International perspectives

Holger Jacobs, a specialist in private international law from Germany, recently spent two and a half months at Victoria’s Faculty of Law to gain insights into the workings of a common law university.

Holger Jacobs

“In the field of private international law, it’s particularly important to have a good understanding of other legal systems and approaches to legal thinking and arguing. There’s no better place to learn that than at a university abroad,” says Holger.

“At Victoria I had the chance to attend a number of faculty meetings and events, to engage with both academic and administrative staff and to discuss interesting legal questions with members of the New Zealand legal profession.”

Before coming to Wellington, Holger lectured at the University of Hamburg on legal methodology and legal writing.

“I’m very interested in how best to educate future lawyers. I think that the two main challenges for legal education are the internationalisation of the law and the increasing use of technology in teaching. In that regard, I found it fascinating to see that teaching at Victoria includes video-transmitted guest lectures by distinguished international experts.

“What I particularly liked about the way law is taught at Victoria in comparison to Germany is that there is more interaction between students and academic staff, students get more personal feedback and they can to a large extent tailor their own curriculums according to their interests.”

Holger, who has also worked on several research projects during his visit and gave guest lectures on international dispute resolution, says that his time at Victoria was an invaluable experience.

“I’ve had an amazing time here and I’m very thankful to everyone at the Faculty for being so welcoming and open. Wellington is a beautiful city and to work in the heart of the legal district in the impressive Old Government Buildings was just great.”

Following his visit to New Zealand, Holger will go to the University of Oxford to do its Magister Juris programme, a nine-month post-graduate course in law. Afterwards, he plans to write a PhD thesis at the University of Mainz in private international law.

Holger’s visit to Victoria was made possible by the PROMOS scholarship, a programme funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and administered by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The programme aims to support the international exchange of students and researchers.