Summer Research Scholarships 2018/2019

Please find below a list of the Summer Scholarship projects that are available in the Faculty of Law over the 2018/2019 summer. Before applying please read the Victoria Summer Scholars Scheme conditions to ensure that you are eligible to apply.

Students will be selected on the basis of academic merit, expertise in the research area, and recommendations from staff associated with the project.

Each scholarship will have a value of $6,000, paid in three instalments.

The scholar is expected to contribute a minimum of 400 hours to the project between Nov/Dec 2018 and March 2019.

To apply for any of the following projects please apply online, noting the corresponding scholarship code.

Applications for the 2018 / 2019 Summer Scholarships will be open from 1 - 15 September 2018.


Maori and Pasifika Sourcebook

(Co-funded by Greenwood Roche)

Scholarship code 800

The Faculty of Law requires a research assistant with an interest in researching Māori and Pasifika law materials and an eye for detail to assist in the compilation of a sourcebook for primary use as a teaching resource. This position will require identifying, sourcing, critically evaluating, checking and compiling a range of different sources into a user friendly resource.

Supervisor: Māmari Stephens


Climate Change Impacts on Atoll Nations and Neighbouring States: Potential Responsibilities for New Zealand

Scholarship code 801

The project will examine the impacts of climate change on statehood for atoll nations and potential responsibilities for the international community, focusing on the legal and policy implications facing New Zealand as one of the principal states where Pacific migrants might need to relocate in the foreseeable future. The ideal candidate will (1) have completed the general International Law course (LAWS340) and possibly one other course or seminar on an environmental law topic; (2) display superior research and writing skills; (3) show a genuine interest for climate change and the capacity to conduct research in related areas; and (4) maintain an average of B+ or higher.

Supervisor: Professor Alberto Costi


A Blueprint for a (Minimalist) Republic

Scholarship code: 802

Whether New Zealand should become a republic is one of the long-standing constitutional issues facing our country. This project investigates some of the legislative changes that would be necessary to transition from a constitutional monarchy to an independent state (republic), especially when undertaken with minimal constitutional change. It involves a mix of research through existing scholarship, collation and drafting of possible legislative text, explanation of legislative provisions, and general report writing.

Supervisor: Dr Dean Knight


Survey on barriers to Climate Adaptation

Scholarship code: 803

This Summer Scholarship is part of a project on climate adaptation funded by the Deep South National Science Challenge. It is part of the second year of the research, looking at legal and policy issues that need solution in order for councils to better deal with climate adaptation. This particular Scholarship will be for analysing and reporting the results of a survey of local, regional and central government participants on barriers and likely enablers to adopting effective climate adaptation measures.

Supervisor: Catherine Iorns


Legal Barriers and Enablers for Climate Adaptation Measures

Scholarship code: 804

This Summer Scholarship is part of a project on climate adaptation funded by the Deep South National Science Challenge. It is part of the second year of the research, looking at legal and policy issues that need solution in order for government at all levels to better deal with climate adaptation. This Scholar will research and write a report on legal barriers and enablers to ethically appropriate climate adaptation, possibly also proposing options for law reform. An understanding of NZ constitutional/administrative law and local government &/or resource management law will be helpful.

Supervisor: Catherine Iorns


NZ Commercial Mediation Project: Longitudinal Study of Mediators

(Co-funded by Resolution Institute)

Scholarship code 805

This project is follow on research for the ongoing NZ Commercial Mediation Study and will specifically provide a longitudinal element. This scholarship will explore mediator perspectives on commercial mediation and gain insights into how to encourage the greater use of mediation in commercial disputes. Research will include quantitative and qualitative approaches. The student should have the following attributes: diligence, reliability, organisational skills, independence, a strong interest in dispute resolution, and the ability to think laterally. This project will allow the scholar to engage in various aspects of research including data collection, analysis, and summarising of findings. The scholar will develop independent work habits and gain an in-depth knowledge of mediation. This will be of great use in legal practice or any associated career. The scholar will also have the opportunity to work with a leading external dispute resolution organisation and the New Zealand mediation community.

Supervisor: Dr Grant Morris


Study of Unfair Contract Terms

(Co-funded by Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment)

Scholarship code 806

The 2015 reforms to unfair contract terms have been described as ‘One of the most substantial changes to consumer laws for 20 years.’ This Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment summer research project opportunity enables you to contribute to the evaluation of these reforms by assessing the effectiveness of the unfair contract terms laws. Are they working as intended or are businesses still able to take advantage of vulnerable consumers? In particular, the research project will look to replicate a study that was undertaken around the time of the reforms in order to assess if the number of unfair contract terms in standard form contracts has decreased. Furthermore, the student researcher will be invited to apply their research knowledge by drawing conclusions on the effectiveness of the reforms and developing justifications for whether there is a need for further reform or not.

Supervisor: Victoria Stace


Border control and intellectual property: NZ Customs as interpreters and enforcers of IP law?

Scholarship code: 520

Sponsored by: Victoria University of Wellington

New Zealand Customs has had the ability to detain goods allegedly infringing trademarks or copyright since 1994. In undertaking this function, Customs must act as an interpreter and enforcer of trade mark and copyright laws. This raises a myriad of issues, as intellectual property is a highly technical area of law, where infringement is heavily fact-dependent. This project seeks to quantify the extent to which Customs has used its power, and to examine how Customs determines infringement and the outcomes of Custom’s investigations.

Tasks: The scholar will undertake information gathering, by talking to Customs, filing Official Information Act requests (as necessary) and locating relevant literature and case law through online legal databases.

Skills required: The student should be a 300-level law student or commercial law student, with a keen interest in intellectual property and the regulatory role of non-Courts.

Location: Victoria Business School

Supervisor: jessica.lai@vuw.ac.nz