Marsden Grant to study democracy of private law

07 November 2016
Dr Arie Rosen

Dr Arie Rosen from the Auckland Law School has been awarded a Marsden Grant worth $300,000 to undertake a study of how democracy influences some of the fundamental rules that shape our economic lives: the private law rules of contracts, torts and restitution.

The study, entitled A Law Beyond Democracy: The Insulation of Private Law from Democratic Change, will look at the political story behind the making of private law rules, emphasising the role played by courts, lawyers and legal academics in controlling democratic legislation in this field. 

The Israeli born lecturer, who has taught legal philosophy at the Auckland Law School since arriving here in 2014, explains that in the common law world the rules of private law are de facto shielded from substantive democratic influence. Dr Rosen’s research will explore an institutional explanation for why this is the case, shedding light on the enduring stability of private law rules and their affinity to classical liberal values.


The award of a Marsden grant is regarded as the hallmark of excellence for research in New Zealand. The Marsden Fund is managed by the Royal Society of New Zealand, supporting research excellence in science, engineering and maths, social sciences and the humanities. Competition for grants is intense.
“By supporting our smartest New Zealand researchers to work on their best ideas, including an understanding of how things work at a fundamental level, the Marsden Fund helps to build a strong research base for New Zealand, which will benefit us all in the future,” says Marsden Fund Council Chair, Professor Juliet Gerrard FRSNZ. “The increased success of our emerging researchers this year gives us confidence that our long term future is in great shape,” she says.

Dr Rosen has also recently received a University of Auckland Faculty of Law Teaching Excellence Award.