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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 Otago’s unrivalled law community. Innovative, supportive and inclusive – we’ll empower you to follow your path.

Apply for the Bachelor of Laws (LLB First Year) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Bachelor of Laws (LLB Second Year and above) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Bachelor of Laws with Honours (LLB(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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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.

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.

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.

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.

Qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Laws (LLB)

Year Papers Points
1st year

LAWS 101  The Legal System

108 points from any degree *

36

108

2nd year

LAWS 201  Criminal Law

LAWS 202  Law of Contract

LAWS 203  Property Law

LAWS 204  Public Law

LAWS 298  Legal Writing

30

30

30

30

0

3rd and 4th years

LAWS 301  Law of Torts

LAWS 302  Jurisprudence

210 further LAWS points (30 points of which may be from any other subject at 200-level or higher)

LAWS 398  Legal Research Skills

LAWS 498  Research and Writing

LAWS 499  Advocacy Skills

30

30

210

0

0

0

 

* LAWS 101 and at least 72 non-LAWS points are normally taken in the first year; any further papers to make a total of 108 non-LAWS points must be taken in the third or fourth year.

 

Bachelor of Laws with Honours (LLB(Hons))

Year Papers Points
1st year

LAWS 101  The Legal System

108 points from any degree *

36

108

2nd year

LAWS 201  Criminal Law

LAWS 202  Law of Contract

LAWS 203  Property Law

LAWS 204  Public Law

LAWS 298  Legal Writing

30

30

30

30

0

3rd and 4th years

LAWS 301  Law of Torts

LAWS 302 Jurisprudence

210 further LAWS points (30 points of which may be from any other subject at 200-level or higher)

LAWS 398  Legal Research Skills

LAWS 498  Research and Writing

LAWS 499  Advocacy Skills

30

30

210


0

0

0

Honours Requirements

LAWS 380 (taken in the third year)

LAWS 490 (taken in the fourth year)

0

60

 

* LAWS 101 and at least 72 non-LAWS points are normally taken in the first year; any further papers to make a total of 108 non-LAWS points must be taken in the third or fourth year.

 

Master of Laws (LLM)

Thesis
  • Thesis: LAWS 5

Papers

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
LAWS101 2023 The Legal System 36 points Full Year
LAWS201 2023 Criminal Law 30 points Full Year
LAWS202 2023 Law of Contract 30 points Full Year
LAWS203 2023 Property Law 30 points Full Year
LAWS204 2023 Public Law 30 points Full Year
LAWS298 2023 Legal Writing 0 points Full Year
LAWS301 2023 Law of Torts 30 points Full Year
LAWS302 2023 Jurisprudence 30 points Full Year
LAWS350 2023 Lawyers, Clients, and the Profession 15 points Semester 1
LAWS351 2023 Climate Law and Policy 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS352 2023 International Tax Law and Policy 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS353 2023 The Law in the South Pacific 15 points Semester 1
LAWS354 2023 Insolvency Law 15 points Semester 2
LAWS356 2023 International Labour Law 15 points Semester 2
LAWS357 2023 Law and the Biosciences 15 points Semester 2
LAWS380 2023 Preliminary Honours Research Papers 0 points Full Year
LAWS398 2023 Legal Research Skills 0 points Full Year
LAWS401 2023 Children and the Family Justice System 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS403 2023 Immigration and Refugee Law 15 points Semester 1
LAWS404 2023 Administrative Law 15 points Semester 2
LAWS405 2023 Civil Liberties and the Private Sector 15 points Semester 2
LAWS406 2023 Civil Procedure 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS407 2023 Company Law 15 points Semester 1
LAWS409 2023 Private International Law 15 points Semester 1
LAWS410 2023 Criminology 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS411 2023 Family Law 15 points Semester 1
LAWS412 2023 International Law 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS413 2023 Labour Law 15 points Semester 1
LAWS414 2023 Law of Evidence 15 points Semester 1
LAWS415 2023 Resource Management Law 15 points Semester 2
LAWS416 2023 Taxation 15 points Semester 1
LAWS417 2023 Criminal Justice 15 points Semester 2
LAWS418 2023 Crime and Property 15 points Semester 1
LAWS419 2023 Securities Market Regulation 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS420 2023 Law and the Democratic Process 15 points Semester 1
LAWS421 2023 International Environmental Law 15 points Semester 2
LAWS422 2023 Bill of Rights - Theory and Practice 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS423 2023 Information and Data Protection Law 15 points Summer School
LAWS424 2023 International Criminal Court 15 points Semester 2
LAWS425 2023 Energy Law 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS426 2023 Insurance Law 15 points Semester 1
LAWS427 2023 Commercial Equity 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS428 2023 Law and Emerging Technologies 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS430 2023 Advanced Criminal Law 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS431 2023 Advanced Contract and Tort 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS432 2023 Animals and the Law 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS433 2023 Advanced Family Property 15 points Semester 2
LAWS435 2023 Banking Law 15 points Semester 2
LAWS436 2023 Commercial and Consumer Law 15 points Semester 2
LAWS437 2023 Competition Law 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS438 2023 Civil Liberties and the Public Sector 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS440 2023 Environmental Law 15 points Semester 1
LAWS441 2023 Advanced Taxation 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS442 2023 Law and the Sports Industry 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS443 2023 International Investment Law 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS444 2023 Intellectual Property 15 points Summer School
LAWS447 2023 Law and Medicine 15 points Semester 2
LAWS448 2023 Law and Psychiatry 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS449 2023 Criminal Procedure 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS450 2023 Law of Restitution 15 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2024
LAWS452 2023 Legal Theory 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS453 2023 Advanced Legislation 15 points Semester 2
LAWS454 2023 Negotiation 15 points Semester 1
LAWS455 2023 Māori Land Law 15 points Semester 1
LAWS456 2023 Media Law 15 points Semester 2
LAWS457 2023 Secured Transactions 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS458 2023 Sentencing 15 points Semester 1
LAWS459 2023 Treaty of Waitangi 15 points Semester 1
LAWS460 2023 Vendor and Purchaser 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS461 2023 Laws and Indigenous Peoples 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS462 2023 Wills and Trusts 15 points Semester 2
LAWS463 2023 Legal Ethics 15 points Semester 2
LAWS464 2023 Advocacy 15 points Semester 2
LAWS465 2023 Law and Society 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS466 2023 Gender and the Law 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS467 2023 International Human Rights Law 15 points Semester 2
LAWS468 2023 Advanced Company Law 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS469 2023 Law and Religion 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS470 2023 Special Topic 1 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS471 2023 Special Topic: International Trade Regulation 15 points Summer School
LAWS472 2023 Special Topic 3: Law and Language 15 points Semester 2
LAWS473 2023 Special Topic 4: Public Health Law 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS474 2023 Special Topic 5: International Criminal Law: Terrorism and Human Rights 15 points Summer School
LAWS475 2023 Special Topic 6: Global and Comparative Animal Law 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS476 2023 Special Topic 7 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS477 2023 Special Topic 8: Mediation 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS478 2023 Special Topic 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS479 2023 Special Topic 10 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS480 2023 Research Paper 15 points Semester 1, Semester 2, 1st Non standard period, Summer School
LAWS481 2023 Special Topic 11: International Litigation and Dispute Settlement 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS485 2023 Special Topic 14: Chinese Law 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS486 2023 Special Topic: Not-for-Profit Law 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS487 2023 Special Topic 16 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS488 2023 Accidents and the Law 15 points Semester 2
LAWS490 2023 Final Honours Research Paper 60 points Full Year
LAWS498 2023 Research and Writing 0 points Semester 1, Semester 2, Summer School
LAWS499 2023 Advocacy Skills 0 points Semester 2
LAWS512 2023 Family Law 15 points Semester 1
LAWS515 2023 Resource Management Law 15 points Semester 2
LAWS521 2023 International Environmental Law 15 points Semester 2
LAWS528 2023 Law and Emerging Technologies 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS540 2023 Environmental Law 15 points Semester 1
LAWS547 2023 Law and Medicine 15 points Semester 2
LAWS548 2023 Law and Psychiatry 15 points Not offered in 2023
LAWS588 2023 Accidents and the Law 15 points Semester 2

Key information for future students

Contact us

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