Summer Research Scholarships 2019/2020

Please find below a list of the Summer Scholarship projects that are available in the Faculty of Law over the 2019/2020 summer. Before applying please read the Victoria Summer Scholars Scheme conditions to ensure that you are eligible to apply.

Students will be selected on the basis of academic merit, expertise in the research area, and recommendations from staff associated with the project.

Each scholarship will have a value of $6,000, paid in three instalments.

The scholar is expected to contribute a minimum of 400 hours to the project between Nov/Dec 2019 and March 2020.

To apply for any of the following projects please apply online, noting the corresponding scholarship code.

Applications for the 2019 / 2020 Summer Scholarships will be open from 2-16 September 2019.


Users of Mediation in the Construction Industry

(Co-funded by the Resolution Institute)

Scholarship code 800

This project is follow on research for the ongoing NZ Commercial Mediation Study and will specifically look at users of mediation. This scholarship will explore the views of mediation users in construction disputes and gain insights into how to encourage the greater use of mediation. Research will include quantitative and qualitative approaches. The student should have the following attributes: diligence, reliability, organisational skills, independence, a strong interest in dispute resolution, and the ability to think laterally. This project will allow the scholar to engage in various aspects of research including data collection, analysis, and summarising of findings. The scholar will develop independent work habits and gain an in-depth knowledge of mediation. This will be of great use in legal practice or any associated career. The scholar will also have the opportunity to work with a leading external dispute resolution organisation and the New Zealand mediation community.

Supervisor: Grant Morris


Vulnerability and access to dispute resolution

(Co-funded by Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment)

Scholarship code 801

This research project will identify and analyse the different types of vulnerability that impact whether consumers/parties can access dispute resolution and complaint handling schemes. Types of vulnerability that may affect access to dispute resolution include socio-economic status, ethnicity, age and disability. The research project will involve reviewing the available research and literature to consider how vulnerability impacts access to dispute resolution and how these barriers can be mitigated or removed. The student should have the following attributes: diligence, reliability, organisational skills, independence, a strong interest in dispute resolution, and the ability to think laterally. The scholar will develop independent work habits and gain an in-depth knowledge of dispute resolution. This will be of great use in legal practice or any associated career. The scholar will also have the opportunity to work with a leading government organisation.

Supervisor: Grant Morris


Ethical Challenges for in-house Lawyers

(Co-funded by the New Zealand Law Society)

Scholarship code: 802

Ethics for In-house Lawyers; This project with ILANZ - the section of the New Zealand Law Society for in-house lawyers, is an opportunity to explore the ethical challenges faced by in-house lawyers in their day to day work, examine the support and guidance available and make recommendations on how this could be enhanced.  In-house lawyers work across the corporate, government and not for profit sectors and make up almost 25% of all practising lawyers in NZ.

Supervisor: Geoff McLay


Wainuiwhenua: securing the land

(Co-funded by the Paekakariki Housing Trust)

Scholarship code: 803

Surf, sand and research!  Do you have a passion for community-driven outcomes?  Do you know the Public Works Act? We’re trying to secure nearly 600 hectares of land on the Kapiti Coast using the Public Works Act disposal process. Working with a number of government agencies and a highly engaged community, you’ll map out options under the Act for ensuring this land stays in public ownership. We need someone with a genuine passion for this work, with good knowledge of the law, a head for research, who can be engaging, build great relationships and work to deadlines without dramas.  Dividing your time between Victoria University of Wellington and Paekakariki, you will work with an amazing bunch of people who genuinely care about their community, and spend a really memorable summer just north of Wellington, and three minutes from the beach.

The student will develop the proposal for Wainuiwhenua in terms of establishing all the interconnecting uses as public works. Securing the land could go via the suite of public works process or down the compulsory acquisition track. The student would prepare the proposal and set out why the various uses were required and how they would work together. Dividing their time between Victoria University of Wellington and onsite with Paekakariki locals, the student will provide advice, resources and research to the Paekakariki Housing Trust in the form of a written report and verbal presentations.

Supervisor: Mark Bennett


Updating Textbook on International Law from a NZ Perspective

Scholarship code: 804

The project will involve updating of the first ever textbook on international law from a New Zealand perspective. The ideal candidate will:

1) have completed the general international law course,

2) display superior research and writing skills, and

3) show a genuine interest for New Zealand's role regionally and globally.

This is a unique opportunity for a student who is passionate about international law and interested in the role New Zealand play regionally and globally, to learn about the academic publication process. There will also be opportunities to meet with advisers in government departments, look into official documents and archive material, and liaise with other experts in international law from around the country.

Supervisor: Alberto Costi


Judicial supervision of administrative decision-making: patterns in judicial review and administrative appeals

Scholarship code 805

Judicial review and administrative appeals are a key mechanism for ensuring the quality of public decision-making and providing the public with an avenue to raise grievances. Yet almost nothing is known about the actual litigation patterns in these proceedings. A picture of judicial review and administrative appeals (volume; types; grounds; success; etc) would enrich our understanding of these important mechanisms. This project is a pilot study, looking at data and trends for 2019. It involves some basic research of scholarship, shaping the framework for the study, undertaking the study (by collecting and analysing data about judicial review proceedings and administrative appeals) and completing a report on key patterns/trends.

Supervisor: Dean Knight


Climate Adaptation Law

Scholarship code 806

This summer scholar would re-examine four existing Environment Court cases in detail, explaining whether and why they would still represent good law as if the facts arose today. The project continues existing work on climate adaptation law; examples are provided of what is required. They will require understanding the Dec 2017 guidance on climate adaptation decision-making issued by the Ministry for the Environment, and the Department of Conservation guidance on the NZCPS. The scholarship would best be undertaken by a law student who has completed resource management law, but a NZ environmental law and/or climate change law course would be sufficient.

Supervisor: Catherine Iorns


Huakina book editing

Scholarship code 807

This Summer Scholarship is designed to complete a book project on the 1987 case Huakina v Waikato Valley Authority. The summer scholar will liaise with authors and work on editing the 16 chapters, referencing and footnote and style guide compliance. The occasional research task may be necessary. They will also work on an overall bibliography and lay the ground-work for an Index. The aim is to get a manuscript ready for delivery to a publisher. Familiarity with the NZ law style guide will be helpful. Familiarity with Treaty of Waitangi law - both legislative clauses and case law - will be an advantage.

Supervisor: Catherine Iorns


Section 40 of the Public Works Act

(Co-funded by Greenwood Roche)

Scholarship code 808

Section 40 of the Public Works Act (PWA) has continued to be a focus point for litigation, in particular, the interpretation and application of "successor" and the notion of personal interest in the land, both affecting the standing of the plaintiffs, and the issue of delays (by the plaintiffs in bringing claims) which could bar the claim or cause difficulty in deciding the valuation date of the land. This project will survey major court decisions on s 40 of the PWA in the past 20 years, calculate the outcome of the litigation and identify the courts' rationales for granting or refusing the claims. The goal of the project is to examine whether s 40 needs to be amended to specify qualifications for persons entitled to an offer back and a time limit for the offer back in the interest of avoiding the cost (economic and social) of litigation

The research assistant will: do a literature survey on s 40 of the of the Public Works Act and summarise the key findings and arguments; help to collect s40 cases between 1999 and 2019 and provide a synopsis for each case (except reported cases and cases of no significance); find comparative approaches in other jurisdictions.

Supervisor: Ruiping Ye