NZ Centre for Legal Theory

The New Zealand Centre for Legal Theory was founded in 2018 to promote research by bringing together leading international and local scholars with interests in legal theory, including general jurisprudence, theories of public law and private law, and indigenous legal theory.

The New Zealand Centre for Legal Theory is hosted by Auckland Law School at the University of Auckland. The Centre brings together scholars with interests across a range of approaches in legal theory. Our members have expertise in theories of public law and private law, indigenous or international law, in general jurisprudence or its sub-fields, in the intersections of legal and political or moral philosophy, law and social theory, law and economics, law and history, or other interdisciplinary studies.

Beginning in 2019, the Centre will host an annual Colloquium in Legal Theory, featuring leading international scholars presenting contemporary work in legal theory. Other formal activities of the Centre will include seminars by international and local scholars, including new and emerging voices, and workshops hosted by our members in conjunction with their ongoing individual and collaborative research.

Upcoming events


The Centre will be formally launched in May 2019, with a public lecture to be delivered by Professor David Dyzenhaus of the University of Toronto.

Colloquium in Legal Theory


David Dyzenhaus
Benedict Kingsbury
Sylvie Delacroix
Ariel Porat

Workshop: The Idea of Office

In collaboration with Larissa Katz at the University of Toronto, and jointly sponsored by the University of Toronto Law Journal, Nicole Roughan is organising a workshop on ‘The Idea of Office: perspectives from Private Law, Public Law, and Jurisprudence’ to be held in Toronto in June 2019.

Past events



Patrick Taylor Smith
Institutionalism, Distributed Responsibility, and Just War Theory

Dan Priel
New Questions for Jurisprudence

Yvette Russell
The Irrepressibility of Sexual History Evidence in Rape Cases: A Feminist Critique

Richard Collins
Unpicking the ‘Crisis’ of Authority at the Heart of Contemporary International Law


Law and Recognition: persons, institutions, and plurality

Nicole Roughan hosted a workshop on Law and Recognition from September 10-11, 2018. The Law and Recognition project examines the relationship between recognition of statuses and recognition of persons, featuring an exchange of ideas amongst those who work on theories of inter-personal recognition, political struggles for recognition, law’s practices of recognition, and recognition between legal orders including tikanga and state law.

Law and Recognition workshop participants September 2018


Dr Arie Rosen and Associate Professor Nicole Roughan

Dr Arie Rosen is a legal theorist with interests in general jurisprudence, constitutional theory and philosophy of private law. His published work covers methodological question in jurisprudence, the theory of authority, statutory interpretation, and the relations between the concept and the nature of law. His current research on democracy and contract law is funded by a Marsden Grant, awarded by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Tel:+64 9 923 6738

Associate Professor Nicole Roughan has research interests in philosophy of law including theories of authority, pluralist jurisprudence, and the relations between law’s institutions and agents. Nicole is the author of Authorities (OUP, 2013) and co-editor (with Andrew Halpin) of In Pursuit of Pluralist Jurisprudence (CUP, 2017). Nicole is currently working on a monograph exploring the idea of the legal official, and a five-year project on Legalities: Jurisprudence without Borders supported by a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship from the Royal Society Te Apārangi.

Tel +64 9 923 8392


Claire Charters - indigenous legal theory and legal pluralism

Natalie Coates  - indigenous legal theory and legal pluralism

David Grinlinton – environmental and sustainability theory, property theory

An Hertogen - international legal theory

John Ip - law and emergency, law and popular culture

Nina Khouri  - dispute resolution theory, civil justice theory, general jurisprudence 

Tim Kuhner – corruption, critical approaches to law and political economy, economic and political inequality, democratic theory

Janet McLean – theories of public law and the public-private distinction

Arie Rosen - legal philosophy, philosophy of private law, political philosophy, democratic theory

Nicole Roughan – theories of authority, pluralist jurisprudence, the idea of the legal official, law and recognition, theories of indigenous laws, fiduciary theory

Katherine Sanders - theories of property, particularly property in land, law and historiography

Warren Swain – private law theory, history of private law theory

Julia Tolmie – feminist jurisprudence, criminology

Susan Watson - theories of the company and corporate governance, law and economics, institutional theory and legal institutionalism

Hanna Wilberg - tort theory, compensation systems, public law theory, administrative justice, social security policy

David Williams - legal theory and historiography

Ed Willis -  constitutional theory and theories of regulation

Visiting the Centre / Mailing List

Scholars interested in visiting NZCLT, or being added to the mailing list for events, should contact Arie Rosen or Nicole Roughan. Prospective PhD students may find admissions information on the Auckland Law School website.