Nessa Lynch

Dr Nessa Lynch profile picture

Associate Professor Faculty of Law


Teaching in 2019




I joined the faculty in mid-2008. I have undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Law from the National University of Ireland, University College Cork, and a doctorate in Law from the University of Otago.

You can read further about my research programme here.

My primary research interest is in youth justice, and I have recently published a number of articles and chapters on legal and policy approaches to children and young persons who commit serious and exceptional offences such as murder.

My book Youth Justice in New Zealand which examines theory, legislation and practice in the New Zealand youth justice system is now in second edition, and I am a regular contributor to the development of policy and best practice in the New Zealand youth justice system, including recent reports on neuro-disability and young female offenders.

I am the updating author for Brooker’s Child Law – Youth Justice, and the Youth Court Procedure section of Adams on Criminal Law, and a member of the Editorial Board of Youth Justice: An International Journal.

Another major recent project was a study of the collection and retention of DNA from suspects in New Zealand, and a co-authored monograph resulting from this was published by Victoria University Press in late 2015. I am now advising the Law Commission on the review of the Criminal Investigation (Bodily Samples) Act.

In 2014, I was awarded an Early Career Research Excellence award.

I appear regularly in the media on criminal justice issues. My interest in translating scholarly research for practitioner and professional communities and for the public was recognised by Victoria in 2016 with the Engagement Excellence Award.

In 2018, I spent time on secondment to the Ministry of Justice, and I am currently a member of the Youth Court Education Committee of the Institute of Judicial Studies.

Outside of the law, I enjoy mountain-biking, tramping and running, and am an advocate for the outdoor community through my involvement in Trail Fund NZ and the Backcountry Trust.

Nessa is currently the Director of Postgraduate Studies, with primary responsibility for the LLM programme.

Areas of supervision

Selection of publications

"'The Other Child' – The Rights of the Child Victim in the Youth Justice System" (2018) 26(2) International Journal of Children’s Rights 228-250.

"'Manifest Injustice?' The Judiciary as Moderator of Penal Excess in the Sentencing of Youth for Murder" (2018) 57(1) Howard Journal of Crime and Justice 57–76.

"Human Rights for 'Hard Cases': Alternatives to Imprisonment for Serious Offending by Children and Youth" in Elizabeth Stanley (ed) Human Rights and Incarceration: Critical Exploration (Forthcoming, Palgrave, 2018).

Youth Justice in New Zealand (2nd ed, Thomson Reuters, Wellington, 2016).

(with Liz Campbell) The Collection and Retention of DNA from Suspects in New Zealand (Victoria University Press, 2015).

More publications


Teaching in 2019