Jin Cha is a Legal Advisor for the New Zealand Defence Force. He is studying for a Master of Laws (LLM) specialising in Human Rights Law and is in his third year, part-time.
“My work as a public servant and lawyer for the New Zealand Government involves ensuring Kiwis’ and foreigners’ rights are duly protected. Many activities the New Zealand Defence Force undertakes to protect New Zealand and her interests engage the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and international human rights law. A Master of Laws helps me stay on top of the latest developments in relevant areas such as privacy rights, rights of patients and the principles of natural justice."
Jin holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Studies from the University of Auckland.
After graduating, Jin joined the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2017. Here he fell in love with being part of a principled organisation which “works towards an admirable goal in the service of others”.
Later, Jin returned to New Zealand. Looking to continue that principled work, he reached out to the New Zealand Defence Force where he now works as a Legal Advisor and is supported by a team of outstanding lawyers in the Defence Legal Services.
While working, Jin is also completing his Master of Laws part-time to refine legal research and writing skills and expand his knowledge in specialist areas. The New Zealand Defence Force’s education study assistance funds his study in full. Defence Legal Services also supports their lawyers’ development with study leave days to attend Master of Laws course seminars.
“Accurate, pertinent, and concise legal advice from Defence Legal Services is key to ensuring the New Zealand Defence Force continues to act lawfully in all its endeavours. What I learn through the Master of Laws has immediate application to the work I do as a Legal Advisor.”
For Jin, continuing to postgraduate studies through the University of Auckland Law School has been an easy decision.
“The University of Auckland Law School has a leading position in New Zealand and exceptional international standing. I knew from my undergraduate experience that the Law School has world-class academic and professional staff and offers a wide range of postgraduate courses taught by eminent experts in the field.”
“For me, the Master of Laws course is a chance to learn from some of these scholars who are knowledgeable, professional experts as well as being approachable and receptive people. It is the perfect combination for a student. Open discussions in seminars also provide a secure yet fertile environment to ponder and debate interesting and sophisticated ideas with fellow legal professionals and law students.”
Work with the New Zealand Defence Force has taken Jin to different parts of the world. Last year, he visited his birthplace South Korea where he participated in an exercise with the United Nations Command and advised on how multinational forces may respond to a resumption of hostilities in the peninsula.
In the future, Jin hopes to return to South Korea and deploy to other countries through the New Zealand Defence Force where he can integrate his New Zealand experience. With his University of Auckland studies in hand, he will be well-placed to pursue further opportunities around the globe to broaden his horizons.