui generis rights (e.g databases, traditional knowledge protection, plant variety rights) 
  5. Are new modes of enforcement a new form of intellectual property?

17 and 18 November 2014, save the date!
Registration will open in July, to register your interest please email anna.burnett@vuw.ac.nz
The NZ Centre of International Economic Law is pleased to acknowledge Internet NZ’s support of this conference.

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The Robin Cooke Lecture 2014

23 May 2014

Chief Justice French

The Robin Cooke Lecture 2014 will be given by the Chief Justice of Australia, Robert French. It will take place  on Thursday, 27 November at 5.30pm in GBLT1 & 2. The topic will be publicised nearer the time.

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Three cheers for these three

8 May 2014

Mamari Stephens, Claudia Geiringer and Richard Boast

Left to Right: Māmari Stephens, Professor Claudia Geiringer, Professor Richard Boast.

We have three members of the Faculty nominated for the Legal Research Foundation’s 2013 awards:

Professor Richard Boast’s The Native Land Court (Thomson Reuters 2013) has been nominated for the THE JF NORTHEY MEMORIAL BOOK AWARD. There are three nominees for this award;  Professor Claudia Geiringer’s "Sources of Resistance to Proportionality Review of Administrative Power Under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990" (NZJPIL) has been nominated for the THE SIR IAN BARKER PUBLISHED ARTICLE AWARD along with Māmari Stephens’ "A loving excavation: Uncovering the constitutional culture of the Maori demos" (New Zealand Universities Law Review).  There are four nominees for this award.

The winners will be announced at the Foundation’s AGM on Monday 9 June 2014.

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Professor Claudia Geiringer’s Inaugural Lecture

7 May 2014

Professor Claudia Geiringer’s Inaugural Lecture met with resounding applause. If you weren’t there, see below for a link to the video.


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Witness Examination Competition Winner

29 April 2014

Congratulations to Emma Smith, winner of the Minter Ellison Rudd Watts Witness Examination competition.

Wit Ex Final Winner

Emma is pictured holding the shield, along with (from left to right): Oliver Meech (Minter Ellision Rudd Watts), Vincent Burns (finalist), Hon Justice McKenzie and Yvette Tinsley (judges).

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Sir Owen Woodhouse

16 April 2014

Sir Owen Woodhouse

Sir Owen Woodhouse, a decorated World War II hero, former Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judge, Privy Councillor, architect of ACC and Victoria law alumnus, has died. He was 97.

He earned an LLB in 1942 and a Hon LLD in 1978.

Sir Owen was a decorated naval officer in World War II, receiving a Distinguished Service Cross for operations in the Adriatic, before embarking on a long and distinguished career as a jurist at the highest level.

He is best known for chairing the Royal Commission on Accident Compensation, authoring the Woodhouse Report, which recommended a no-fault accident compensation scheme for New Zealand.

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The Palmer Papers

8 April 2014

Sir Geoffrey Palmer Victoria University’s Faculty of Law has just published Constitutional Law, Government and Reform, Part i of the collected papers of the Right Honourable Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC, Distinguished Fellow of the Victoria University of Wellington Law Faculty and a former Prime Minister.

The collection gathers Sir Geoffrey’s approximately 80 scholarly papers, sorted into Parts according to subject. The Parts will be published over 2014 and 2015. Part I contains a book, Unbridled Power (1979), a chapter, and four journal articles. In addition to the original text the editors have included an abstract of each paper.
Editing was by Professor John Prebble, and two senior law students, Vanessa Haggie (abstracting) and Laura Lincoln (categorisation and publication). The project is funded by an anonymous donation, which is gratefully acknowledged.
The Palmer Papers are distributed on behalf of the Faculty by email, by the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) of Rochester, New York, as issues of the e-journal, Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Papers. Parts will be progressively available as electronic archives on the Faculty’s research pages, as a service to alumni and to the legal profession. The Palmer Papers join the Richardson Papers, published in a similar project, which will be completed in 2014.
Subscription to Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Papers, including the Richardson and Palmer papers, is free, here.

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Latest Legal Research Papers

31 March 2014

The latest issue of the VUW e-journal has been released. See PDF below.

Volume 4 (2014)

  • Issue 5 - The Recognition of Māori Law in Treaty of Waitangi Settlements, the Māori Land Court, and New Zealand Public Life: Papers by Dr Carwyn Jones, Senior Lecturer in Law, Victoria University of Wellington.

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Copyright conference

25 March 2014

Graeme Austin was selected by the Australian Copyright Council to provide commentary on a major address by the U.S. Copyright Register, Hon. Maria Pallante at the peak body’s recent Sydney Conference.

Ms Pallante was appointed to lead the Copyright Office by President Obama in 2011. Her speech set out the U.S. legislative agenda in the copyright field. Fellow commentators were leading Australian academics, Profs Sam Ricketson (Melbourne University) and Melissa de Zwart (Dean of Adelaide Law School.)

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Research news

24 March 2014

A new edition of the Victoria University of Wellington’s Legal Research Papers Series has just published, this one featuring the work of Professor Gordon Anderson, including his recent analysis of the good faith obligation in New Zealand’s labour law: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=898231.

This series, edited by John Prebble provides a regular showcase of the faculty’s scholarship. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/JelJour_Results.cfm?form_name=journalBrowse&journal_id=1865415

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Distinguished alumnus recognised

12 March 2014

Roger Clark

Pre–eminent public international law, human rights and criminal law scholar, Professor Roger Clark, is to receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws at Victoria University of Wellington’s May graduation.

Former Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh says the honorary doctorate, conferred by the Victoria University Council, acknowledges Professor Clark’s exemplary commitment to teaching, international public service and research during his career.

The first member of his family to go to university, 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 has since gained a further three degrees: a 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.

Professor Clark has written or edited 12 books, authored and co-authored more than 130 articles and book chapters, and played a significant role in international human rights law—especially in helping to establish the International Criminal Court in The Hague. “It is particularly exciting to be conferred an honorary doctorate from Victoria as it has been 50 years since my initial graduation, and I am now 50 years into my law teaching career,” says Professor Clark.

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Their Honours do the honours

11 March 2014

The Law Students’ Society (LSS) has just unveiled its “George Barton QC Law Competition Winners” honours board.
The late George Barton QC was a former Professor at the Faculty, noted practitioner and “father” of the legal profession in Wellington.
Judges who are alumni of the Faculty donated the honours board to the LSS in his memory.

Present at the unveiling event were (pictured below) Mrs Ailsa Barton, Hon Justice Mark O’Regan, LSS President Myles Snaddon and Dean of Law, Professor Tony Smith.


Hon Justices Clifford, O’Regan, France, Arnold, Wilde, Collins.

Recent law competition prize winners.


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Welcome to Erin Carr

24 February 2014

Erin Carr
We’d like to welcome Erin Carr to the Faculty. She started last week as Te Kaitakawaenga Ture - Māori Law Students' Coordinator.

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Top Team at the Faculty

21 February 2014

Staff Excellence Award Recipients

Pictured from left to right: Alison Munro (Long Service Award); John Prebble (Staff Excellence Award); Joel Colon-Rios (Early Career Research Excellence Award); Dean of Law, Tony Smith; Nessa Lynch (Early Career Research Excellence Award); Lib Coubrough (General Staff Excellence Award); Carol Sorenson (Long Service Award) and Mamari Stephens (Research Excellence Award). Absent: Graeme Austin (Teaching Excellence Award) and Susy Frankel (Research Excellence Award).

Academic and general staff at the Faculty have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to the University.

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Sustainability Conference

20 February 2014

Conference Speakers

Pictured from left to right: Professor Klaus Bosselmann (University of Auckland), Tony Smith, Michelle Maloney (Griffith University), Linda Sheehan (Earth Law Centre), Michael Rosenthal (GAPLA), Kristina Muller (Law Foundation Representative), Geoffrey Palmer, Cathy Iorns, Petra Butler.

The Faculty recently hosted a successful conference “New Thinking on Sustainabilty.”
There was a wide range of both speakers and attendees, including lawyers, scientists, policy-makers, academic faculty and students, government and regional Councillors, environmental NGO members and activists, from New Zealand, Australia and USA.


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Be Very Impressed

7 February 2014

Read about a day in the life of a research-intensive Law School (Victoria).
Document File size File type
PDF icon.  A day in the life of a research-intensive Law School  3.22 MB PDF

All PDF documents require Acrobat Reader.

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Welcome Dr Guy Sinclair

5 February 2014

We would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest Academic staff member, Dr. Guy Fiti Sinclair.
Guy has joined us after earning his B.A., LL.B. (Hons) and LL.M. (First Class Hons.) degrees from the University of Auckland, and a J.S.D. from New York University.
Before undertaking his doctoral studies, Guy worked for over 10 years as a corporate and commercial lawyer in leading U.S., English and Australasian firms, and in a variety of in-house roles.
Guy’s principal area of teaching and research is public international law.

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Constitutional Necessity or Constant Nuisance?

5 February 2014

Retiring Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff’s recent public lecture at the Law School has attracted much comment and attention. For a full transcript of her speech, click here.

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Professor Susy Frankel gives the Fenwick and West Lecture in Intellectual Property

4 February 2014

Professor Susy Frankel

Professor Susy Frankel recently gave the Fenwick and West Lecture in Intellectual Property at Vanderbilt Law School at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. The lecture was titled “The International Copyright Problem” and was sponsored by Fenwick and West and the Vanderbilt Intellectual Property Programme.

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National University of Singapore appoints Graeme Austin as the Yong Shook Lin Visting Professor in Intellectual Property

30 January 2014

Graeme Austin

Professor Graeme W Austin, Chair in Private Law, will be visiting the National University of Singapore in February, appointed to the Yong Shook Lin visiting professorship in intellectual property.  He will be teaching an intensive course on Private International Law of Intellectual Property and delivering a seminar on territoriality in trademark law at the Asia Law Centre.

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V.Alum 2013

17 December 2013

The Faculty’s major annual publication, V.Alum, has just been published.

V.Alum contains features about research projects, conferences and significant events.

Please see the attached pdf.

Document File size File type
pdf V.Alum 2013 2.75 MB PDF

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Alumnus garners top prize

16 December 2013

The Faculty is thrilled about the achievement of a recent alumnus, Sam McMullan.
Sam has just received the NZ Law Foundation’s Cleary prize, one of this country’s top legal honours.
It is awarded to a young barrister or solicitor judged as giving the most promise of service to and through the New Zealand legal profession.

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International Arbitration expert visits

13 December 2013

A recent visitor, Professor Catherine Rogers, was interviewed by Linda Clark at a public session at the Faculty.
The interview centred on Professor Rogers’ involvement with the newly-created Jerusalem Arbitration Centre.
The Centre is developing innovative legal solutions to deal with disputes arising from the annual $5 billion trade between Israel and Palestine.

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The VUWLR celebrates its 60th Anniversary

12 December 2013


The VUWLR, New Zealand’s oldest academic law review, celebrates its 60th Anniversary by showcasing the scholarship of the leading legal scholars who comprise the Faculty of Law.  
It features a Preface by the Dean of Law, Professor Tony Smith. 
Dr Nessa Lynch, the Managing Editor says: “The Special Issue provides a snapshot of the research and writing of the Victoria University of Wellington Law Faculty of 2013. Over half the Faculty contributed their work, ranging from short reflective pieces to full length articles. We also include the Foreword and Editorial Board for the first issue in 1953.”

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Robin Cooke Lecture

11 December 2013

The recent Robin Cooke Lecture was given by the Dean of Law, Professor Tony Smith: “New Zealand Law Now”.

It was attended by many of the legal community. See here for photos.

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A significant birthday

7 November 2013

The New Zealand Universities Law Review is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first publication with a Special Anniversary issue.

Professor Tony Smith, Dean of Law

The Editor of the Special Anniversary edition is Professor Tony Smith, Dean of Law at Victoria University. Contributors include Justice Grant Hammond (Judges and Academics); Sir Geoffrey Palmer (Constitutional Reflections on 50 years of the Ombudsmen in New Zealand); Professor John Burrows (Academics and Law Reform) and Don Mathieson (Fair Criminal Trial and Exclusion of “Unfair Evidence”).

The theme of the Special Anniversary issue is taken from a Maori saying: Nga tapuwae o mua, no muri which translate as “Footprints of the past, to guide (influence, navigate,  inform) the future.”

Don Mathieson QC has the distinction of being published in both the first edition of NZULR (Australian Precedents in New Zealand Courts) in August, 1963 and the Special Anniversary issue. Other contributors to Vol 1, No 1 include G. P. Barton (The Chancery Master); B.D. Inglis (Evidence of Adultery) and Sir Alfred North (Parliaments and Great Councils).

“There is a focus on new and emerging scholars in both the Special Anniversary issue and the seminar” says Editor, Professor Tony Smith. 

“This is in keeping with the theme of looking to the past and, at the same time, forward to the future. The quality of their contributions bodes well for the outlook of the legal academy in this country.”

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Top students

5 November 2013

Dean's Reception 2013

The prizewinning students from 2012 and the competition winners from 2013 attended the Dean’s Reception, an annual event which celebrates their achievements.

For a list of the prizewinning students, click here: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/law/study/awards-scholarships

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A major research project

4 November 2013

Warm congratulations to Professor Claudia Geiringer, who has been awarded a Marsden research grant for her project: “Bill of Rights under the Microscope".


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Call for Expressions of Interest – contributions to a special issue of VUWLR

30 September 2013

Early in 2014 the VUWLR will dedicate a Special Issue in commemoration of Harriette Vine, the first women to graduate with a law degree from Victoria University (then Victoria College) in 1913. To mark this occasion, the Wellington Women Lawyers Association (WWLA), in conjunction with the Law Faculty, awarded two essay prizes for contributions which addressed the challenges for current women law graduates. The award ceremony was combined with a panel discussion featuring a number of prominent women graduates from Victoria on 19 September 2013 - marking 120 years since women's suffrage in New Zealand.

For full details please see the below document.

Document File size File type
Indigenous Law Speaker Summer Series 252 KB PDF

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Invitation to the launch of Te Mātāpunenga

30 September 2013


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A win for Māori Legal Dictionary

25 September 2013

Mamari Stephens

He Papakupu Reo Ture: A dictionary of Māori legal terms has won the Te Reo category of the 2013 Ngā Kupu Ora, Aotearoa Māori Book Awards.

The awards ceremony will be held in November, where the organisers say “they will be honoured to be able to celebrate (Māmari’s) contribution and inspiration to others in bringing Maori literature into the world of light.”

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Law Prospectus 2014

20 September 2013

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'Unearthing New Zealand's Constitutional Traditions'

13 September 2013


The NZ Centre for Public Law conference 'Unearthing New Zealand's Constitutional Traditions' was held at Parliament on 29 and 30 August. A number of excellent papers were presented, including by the keynote speakers Andrew Sharp and David Hackett Fischer. Participants complimented the organisers for putting together a programme including academic and practising lawyers, historians, and political theorists, which allowed for a range of views and perspectives on our constitutional traditions to be identified and discussed. 

Draft papers from the conference are available for download here. A selection of these will be published in due course. The keynote addresses are available for viewing here. Other video from the conference will be made available shortly.

Thanks to the Law Foundation for their financial support.

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Congratulations to our law students

9 September 2013

Duncan receiving his award from Ian Gault

Pictured: Duncan receiving his award from Ian Gault.

Warm congratulations to law students Duncan McLachlan, Asher Emanuel and Jodie O’Neill.

Duncan won the award for the Best Senior Mooter at the NZLSA competition. This is, of course, a great feat since the Senior Mooting is undoubtedly regarded as the premier competition.

Asher Emanuel and Jodie O‘Neill won the grand final of the New Zealand Initiative Next Generation Debates.

Asher also won the Best Speaker title in the final, arguing the negative in the topic “If you are young and ambitious you should leave New Zealand.”

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‘Know Your Mind’

19 August 2013

The university’s ‘Know Your Mind’ marketing campaign is being rolled out.

Karin McCracken is the face of law


Karin McCracken had no perception of what a lawyer did when she enrolled at Victoria’s Law School.

“I didn’t even know the difference between commercial law and criminal law. In fact, all I really knew about law was from the TV show Boston Legal – I was ready for cigars and whisky each night after work!”

But it turned out to be a good choice for the now fifth year student.

“At Victoria, you’re at the centre of everything you’re studying. From the front steps you can see the Supreme Court to your left, the High Court to your right, the Court of Appeal and the Beehive straight in front of you. You’re studying in a huge wooden building that used to house the government and Sir Geoffrey Palmer is often seen roaming the halls.”

Studying law also strengthened Karin’s communication skills to the point where she felt confident enough to take up religious studies in her second year and law tutoring in her third year.

“I value the interaction I have with students on a daily basis as a tutor. I enjoy taking material that might be confusing or difficult for students and making it easier to understand.”

Karin sees parallels between law and religious studies: “Both have given me a really good understanding and a greater perception of how the world fits together and how other people see the world, which is important when you’re trying to relate to people”.

Karin says she is a different person today because of her study.

“Victoria has taught me to keep my head and be analytical and reasoned in the way I approach life. When I started studying, I knew next to nothing but I can honestly say my whole view of the world has radically shifted since starting at Victoria.”

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Victoria law student shares her unique story

9 August 2013


Victoria University student Thoraya Abdul-Rassol will share her unique story with New Zealanders in a documentary screening on TV3 this weekend.

The programme, Both Worlds, follows Thoraya, a second-year law student, as she prepares to move away from home for the first time, and overcome her fear of racial discrimination.

Thoraya’s family left Iraq in the 1990s, to seek a peaceful life for their family. They arrived in Auckland in 1995, when Thoraya was just one year old. She is now 19.

The story focuses on Thoraya’s move from Auckland to Wellington to pursue her university studies, and her passion for soccer. It explores the challenges she faced moving to a new city and meeting likeminded friends.

“I actually felt pretty comfortable filming the programme, because it was such a good opportunity for me to tell my story,” says Thoraya.

Thoraya says she chose to study law because she hopes to make a positive difference for people who experience discrimination.

“Studying law has made me more resilient. For me, it represents the chance to be able to help educate others—I’ve learnt that you don’t have to accept anything.”

“I love studying at Victoria. I feel like I really belong, and people are interested to find out who I am,” she says.

In between her studies, Thoraya has been pursuing her passion for soccer, playing for the Island Bay United AFC Orcas team, which she says has been great for improving her self-confidence.

She also loves exploring her new home town: “One of my favourite things is just being able to walk by the waterfront—it’s my favourite place.”

Both Worlds screens on Saturday mornings on TV3. Each episode profiles a young person from one of New Zealand’s refugee or migrant communities who is facing a defining moment in their life. Participants use handicams to record their thoughts, feelings and opinions to give an insight into the hopes and fears their generation faces.

The Both Worlds episode featuring Thoraya Abdul-Rassol screens on Saturday 10 August at 10.25am on TV3.

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Maori Law Review Indigenous Law Speaker Series

5 August 2013

Maori Law Review Indigenous Law Speaker Series

1:40pm-­2:30pm, first four Fridays in August
Te Kauwae Parāoa, Level 2, Law Library
Victoria University of Wellington.

For full details please see the below document.

Document File size File type
Indigenous Law Speaker Summer Series 56 KB PDF

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Law Alumna earns traineeship at International Court of Justice

5 August 2013


Warmest congratulations to law alumna Amelia Keene, who is understood to be the first New Zealand to earn a traineeship at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.  

Amelia graduated in May this year from Columbia Law School with an LLM and as a Kent Scholar. She also earned a Parker School Certificate for Achievement in International and Comparative Law, and was awarded a Sabin Travel Grant to support the presentation of some of her research at the recent IUCN Environmental Law Conference.  

Amelia was the NZLF Ethel Benjamin Scholar for 2012. She is currently working in OGB as a Research Assiatnet for Campbell McLachlan. She leaves for The Hague in September, with all out best wishes.


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Thomson Reuters Summer Tax Scholarship Application Open

1 August 2013

The Victoria University of Wellington and Thomson Reuters New Zealand Ltd offer two scholarships to suitably qualified candidates to work on a book on fundamental concepts of taxation law during the summer of 2013 to 2014. These two scholarships are part of the VUW summer scholarship programme to be advertised later in 2013, but are advertised early. If this early advertisement does not result in the appointment of suitable candidates to one or both of the Thomson Reuters Summer Taxation Scholarships, one or two scholarships will be re-advertised as part of Victoria University’s main round of advertisements for summer scholarships for 2013 - 2014. 

Please see the below document for further information.

Document File size File type
Thomson Reuters Summer Taxation Scholarships 2013 – 2014 32 KB Doc

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Safety information in light of recent Earthquakes

31 July 2013


There is a new page on the Law School website which contains the up-to-date and site specific information given in the recent post-quake briefings. It can be accessed here.

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New Toolkit aids better regulation in New Zealand

5 July 2013

Professor Neil Quigley; Lynda Hagen; Andrew Butler; Hon Bill English; Professor Susy Frankel

From left to right: Professor Neil Quigley (Deputy VC, Research); Lynda Hagen (CE, NZ Law Foundation); Andrew Butler (Chair, NZ Law Foundation); Hon Bill English (Minister of Finance); Professor Susy Frankel (Leader, NZLF Regulatory Reform Project).

An important new weapon in the ongoing battle to achieve effective regulation in New Zealand has been launched.

The New Zealand Law Foundation Regulatory Reform Toolkit provides anyone interested in quality regulation with easily accessible, free online tools to help analyse regulatory problems, along with user-friendly access to detailed research about regulation.

The toolkit, formally launched by Finance Minister Hon Bill English, is the final output of a three year, $1.85 million study of the challenges around regulation in New Zealand.

The multi-disciplinary study team was led by Professor Susy Frankel of Victoria University Law Faculty, and included experts from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research and law firm Chapman Tripp.

Law Foundation Chair Dr Andrew Butler says the Foundation launched the project in 2010 because the subject was so important, yet under-researched in New Zealand.

“Regulation affects the cost and quality of most of the goods and services we use every day,” he says. “The cost of regulatory failure can be spectacular – the leaky buildings debacle is just one example of that.”

“As an open, globally connected and trade-dependent society, New Zealanders expect first-world regulatory standards, yet our small size can make it difficult to sustain complex regulatory mechanisms used in other developed economies.”

“This toolkit helps overcome that by drawing together the best available experience from here and overseas on the regulatory issues that confront us.”

“The Regulatory Reform Project has been supported by Government ministers, and the project team has worked with officials from Treasury and other agencies throughout, because of the important contribution it makes to the regulatory reform agenda.”

Dr Butler says that as New Zealand’s only truly independent funder of legal research, the Law Foundation is the only funding body that can support major, multi-year research projects like this.

“Our projects are not connected to political or commercial agendas, but can deliver real value for New Zealanders,” he says.

“Before this, we initiated the $3 million Human Genome Research Project at Otago University, a three year study of the complex and challenging legal issues around the rapidly-evolving field of genetic research, and we have supported cutting-edge research on criminal justice and family proceedings.” Dr Butler says.

The Regulatory Reform Toolkit can be found at www.regulatorytoolkit.ac.nz.

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Launch of Legal Māori Dictionary

7 June 2013


Tai Ahu and Mamari Stephens.

New Zealand’s first bilingual dictionary of Māori legal terms has just been launched at Victoria University's Faculty of Law.

He Papakupu Reo Ture: A Dictionary of Māori Legal Terms is the latest result of a five-year research initiative—the Legal Māori Project—headed by Senior Lecturer, Māmari Stephens, and Dr Mary Boyce from University of Hawai'i, Mānoa Campus.

The research team comprised 48 researchers, reviewers and advisors over the course of the Project.

"This Project reflects the fact that New Zealand's legal history is bilingual," says Māmari.

"From the earliest missionary-led translations of the New Testament in the early 19th-century, the Māori language has been used to communicate Western legal ideas."

Dean of Law, Professor Tony Smith, says: "The dictionary will help eradicate at least one barrier to the contemporary use of the Māori language in the legal domain: the lack of a widely disseminated and generally available legal vocabulary for use in any legal forum."

"It is a work that is of importance to New Zealand, to Māori speakers and the University. Its potential impact is great—it will, in short, allow a Māori voice in a legal context in a way never before possible."

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Law at Victoria scores well in international ranking system

20 May 2013


The Victoria University of Wellington Law Faculty.

The Faculty of Law at Victoria University continues its success in university rankings, being placed 19th in the world in the 2013 QS World University Rankings.

Other subjects in which Victoria is in the top 50 are Politics and International Relations (41), English Language and Literature (44), and Psychology (49).

The results follow the recent Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) Evaluation, which ranked Victoria first among New Zealand universities for research.

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The Power of Two

20 May 2013


David Jones and Tai Ahu.

Warmest congratulations to Faculty staff members David Jones and Tai Ahu.

Tai Ahu has completed his LLM with Distinction.

David, after a successful examination has now filed his completed LLM Dissertation: Whakapapa membership and post settlement governance entities : the erosion of whakapapa as the heart of Māori  institutions?

The thesis has been catalogued and an electronic version deposited in the Institutional Repository’s Restricted Archive. Link to the catalogue: http://victoria.lconz.ac.nz/vwebv/holdingsInfo?bibId=1553497

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Two more electives added to the summer trimester

15 May 2013

LAWS 313 Maori Customary Law and LAWS 363 Securities Regulation are now available for enrolment in the November-December part of summer.

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Victoria’s Law Faculty tops rankings for research quality

16 April 2013

High quality research undertaken by staff at Victoria University’s Faculty of Law has contributed to the University’s ranking as the number one tertiary institution in New Zealand.

“Research by Faculty of Law staff led to our academic unit (the Law Faculty) being ranked the number one law school in New Zealand for research quality,” says Dean of Law, Professor Tony Smith. “This is the result of an enormous amount of hard work.

“It reaffirms the current international recognition that we are the top Law Faculty as judged by the QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2012.

“I would like to thank the academic staff, and the general staff who support them, for their dedication. There is so much talent and commitment here and it is wonderful to see it recognised.”

In addition to this faculty specific result, the University was ranked first or second in 24 of the subject areas measured during the PBRF Quality Evaluation. Victoria was ranked second in New Zealand for the subject area of law based on legal research from faculties throughout the University.

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New book explores youth justice in New Zealand

19 March 2013

A new book exploring the New Zealand youth justice system has been launched at Victoria University’s Faculty of Law.

“New Zealand is a world leader in its approach to offending by children and youth, but there has been an absence of commentary from a legal perspective,” says Victoria University’s Dr Nessa Lynch, the book’s author.

Ian McIntosh from Thomson Reuters with Dr Nessa Lynch

Ian McIntosh from Thomson Reuters with Dr Nessa Lynch

Youth Justice in New Zealand was written by Dr Lynch, a Senior Lecturer in Victoria’s faculty of Law where she teaches criminal law and criminal justice.

Dr Lynch says the book analyses the operation of the youth justice system, including areas such as the age of criminal responsibility through to interactions with the adult criminal justice system.

It also discusses recent major reforms to the youth justice system, including the changes to prosecution powers for children, and the new and expanded Youth Court orders.

Professor Tony Smith, Dean of the law faculty, says: “Nessa’s book is a wonderful example of the kind of legal research taking place at Victoria, which is grounded in the New Zealand experience, but also has a wider-reaching audience.”

The book will be a valuable resource for lawyers, police, policy-makers and students of the law, as well those working in related fields such as criminology and public policy.

“It will also be of interest to international readers, given New Zealand’s considerable influence in the area of youth justice policy.”

Youth Justice in New Zealand was published by Thomson Reuters NZ Ltd.

For more information, contact Dr Nessa Lynch on (04) 463 6394 or nessa.lynch@vuw.ac.nz.

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The Robin Cooke Lecture 2013

19 March 2013

Dame Mary Arden delivers the lecture “Press, Privacy and Proportionality” in RH LT1 on March 20 at 5.30pm, followed by refreshments in the Salmond Room, Old Government Buildings.

For more about Dame Mary, click here.

To watch the lecture, click here.

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Debating the Constitution

19 March 2013

During April and May, the NZ Centre for Public Law (with generous support and funding from the NZ Law Foundation) will host a series of debates on issues raised by the Government’s review of the New Zealand constitution. The debates will be broadcast on Radio NZ National. Join us on VUW Kelburn campus to be part of our live public audience.

Moderator: Steven Price, barrister

“What’s the problem?” Monday 8 April, Hunter Council Chamber, 6:30pm
Speakers: Professor Bruce Harris, Moana Jackson, Dame Claudia Orange, Dr Matthew Palmer An examination of the origins of the constitutional review, and the process set up to support it. Should we be cynical about its political motives, embrace it as an opportunity for public engagement, neither or both? Do its terms of reference make sense? Is a process like this necessary or desirable? Has the process been set up in a way that could support real change?

“Reforming our democratic institutions” Monday 15 April, Hunter Council Chamber, 6:30pm
Speakers: Dr Maria Bargh, Colin James, Professor Elizabeth McLeay, Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC The constitutional review’s terms of reference include the term of Parliament (and whether it should be fixed), the size of Parliament, the size and number of electorates, and issues relating to Māori electoral representation. The debatees will cover these issues and others that they consider important to the quality and effectiveness of our democratic system.

“Māori aspirations for constitutional change” Monday 22 April, Te Herenga Waka Marae, 6:30pm
Speakers: Tai Ahu, Dr Rawinia Higgins, Veronica Tawhai, Valmaine Toki Four newer voices from the Māori community discuss the nature of Māori aspirations for constitutional change, broadly conceived. The discussion will move well beyond the status of the Treaty of Waitangi, and include consideration of alternative models of Māori-Crown relationships, the development of a kaupapa Māori or tikanga-based constitution, and Māori constitutional aspirations in the context of indigenous peoples’ rights at the international level.

“Human rights in the constitution” Monday 29 April, Hunter Council Chamber, 6:30pm
Speakers: Professor Andrew Geddis, Jack Hodder QC, Stephen Whittington, Professor Margaret Wilson New Zealand has no formal written constitution and its bill of rights is an ordinary law that cannot be used to strike down other laws. Should our Bill of Rights be entrenched and supreme law, or not? Should we have one at all? If so, what other rights should it include? Or not include? In broader terms, what steps ought to be taken to protect the human rights of New Zealanders?

“Time to be a Republic?” Monday 6 May, Hunter Council Chamber, 6:30pm
Speakers: Jim Bolger, Professor Janet McLean, Michael Mabbitt Is it time to replace the Queen as our head of state and become a republic? If not, will it ever be? What would that involve, and what will be the major issues confronting us if and when we do so?

The NZ Centre for Public Law wishes to acknowledge the generous financial support of the NZ Law Foundation for this event.

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A Legal Feast

22 February 2013

The Law Faculty of Victoria University is welcoming a trio of illustrious legal personalities in March:

Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers

Please click here to view the flyer for Lord Phillips Public Lecture

The Rt Hon. Lady Justice Arden is a judge of the UK Court of Appeal, the third female judge to be appointed to sit of this court.

Lady Arden read law at Girton College, Cambridge and took an LLM degree at Harvard Law School in 1970 as a Kennedy Scholar.

She was called to the bar at Gray’s Inn in 1971 and joined Lincoln’s Inn in 1973. She practised at Erskine Chambers from 1971 to 1993, mainly in company law. She became a QC in 1986 and served as Attorney-General of the Duchy of Lancaster. She is an Honorary Fellow of Royal Holloway, University of London.

From 1996 to 1999 she was Chairperson of the Law Commission.

She will deliver the Robin Cooke Lecture in Rutherford House LT1 on March 20 at 5.30pm: “Press, Privacy and Proportionality.” There will be refreshments afterwards.

Sir Paul Walker is the second Borrin Visiting Fellow.

Born in Wellington, he was educated at St Peter’s College, Adelaide and Magdalen College, Oxford.

He was called to the bar of England and Wales in 1979, took silk in 1999 and was appointed as a Justice of the High Court of England and Wales in 2004. He was President of the Administrative Appeals Chamber of the Upper Tribunal from 2009 to 2012 and is a bencher of Gray’s Inn."

From 1994 to 1996 he was a Senior Lecturer at Victoria University’s Faculty of Law and was the first Director of the New Zealand Centre for Public Law in 1996. Sir Paul will give a public lecture, “Rights, Wrongs and Proportionality” in Rutherford House LT2 on 25 March at 5.45pm. There will be refreshments afterwards.

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