Law School scoops Legal Research Foundation's Awards

30 June 2016
Legal Research Foundation Awards
From left: Tanya Young, Rebecca Kennedy, Professor Susan Watson and Professor Craig Elliffe.

The high standard of legal research and writing at the Auckland Law School has been recognised with staff and students winning all four categories of this year’s Legal Research Foundation awards for excellence in legal writing.

The clean sweep of the awards, announced by the Hon Justice Paul Heath at the LRF Annual General Meeting last week, also demonstrates the diversity of legal scholarship taking place at the Law School.

Professor Craig Elliffe won the JF Northey Memorial Book Award, for his book International and Cross Border Taxation in New Zealand. The award which carries a prize of $2,000 is given to the best book published in 2015 by a New Zealand-based author or authors.

Professor Elliffe specialises in international tax, tax avoidance, and capital gains tax reform. He is the Director of the University of Auckland’s Master of Taxation Studies programme and teaches international tax and several other tax-related undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

He has written extensively on tax issues, and as well as this recent book he has many articles published in the British Tax Review, Canadian Tax Journal, Australian Tax Forum and New Zealand Journals. He is a member of the New Zealand Committee of the International Fiscal Association (IFA) and a member of the Permanent Scientific Committee of IFA International based in the Netherlands.

The adjudicators commented, “The international tax work is outstanding because of its broad-ranging coverage of an important area of tax law that is technically very complex. It is a work of considerable scholarship dealing with the tax consequences of cross-border transactions. It explains how the tax principles and detailed rules operate by illustrations from many cases from jurisdictions all over the world and with clever use of diagrams. It will be a treatise of much importance to tax practitioners and students.”

Professor Susan Watson won the Sir Ian Barker Published Article Award for How the Company Became an Entity - A New Understanding of Corporate Law. This award, which carries a prize of $1,500 is given for the best article, essay or discrete book chapter published by a New Zealand-based author in 2015. 

Outlining how the modern company evolved to its current form, the paper, which was first published in the Journal of Business Law in the UK, contains a discussion of the evolution by the end of the 19th century to a separation of shareholders from the corporate fund, with the corporate fund becoming a legal entity.

Professor Watson writes, teaches and consults in the areas of corporate law and corporate governance, in particular focussing  theories of the company, and directors' duties and liabilities. She is currently writing a series of articles about the modern company or corporation, how it evolved to their current form, and how states can best regulate the world’s dominant legal structure.

The adjudicators commented that having read “an eclectic collection of published articles… and found the selection of both a shortlist and a winner difficult, [they] are satisfied Susan Watson’s article is the correct choice.”

Graduate Rebecca Kennedy won the Unpublished Postgraduate Student Paper Award for Much Obliged: An Assessment of the New Zealand Government’s Accountability for Prisoners’ Rights in the Context of Prison Privatisation. This award which carries a prize of $1,000, recognises the best unpublished postgraduate student paper between 8,000 and 18,000 words.

Rebecca’s research, supervised by Professor Paul Rishworth, evaluated the statutory safeguards for protecting prisoners’ rights under New Zealand’s prison privatisation regime.

The adjudicators commented that “Her conclusion that the statutory regime is not adequate is based on clear and thoughtful analysis, and is set out in an engaging and concise style. Her paper concludes constructively with recommendations for future prison management contracts which should assist the Crown in ensuring the shortcomings in the current arrangements are not repeated.”

Next year Rebecca will complete her postgraduate studies at the University of Auckland, focusing on constitutional and human rights law.

Graduate Tanya Young won the Unpublished Undergraduate Paper Award for Online ‘Publication’ - Future-proofing Defamation in the Internet Age. This award which carries a prize of $1,000 recognises the best unpublished undergraduate student paper between 10,000 and 18,000 words.

Tanya’s research, supervised by Associate Professor Rosemary Tobin, tackled the problem of ‘secondary publication’, to clarify the law and proposed a sustainable framework for the future.

The adjudicators commented, “In a complex area the author has managed to rise above a series of case specific decisions to propose enduring principles at a high level. This is something to which we all aspire but few of us attain.”

Tanya, who is currently a law clerk at Anderson Lloyd, where she is primarily working on infrastructure projects, will be admitted to the bar in July.