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Faculty of Law University of Otago – New Appointments

Thursday 27 February 2014 3:02pm

2014 will be notable for the many initiatives at the Faculty of Law. Not least is the appointment of three new staff members to the Faculty. These talented, innovative people herald a new and dynamic era, building on the considerable achievements and values of existing and recently retired staff and will be of ultimate benefit to students, the legal profession and to the community.


Dr Jesse Wall

I studied Law and Philosophy at the University of Otago from 2003 to 2007. Upon being awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, I moved to Oxford to study towards the Bachelor Civil Law and then onto the Doctorate of Philosophy in Law. My doctrinal research concerned the recognition of property rights in separated bodily material, and will be published in a forthcoming book (Being and Owning: The Legal Status of Separated Bodily Material (Oxford University Press)). Since concluding my studies in 2012, I have been a Lecturer in Law and Junior Research Fellow at Merton College, Oxford.

I am joining the Otago Faculty of Law in 2014 as a Lecturer. I look forward to returning to the collegial corridors of the Richardson Building and the amphitheatre of Archway Four, where I hope to continue my research and give students something close to the excellent educational opportunities that were afforded to me not so long ago.

Maria Hook

I have just completed my PhD at Victoria University of Wellington, where I was also working as a Research Fellow. My PhD proposes a contractual framework for the regulation of party autonomy in choice of law. Prior to that, I was a Judges' Clerk at the High Court at Wellington. I graduated with a LL.B. (Hons First Class) and a BCA in International Business from Victoria University in 2009.

My main research interest is the conflict of laws. I am looking forward to introducing students at Otago to this exciting and increasingly important area of the law

Simon Connell

I’m delighted to be joining the Faculty this year. In 2010, after working for the Accident Compensation Corporation for around five years, I decided to return to Dunedin to research a Master of Laws by thesis. This marked an important turning point in my life. My LLM led to a PhD, which led to my appointment.

My topic is “Implications of the Modern Approach to the Interpretation of Contracts”.

There have been major changes in the law of contract interpretation - courts now speak of "commercial sense" reasoning and look to context instead of just text when deciding the meaning of agreements. My research considers the implications that these changes have for other issues in contract law: objectivity, construction, the interpretation of offers and the battle of the forms.

In addition, shortly after arriving back in Dunedin I met my wife – we were married in Dunedin in December, with a number of friends from the Faculty in attendance .

I am especially looking forward to teaching in my areas of interest. I’m looking forward to teaching Torts and being able to draw on my research and my experience working at ACC. I also hope that my research in contract law will allow me to help a new generation of lawyers understand this complex and developing area. The staff have been warm and welcoming since I first returned to Dunedin, and it’s a privilege to be joining the Faculty