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New Chair of Jurisprudence for Otago

Monday 11 February 2019 12:03pm

Professor Jeremy Waldron

The University of Otago Faculty of Law is honoured to announce the establishment of a new Chair of Jurisprudence, named after international scholar and Otago alumnus Professor Jeremy Waldron.

The new Jeremy Waldron Chair of Jurisprudence is only possible through the agreement of Professor Waldron with an initiative to support the establishment of a chair for the teaching and research of jurisprudence and legal philosophy.

Chancellor Royden Somerville

Jurisprudence is a core paper of the Otago Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and is seen as essential to producing law graduates with a strong philosophical understanding of the role of law in a just and civil society.

University Chancellor Dr Royden Somerville QC says that despite the subject no longer being a requirement mandated by the New Zealand Council of Legal Education, the initiative, from Otago graduate and former Otago law lecturer Noel Carroll, ensures the teaching and study of jurisprudence remains a pillar in Otago law students’ education and development.

“Noel’s collaboration with the former Dean of the Faculty Professor Mark Henaghan led to the establishment of the chair and is greatly appreciated,” Dr Somerville says.

“The three have strong links. They go back to the 1970s in the Law Faculty when Noel was a lecturer, and Jeremy and Mark were both students of law at Otago.”

Both Otago’s Dean of Law Professor Jessica Palmer and Dr Somerville see the naming of the position in honour of Professor Waldron as significant in its own right. Professor Waldron is an eminent graduate of the University of Otago. In 2005 the University recognised his outstanding scholarship in law and philosophy by awarding him an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

“The naming of the Chair after an international scholar of such high standing brings considerable prestige to it,” Dr Somerville says.

Professor Jessica Palmer

“Professor Waldron is a world-renowned legal scholar, and still regularly visits Otago to speak to students and staff. It is fitting that this Chair acknowledges both the enormous contribution he has made to legal philosophy and that Otago was where he began,” adds Professor Palmer. She says the Faculty is enormously grateful.

“Many of our older graduates benefited from Noel’s years of teaching while he was in practice, and our future students will now also benefit from this gesture ensuring that jurisprudence will always be an important aspect of the Otago law experience,” Professor Palmer says.

University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says the establishment of the new Chair will further enhance the reputation of Otago’s Law Faculty, and the calibre of graduates it produces.

“Jeremy Waldron is a distinguished alumnus of this University and this initiative ensures many will benefit from the teaching and research of jurisprudence and legal philosophy here at Otago in the years to come,” she says.

The Chair will likely be a professor or associate professor who will teach and research in jurisprudence and be a permanent academic member of the Faculty. Recruitment for the Chair via an international search is expected to occur in the latter half of the year.