Auckland Law Student is Top Scholar at Oxford

04 August 2014
James Ruddell2
James Ruddell

Auckland Law School alumnus James Ruddell has been awarded the coveted and prestigious Vinerian Scholarship by Oxford University for best overall performance in the Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) degree.

The high achieving scholar was also awarded Oxford University’s Law Faculty prize in Commercial Remedies, John Morris Prize in Conflict of Laws, and Peter Birks prize in Restitution of Unjust Enrichment.

“The BCL was a fantastic year,” says James. “It presented opportunities to read and think about the law in wonderful surroundings and discuss it with exceptional tutors and fellow students.

“My final results were entirely unexpected, and I think they are due in no small part to the quality of the legal education I received at Auckland, for which I am very grateful.”

Dean Andrew Stockley says James’ academic achievements are exceptional and a credit to himself, his family, friends and colleagues, and the excellence of those who taught and mentored him when he was at Auckland Law School.

“He is a great ambassador for the Law School and we are proud to have helped him on his way,” he says. “James is a young man with an outstanding future ahead of him and we will be watching his progress with great interest.”

James was the inaugural winner of the FMB Reynolds Scholarship, established last year to assist a New Zealander to pursue post-graduate study in law at Oxford University. The scholarship was again won by an Auckland Law Student, Mark Tushingham, this year.

The scholarship initiative came from Auckland Law School Professor Peter Watts and has received generous support from many Oxford alumni in New Zealand and abroad.

Professor Watts says: “Winning the Vinerian Scholarship is a very special achievement. Even as a third year student at Auckland, James’s essays made points I wish I’d thought to make myself. His brand of clear thinking matched by very clean communication obviously appealed in Oxford too. James’s future colleagues and clients will come to appreciate his other fine qualities as well.”

James was awarded a Banking and Financial Services Law Association Scholarship for study in Oxford and the Auckland District Law Society Prize for the best undergraduate student in his last year at the Law School.

“I want to thank the Association, ADSL and the donors of the FMB Reynolds Scholarship for making my study possible,” he says.

In addition to his academic accomplishments, James contributed to the wider life of the Law School, the University, and his community, taking leadership roles in the Auckland University Law Students’ Society and the Equal Justice Project, becoming co-editor in chief of the Auckland University Law Review, and serving as chief executive of SavY, a student-run charitable trust which runs financial literary workshops in schools.