LAWGENRL 423 - Legal History

Credit points: 15 points
Offered: Second Semester
Contact hours: Lectures – 3 hours per week
Course Coordinator: Katherine Sanders
Prerequisite: LAW 211

Course description

This course will introduce students to the historical development of the legal system of New Zealand. The aim of the course is to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between law, governance and society through discussion of legal history.

This course addresses topics which illustrate legal developments in political, economic and social context. Topics are likely to include:

  • Law, history and storytelling
  • Approaches to legal history and the uses of history in law
  • The origins of the English legal system
  • Law and punishment
  • The emergence of the concept of the rule of law
  • Law and empire, including early interaction of Māori with settler legal institutions
  • Women, property and politics
  • The role of law in wartime and emergency
  • Law and sexuality


  • 2 x 750 word reflection papers (10% each, choice of dates); and either
  • Written assignment (80%, due at the end of the semester). This assignment will be based on course materials. Independent research will not be required; or
  • Research paper comprising a plan of no more than 750 words (10%) and a research paper of no more than 5250 words (70%, due at the end of the semester).