Mark Hickford

Professor Mark Hickford is Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Government, Law and Business.


BA Auck, LLB (Hons) Auck, DPhil Oxon


Professor Mark Hickford joined the Faculty of Law at Victoria University of Wellington in mid-May 2015 as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Law.

Mark has held a range of senior management and leadership roles in the public and private sectors, including being in the Prime Minister’s Policy Advisory Group in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet since 2010 (based in the Executive Wing of Parliament Buildings).

Prior to that, he spent eight years as a Crown Counsel at the Crown Law Office, specialising in public law, the Treaty of Waitangi, Crown-Māori relations and natural resources law. He has been a senior consultant on part-time secondment to the Law Commission from the Crown Law Office (during which time he worked on the privacy law reform project and assisted the Legislation Design Committee) and was Chief Legal Advisor at the Ministry of Primary Industries on secondment from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet from August 2013 until April 2014.

Admitted to the bar as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in 1993, he worked as a litigation solicitor at a leading commercial law firm in Auckland early in his career and spent two years with public law specialists Chen Palmer & Partners before joining the Crown Law Office. During his time in legal practice, he has appeared in the ordinary courts and before specialist jurisdictions such as the Environment Court, the Maori Land Court and the Waitangi Tribunal. In addition, he worked on a number of Treaty settlement negotiations while in the service of the Crown.

Mark has an extensive research and publishing record having published on aboriginal title and customary rights as well as issues related to the Treaty of Waitangi and the history of New Zealand’s constitution and laws.

His most recent book—Lords of the Land: Indigenous Property Right and the Jurisprudence of Empire—published through Oxford University Press in the United States in 2012 was a shortlisted finalist for the best legal book of 2011 in New Zealand. He was the 2008 New Zealand Law Foundation International Research Fellow and, while maintaining a heavy legal practice before moving to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, has held visiting positions at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, as well as the Centre for Public Law at Victoria University of Wellington.

Mark has also been a member of the Legislation Advisory Committee.

Research interests

Current research

Constitutional histories, including constitutional legal design and indigenous rights of government / proprietary rights

Selection of publications

More publications