Doctoral study in Law

Why study with us?

  • The University of Auckland is New Zealand's highest-ranking university. The Auckland Law School is ranked 29th in the QS World University Rankings (2018).
  • Stimulating and rewarding, a PhD at the Auckland Law School requires a high level of self-motivation and discipline, providing an exciting opportunity to engage in independent, cutting-edge research.
  • The University of Auckland offers a range of scholarships and opportunities for incoming doctoral candidates.

Research opportunities

Auckland Law School has New Zealand’s largest community of legal academics, with leaders in Corporate and Commercial Law, Public Law and International Law. With these and all other major areas of the law, we attract research students from around the world.

The University of Auckland Law School is an active and vibrant research institution. Its members regularly publish articles and books in New Zealand and around the world, and also serve as editors of a range of publications. The faculty hosts a number of research centres, and maintains close cooperation with the Legal Research Foundation. The faculty’s work is supported by the Davis Law Library’s extensive collection of legal materials.

The faculty welcomes enquiries from prospective research students. The faculty’s core subject areas include: 

  • Constitutional, Administrative and Public Law
  • Contract, Torts, Equity and Private Law
  • Corporate and Commercial Law
  • Criminal Law and Justice
  • Human Rights Law
  • Indigenous Peoples and the Law
  • International and Comparative Law
  • Land and Environmental Law
  • Legal History and Theory
  • Litigation, Dispute Resolution, Family and Relationships Law

Our people

Auckland Law School academic staff 2018

Pursue your topic with us and benefit from exceptional standards of support and supervision from internationally recognised researchers.

Professor Jane Kelsey

Jane Kelsey is one of New Zealand's best-known critical commentators on issues of globalisation and neoliberalism. She has taught at the University of Auckland since 1979, specialising in socio-legal studies, law and policy and international economic regulation.

Jane is active internationally as a researcher, analyst, adviser and media commentator on globalisation, especially the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, trade in services, and investment agreements. She is an active member of a number of international coalitions of academics, trade unionists, NGOs and social movements working for social justice.

Find out more: Professor Jane Kelsey

Professor Craig Elliffe

Professor Craig Elliffe specialises in taxation law. Craig was appointed to a chair after 14 years as a tax partner at KPMG and nine years as a tax partner at Chapman Tripp. Craig’s research areas are in the field of international tax, corporate tax and tax avoidance.

He is the author of International and Cross-Border Taxation in New Zealand (Thomson Reuters), which was awarded the JF Northey best law book award in 2015, and Dividend Imputation: Practice and Procedure (Lexis). He has also written numerous articles and other materials on tax. He is listed in Chambers and the International Tax Review as a leading tax practitioner. He is the Director of the MTaxS programme (the leading postgraduate tax course in New Zealand). He is a member of the Government's Tax Working Group (2018/19).

Find out more: Professor Craig Elliffe

Professor Janet McLean

Janet McLean is a Professor of Law at The University of Auckland and Associate Dean (Research). Before returning to Auckland in 2012 she held the Chair in Law and Governance at the University of Dundee. She has held visiting fellowships at Woodrow Wilson School of Politics and International Affairs and the Program in Law and Public Affairs, Princeton University (2009), and at The Australian National University (2001) and was the George P. Smith Distinguished Visiting Professor at Indiana University at Bloomington (2003).

She has acted as an advisor to the NZ government serving on the Legislation Advisory Committee and on a ministerial inquiry into Human Rights Protection in New Zealand (2000). She is the author of J McLean, Searching for the State in British Legal Thought, Cambridge University Press (2012) and A Quentin-Baxter and J McLean, This Realm of New Zealand: The Queen, The Governor-General, The Crown, AUP (2017) and of numerous articles about administrative law, human rights, the public private distinction, the political constitution, and unwritten constitutions.

Find out more: Professor Janet McLean

View the complete list of Faculty of Law academic staff and their specialisations.

Past research topics

Scholarships and awards

There are several scholarships you may be eligible for when you decide to pursue your doctoral studies in Law.

University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarships

University of Auckland Law School’s Dean’s Doctoral Scholarships

New Zealand Law Foundation Doctoral Scholarship

Contact us

If you want to chat further about your studies, either email or click below to get in contact.

Apply for doctoral study