LAW 701 - The Legal System: Sources, Structure and Method

Lecturers' biography

Anastasia Telesetsky is a senior lecturer at The University of Auckland. Her practice focused on public international law and environmental law. She had the distinction of representing the Government of Ethiopia before the Ethiopia-Eritrea Claims Commission at the Permanent Court of Arbitration. In 2003 and 2004, she was a Bosch Fellow in Germany where she worked for the German Foreign Ministry on promoting international food security and assisted in drafting guidelines on implementation for the “Right to Food”. As a Fulbright Fellow and a Berkeley Human Rights Center fellow, she collaborated with communities in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea on developing culturally appropriate legal solutions to environmental protection problems. In addition to bachelors and masters degrees in Anthropology, Professor Telesetsky earned her law degree from the University of California-Berkeley (Boalt Hall) and an LLM in International Law from the University of British Columbia. 

Edward Willis is a lecturer at the University of Auckland School of Law. He is interested in all aspects of public law with particular interests in constitutional theory, administrative decision-making, the theory and practice of regulation and competition (antitrust) law. He has previously practised as a solicitor for government and private sector clients. His 2012 article “On Regulatory Uncertainty” won the Rex Mason prize for best published article. He has a Masters Degree in Law from Victoria University of Wellington and a PhD from the University of Auckland.

Course outline

The course is an introduction to the New Zealand legal system and the process of legal reasoning. It will consider the core substantive components of the New Zealand legal system, the sources of New Zealand law (including statute, case law and custom), the influence of international law, legal methodology in theory and practice (including: judicial reasoning and the doctrine of precedent), techniques of statutory interpretation, and the resolution of disputes.


The syllabus will include a study of the following aspects:

  • Concept and sources of law
  • Structure of government and process of lawmaking
  • New Zealand court system
  • Statutory interpretation
  • Common law theory

The syllabus will also include four special topics where the concepts and skills learned will be applied. These are:

  • Law and economics
  • Comparative law
  • International law
  • Constitutional theory


The primary objective of the course is to provide students with an introduction to the New Zealand legal system and the process of legal reasoning. On completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Understand different theories of law
  • Understand how law is made and applied in New Zealand
  • Apply legal reasoning to resolve practical issues
  • Undertake critical analysis on legal topics


Each student is required to submit a research essay of no more than 4,000 words (worth 50% of the student’s final grade). The essay is to be the original work of the student, relying on primary and secondary sources and including proper citation in footnotes.

  • Semester 1: due 12 noon, Friday 1st June 2018

In addition there will be two take‑home assignments, each worth 25% of the student’s final grade.

  • Semester 1: Take-home test 1 due 12 noon, Friday 23rd March 2018
  • Semester 1: Take-home test 2 due 12 noon, Friday 11th May 2018

Course details

Semester: One or Two (full semester)
Day: Monday
Time: 5-8pm
Value: 30 points
Location: Building 810, Room 3.40
1-11 Short Street
Auckland 1010
Essay due date: by 12 noon, 1 June 2018

Test 1 due date:

Test 2 due date:

by 12 noon, 23 March 2018

by 12 noon, 11 May 2018

Contact details

Law Student Centre
Postgraduate Student Adviser
Student Centre
Level 2, 1-11 Short Street
Auckland 1010