Law School staff dominate Legal Research Foundation awards

31 August 2018

Staff from Auckland Law School were recently honoured with the top prizes in three out of the four categories in the annual Legal Research Foundation Awards. These awards have particular importance to academics as they are an external validation of quality and impact in legal writing.

Associate Professor Chris Noonan won the JF Northey Memorial Book Award, for his book Competition Law in New Zealand. The award with a prize of $2,000 is given to the best legal book published in 2017 by a New Zealand-based author or authors.

Chris is Associate Professor and Associate Dean Postgraduate International in the Faculty of Law. He teaches and researches on competition and company law and international trade regulation. He has published a number of articles in these areas and has a particular interest in international competition law. Chris also acted as an advisor to a number of international organisations and governments on trade matters.

Commenting on Competition Law in New Zealand, the adjudicators said “This is a thorough and comprehensive exposition not only of law and practice in the field of competition jurisprudence but also of underlying economic theory. The work demonstrates high-quality legal research and analysis of statute and case law in New Zealand, Australia, the USA and other jurisdictions.  Written in a clear and readable style, it is likely to be most useful to lawyers specialising in the field but will also be of value to the judiciary, corporate advisers, academics and students. Overall it makes a very valuable contribution to this discrete but important area of the law.”


Associate Professor Scott Optican won the Sir Ian Barker Published Article Award for Wilson, Kumar and Wichman: An Examination, Analysis and Discussion of Undercover Police Scenario Cases in the Supreme Court. This award, which carries a prize of $1,500, is given for the best article published by a New Zealand-based author in 2017.

Scott specialises in evidence, criminal procedure, and comparative criminal procedure, and has written widely on criminal justice and policing issues arising under the New Zealand Bill of Rights. He is also a co-author of The New Zealand Bill of Rights (Oxford University Press: 2003), the first comprehensive treatise on the protection of rights and freedoms under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

The adjudicators commented “This year, 30 published articles were submitted for review by the anonymous judge for the Sir Ian Barker Published Writing Award.  The articles submitted were all of an excellent standard, and the anonymous judge who undertook the assessment has indicated that any of the six articles that he chose for a short-list would have been deserved winners of the prize. The articles covered a diverse array of topics: including, human rights, regulation of capital markets, indigenous rights, constitutional law, criminal law, evidence, and taxation. That summary represents but a few of the topics. In choosing a short-list, and in determining a winner, the anonymous judge used three principal criteria.  The first was the ease with which the article could be read and understood.  The second was whether it dealt with a topic that would be valuable to other academics, practitioners and judges.  The third, and the most important when weighting the various entrants, was the quality and practical utility of the legal analysis.  As it would be invidious to single out particular articles, other than the winner, only the winner will be announced.”


Tracey Whare received the Unpublished Postgraduate Paper Award for Why Meetings matter to Indigenous Peoples Decision-Making in International Fora. This award, which carries a prize of $1,000, recognises the best-submitted paper between 8,000 and 18,000 words.

Tracey is currently teaching Legal Research, Writing and Communication and Contemporary Tiriti/Treaty Issues at the Law School. She is also tutoring Legal Foundations as well as Criminal Law. Her research focuses on indigenous peoples' rights and international law, Māori and treaty rights.

The adjudicators said “This was an excellent paper, very well researched, beautifully written on an important original topic. Which makes an important contribution to literature.”

In addition to the winners above, Auckland Law School staff were well represented in the shortlisting for all the categories. To be included in the shortlist alone is a significant achievement as the number of competing submissions is very large. Our academics recognised in this way included:

•         'Collisions in the Digital Paradigm, Law and Rule Making in the Internet Age' David Harvey (Bloomsbury)

•         'This Realm of New Zealand, The Sovereign, The Governor-General, The Crown' Alison Quentin-Baxter and Janet McLean (Auckland University Press)

•         'Interrogating ‘Absolute Discretion’: Are NZ’s Parliament and Courts Compromising the Rule of Law?' Hanna Wilberg

•         `Using New Zealand Trusts to Escape Other Countries’ Taxes' Michael Littlewood

Maggie Zhang
Auckland Law School
Communications and Marketing