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Dr Bridgette Toy-Cronin

Bridgette Toy-Cronin 186Director, University of Otago Legal Issues Centre
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law

Tel:(+64) 21 279 0488


Twitter: @ToyCronin

Research Interests

Bridgette’s research has an empirical focus, furthering the Centre’s aims of investigating access to justice, the legal profession, judging, dispute resolution and civil procedure. Bridgette is interested in socio-legal research methods, as well as studying the intersection of civil justice and poverty. Bridgette has been the Director of the Legal Issues Centre since 2016.


Bridgette studied law and political studies at the University of Auckland before working as an intern at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and as a High Court Judges' Clerk. From 2004-2005 she attended Harvard Law School as a Frank Knox Fellow, where she completed her LLM degree. She then spent a year in Cambodia working for the Cambodian Defenders Project on Women's Rights before going on to practice civil litigation in New Zealand and Australia. In 2011 she began a PhD at the University of Otago examining litigation in person (self-represented litigants) in the New Zealand civil courts. Her PhD was awarded and listed as exceptional in 2015.

Research Projects

Other Research Networks

  • Executive Committee Member of the Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand
  • New Zealand Bar Association Access to Justice Working Group
  • Innovations in Judging, Collaborative Research Network, Law and Society Association
  • Realist and Empirical Legal Methods, Collaborative Research Network, Law and Society Association
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, admitted 2002
  • Barrister and Solicitor of Victoria and the High Court of Australia, admitted 2009


Journal - Research Article

Toy-Cronin, B. (2017). A defence of the right to litigate in person. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 37(1), 238-254. doi: 10.1093/ojls/gqw027

Toy-Cronin, B. (2016). I ain't no fool: Deciding to litigate in person in the civil courts. New Zealand Law Review, 4, 723-754.

Toy-Cronin, B. (2016). From litigator to researcher: The burdens and benefits of moving between the profession and the academy. International Journal of the Legal Profession. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/09695958.2016.1228532

Toy-Cronin, B. (2016). Counsel's tables? Seating counsel and litigants-in-person in the courtroom. New Zealand Law Journal, 4, 148-151.

Toy-Cronin, B. A. (2010). What is forced marriage: Towards a definition of forced marriage as a crime against humanity. Columbia Journal of Gender & Law, 19(2), 539-590.

Toy-Cronin, B. (2002). Waiver of the rule against bias. Te Mata Koi Auckland University Law Review, 9(3), 850-882.

Toy-Cronin, B., Irvine, B., Stewart, K. and Henaghan, M. (2017). The Wheels of Justice: Understanding the Pace of Civil High Court Cases. University of Otago Legal Issues Centre. [Download PDF 1.326 Mb]

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs
Toy-Cronin, B. (2016, June). Obsessed about obsessives? The challenge of persistent litigants. Verbal presentation at the Law and Society Association (LSA) Annual Meeting: At the Delta: Belonging, Place and Visions of Law and Social Change, New Orleans, USA.

Awarded Doctoral Degree

Toy-Cronin, B. A. (2015). Keeping up appearances: Accessing New Zealand's civil courts as a litigant in person (PhD). University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Retrieved from