Study Law at Otago

Be part of Otago's unrivalled law community.

Otago’s Faculty of Law has been providing world-class legal education for almost 150 years. Our academics will help you develop skills for a career that can drive social change in your chosen profession and in the world.

Law is part of all social activity. It defines relationships, protects rights, imposes obligations and gives structure to government and commercial enterprise. A Law degree from Otago is a professional degree that can lead to expected and unexpected careers. Many graduates find careers as lawyers in private practice, but others prefer to work in business, government, the public sector or welfare agencies.

Be part of our community: innovative, supportive and inclusive – we’ll empower you to follow your path.

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Why study Law?

A Bachelor of Laws will give you the ability to question and challenge, analyse complex issues, find solutions to a wide variety of problems and contribute to decision making at all levels. You'll develop precise language skills and gain an excellent grounding in analysing, decision making, negotiation, researching and forming legal and other arguments. These are all skills employers love and Aotearoa New Zealand needs.

Many Commerce, Science, Physical Education, Health Science, Arts, and Consumer and Applied Science students enrol in first-year Law to enhance their studies with an understanding of how the law works.

Career opportunities

With world-class teachers, up-to-date courses and invaluable real-world training, it's not surprising that so many Otago law graduates have gone on to successful, interesting and varied careers.

They are trusted advisers, skilled advocates and leaders in business and government. They work in law firms throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas. They can also be found in not-for-profit organisations like the United Nations, the International Labour Organisation and Amnesty International. Government departments, local bodies, iwi authorities and businesses also require lawyers for specialist legal advice.

Law students who complete double degrees find this often opens up even more career opportunities in areas like the media, public relations, entertainment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and trade, and IT consultancies.

Law at Otago

The Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and the Bachelor of Laws with Honours (LLB(Hons)) degrees are both four-year professional programmes.

LAWS 101 The Legal System is the first-year paper for the law degree. It can also count toward another degree. In addition to LAWS 101, you will need to take four to six non-Law 100-level papers.

Entry into second-year Law is limited to approximately 250 places and selection is based predominantly on the mark you achieve in LAWS 101.

The second-year course consists of papers in Criminal Law, Law of Contract, Property Law and Public Law, and a programme of research and writing. These papers are fundamental to understanding law and provide a foundation for advanced papers in subsequent years.

During your third and fourth years of study, you will complete two compulsory papers – LAWS 301 Law of Torts and LAWS 302 Jurisprudence. These are generally taken during your third year. If you wish to practice as a barrister or solicitor, the LAWS 463 Legal Ethics paper is compulsory.

You may be invited into Honours as a result of exceptional performance in your second-year Law papers. The LLB(Hons) involves additional supervised research and the completion of a dissertation.

LAWS 101 The Legal System

LAWS 101 is an open-entry full-year course consisting of three lectures and one tutorial a week. You will learn how to read, interpret and apply Case Law and Statutory Law, how to reason and justify arguments, and how to write clearly, effectively and persuasively.

You'll also work in small tutorial groups and focus on developing the basic skills of analysing a legal problem.

Double degree options

Many Law students at Otago complete double degrees, using Otago's flexible cross-credit system, which can lead to even greater job opportunities. You can combine your LLB with study for a degree in Commerce, Arts, Science, Health Science and other degrees. If you intend to do a double-degree programme, you should include some papers from the second degree in your first year. By cross-crediting papers between the two courses, two degrees can usually be completed in five years of study.

Professional options

Law at Otago is a professional degree. If you wish to practice law following your LLB degree, you must also complete a professional legal studies course. This ensures that lawyers entering all areas of practice have the skills required to represent clients competently and ethically.

Student exchange

The University of Otago has exchange agreements with more than 90 institutions worldwide. If your marks average B or better, you may qualify to attend one of these institutions for one semester or a year. You pay only your New Zealand fees and complete your qualification within the same time frame as if you'd never been away.

Law students are able to take Law papers at the Law Faculty of specifically approved overseas universities.

Background required

There are no specific subjects that you need to study at school for entry into first-year Law. In general, we advise you to take subjects that you do well in, and you enjoy.

Good language (English) and analysis (Maths) skills are useful. You could develop your language and analysis skills by taking part in activities such as drama and debating.

Requirements

LAWS papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
LAWS101 2024 The Legal System 36 Full Year
LAWS201 2024 Criminal Law 30 Full Year
LAWS202 2024 Law of Contract 30 Full Year
LAWS203 2024 Property Law 30 Full Year
LAWS204 2024 Public Law 30 Full Year
LAWS298 2024 Legal Writing 0 Full Year
LAWS301 2024 Law of Torts 30 Full Year
LAWS302 2024 Jurisprudence 30 Full Year
LAWS350 2024 Lawyers, Clients, and the Profession 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS351 2024 Climate Law and Policy 15 Summer School
LAWS352 2024 International Tax Law and Policy 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS353 2024 The Law in the South Pacific 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS354 2024 Insolvency Law 15 Semester 2
LAWS356 2024 International Labour Law 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS357 2024 Law and the Biosciences 15 Semester 2
LAWS380 2024 Preliminary Honours Research Papers 0 Full Year
LAWS398 2024 Legal Research Skills 0 Full Year
LAWS401 2024 Children and the Family Justice System 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS403 2024 Immigration and Refugee Law 15 Semester 2
LAWS404 2024 Administrative Law 15 Semester 2
LAWS405 2024 Civil Liberties and the Private Sector 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS406 2024 Civil Procedure 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS407 2024 Company Law 15 Semester 1
LAWS409 2024 Private International Law 15 Semester 1
LAWS410 2024 Criminology 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS411 2024 Family Law 15 Semester 1
LAWS412 2024 International Law 15 Semester 1
LAWS413 2024 Labour Law 15 Semester 2
LAWS414 2024 Law of Evidence 15 Semester 1
LAWS415 2024 Resource Management Law 15 Semester 2
LAWS416 2024 Taxation 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS417 2024 Criminal Justice 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS418 2024 Crime and Property 15 Semester 1
LAWS419 2024 Securities Market Regulation 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS420 2024 Law and the Democratic Process 15 Semester 1
LAWS421 2024 International Environmental Law 15 Semester 2
LAWS422 2024 Bill of Rights - Theory and Practice 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS423 2024 Information and Data Protection Law 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS424 2024 International Criminal Court 15 Semester 2
LAWS425 2024 Energy Law 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS426 2024 Insurance Law 15 Semester 1
LAWS427 2024 Commercial Equity 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS428 2024 Law and Emerging Technologies 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS430 2024 Advanced Criminal Law 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS431 2024 Advanced Contract and Tort 15 Semester 2
LAWS432 2024 Animals and the Law 15 Semester 1
LAWS433 2024 Advanced Family Property 15 Semester 2
LAWS435 2024 Banking Law 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS436 2024 Commercial and Consumer Law 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS437 2024 Competition Law 15 Semester 2
LAWS438 2024 Civil Liberties and the Public Sector 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS440 2024 Environmental Law 15 Semester 1
LAWS441 2024 Advanced Taxation 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS443 2024 International Investment Law 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS444 2024 Intellectual Property 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS447 2024 Law and Medicine 15 Semester 1
LAWS448 2024 Law and Psychiatry 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS449 2024 Criminal Procedure 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS450 2024 Law of Restitution 15 Semester 1
LAWS452 2024 Legal Theory 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS453 2024 Advanced Legislation 15 Semester 2
LAWS454 2024 Negotiation 15 Semester 1
LAWS455 2024 Māori Land Law 15 Semester 1
LAWS456 2024 Media Law 15 Semester 2
LAWS457 2024 Secured Transactions 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS458 2024 Sentencing 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS459 2024 Treaty of Waitangi 15 Semester 1
LAWS460 2024 Vendor and Purchaser 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS461 2024 Laws and Indigenous Peoples 15 Semester 1
LAWS462 2024 Wills and Trusts 15 Semester 2
LAWS463 2024 Legal Ethics 15 Semester 2
LAWS464 2024 Advocacy 15 Semester 2
LAWS465 2024 Law and Society 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS466 2024 Gender and the Law 15 Semester 1
LAWS467 2024 International Human Rights Law 15 Semester 2
LAWS468 2024 Advanced Company Law 15 Semester 2
LAWS469 2024 Law and Religion 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS470 2024 Special Topic 1 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS471 2024 Special Topic: International Trade Regulation 15 Summer School
LAWS472 2024 Special Topic 3: Law and Language 15 Semester 2
LAWS473 2024 Special Topic 4: Public Health Law 15 Summer School
LAWS474 2024 Special Topic 5: International Criminal Law: Terrorism and Human Rights 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS475 2024 Special Topic 6: Global and Comparative Animal Law 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS476 2024 Special Topic 7 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS477 2024 Special Topic 8: Mediation 15 Semester 2
LAWS478 2024 Special Topic 15 Semester 2
LAWS479 2024 Special Topic 10 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS480 2024 Research Paper 15 Semester 1, Semester 2, 1st Non standard period, Summer School
LAWS481 2024 Special Topic 11: International Litigation and Dispute Settlement 15 Semester 2
LAWS482 2024 Advanced Evidence Law 15 Semester 2
LAWS485 2024 Special Topic 14: Chinese Law 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS486 2024 Special Topic: Not-for-Profit Law 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS487 2024 Special Topic 16 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS488 2024 Accidents and the Law 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS490 2024 Final Honours Research Paper 60 Full Year
LAWS498 2024 Research and Writing 0 Semester 1, Semester 2, Summer School
LAWS499 2024 Advocacy Skills 0 Semester 2
LAWS512 2024 Family Law 15 Semester 1
LAWS515 2024 Resource Management Law 15 Semester 2
LAWS521 2024 International Environmental Law 15 Semester 2
LAWS528 2024 Law and Emerging Technologies 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS540 2024 Environmental Law 15 Semester 1
LAWS547 2024 Law and Medicine 15 Semester 1
LAWS548 2024 Law and Psychiatry 15 Not offered in 2024
LAWS588 2024 Accidents and the Law 15 Not offered in 2024

More information

Contact us

Faculty of Law
Email  law@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/law

Studying at Otago

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Regulations on this page are taken from the 2023 Calendar and supplementary material.

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