LLM with first class honours for Law School staff

04 November 2011


Danielle Kelly

(LLB/BSc 2009, LLM 2011) has been a Senior Tutor at the Law School this year, teaching in the Law and Society paper, and the elective course on South Pacific Legal Studies. She graduated earlier in the year with her LLM, having completed a minor thesis and a research paper. Both examined South Pacific constitutions, specifically looking at the relationship between human rights and culture or tradition in those documents. She analysed areas where these rights were seen to be in conflict with traditional and cultural values, and the approaches of courts in resolving this tension.

Last year Danielle was an intern in the Tongan Prime Minister’s Office, involved with the democratic reform process. She was also asked to present her masters research to Pacific judges and magistrates at a Regional Consultation on Human Rights Conventions and Standards.

Vernon Tava

also obtained his LLM this year. He tutors in Jurisprudence at the Law School, and lectures and tutors in planning legislation at the School of Architecture and Planning. He also takes tutorials for the Pasifika Academic Support Programme (PASS) in Equity and Jurisprudence. Vernon is a Research Fellow at the New Zealand Centre for Environmental Law.

His LLM thesis was entitled “Resisting enclosure: The emergence of ethno-ecological governance in a comparative analysis of the constitutions of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia”. It examined resistance to neoliberal enclosure of the global commons, finding legal expression not only in national constitutions but also in an emerging global constitutionalism. It also discusses the extension of legal personality (a privilege most commonly granted only to humans, corporations and ships) to non-human nature in those Latin American countries. The lessons learnt from the incorporation of indigenous cosmologies into law and the reconceptualisation of nature as an interconnected living entity, not simply “natural resources”, are highly relevant and applicable to tikanga Māori, the duty of kaitiakitanga and environmental protection generally in Aotearoa New Zealand.