Law School Celebrates Success

16 May 2012

4 May alumni photo

Staff of The University of Auckland’s Law School, along with friends and alumni – including many prominent members of the legal profession in New Zealand - gathered in a Marquee outside Old Government House on 4 May to celebrate the School’s recent achievements.

More than 400 guests attended this gala occasion, which also marked the public launch of an Innovation and Development Fund designed to ensure the continued advancement of the faculty and to facilitate its plans for the future.

Among the large number of alumni attending were the Chief Justice, Dame Sian Elias, Justices Blanchard and Chambers from the Supreme Court, and many other judges and prominent lawyers. Former judges present included Sir Ian Barker, Barry Paterson, Peter Salmon, Sir Edmund Thomas, and Sir David Tompkins.

The Dean of Law, Dr Andrew Stockley, noted the successes of the Auckland Law School, including having higher entry standards for its degrees than any other New Zealand law school, offering the largest range of undergraduate law courses, having the most extensive postgraduate programme, and providing an enormous range of opportunities for students. The Law School was in short “an incredibly good place to study law”. This had been reinforced by the Auckland Law School being named one of the top twenty law schools in the world in the prestigious QS World University Rankings.

The Dean talked about the next challenge being to maintain and enhance this position, while facing increased competition from better-resourced overseas law schools. He outlined areas in which the Law School could build on its strengths and thanked alumni and members of the profession and the judiciary for the generous support they provide, not only in financial terms but also by helping and mentoring students, adjudicating moots and competitions, sponsoring prizes and supporting student activities.

The Auckland Law School has launched an Innovation and Development Fund to help it remain one of the best law schools in the world. The Campaign Committee, chaired by the Right Honourable Paul East QC and including Deb Hollings QC, Greg Horton, Geoff Ricketts, David Williams QC, and the late John Haigh QC, has raised over $2.5 million towards the immediate campaign target of $5 million. Dean Stockley spoke about some of the objectives of the Fund, including establishing a more comprehensive legal writing programme; increasing staff and student exchanges with other top law schools; establishing scholarships to attract top domestic and international students for postgraduate study; and establishing and supporting new Chairs and research centres to provide leadership in different subject areas and to boost the Faculty’s research, postgraduate and external profiles.

Lizzie Chan and James Ruddell talked about what it was like to be a student at the Law School today and were followed by former Governor-General, Sir Anand Satyanand, a graduate of the class of 1970. Sir Anand congratulated the Law School and concluded with a challenge: “that it remains important – whilst we all feel good about past successes – that we need to ensure that this Law School will continue to produce graduates who will come to know and use the law, fearlessly and actively, in achieving a better community – whether here in Aotearoa or abroad. In that regard the words Kia Kaha seem to sum it up best of all.”

View a photo gallery from the event

View the slideshow played on the evening

View video highlights from the event