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Doctor of Laws (LLD)


    The Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree is a higher doctorate and one of the University's most prestigious qualifications. It is awarded only to individuals who have published original contributions of special excellence in the history, philosophy, exposition or criticism of law. It is expected that an applicant will either be an Otago graduate or have had some formal association with the University.

    There is no requirement for coursework or a supervised piece of original research. Rather, an intending candidate must lodge a formal application that includes books published by major companies, papers published in peer reviewed serials and, if approved by the Senate, unpublished reports. Copies of the submitted work will be sent to subject experts of national and international eminence for examination.

    Conferral of the LLD is a mark of the high esteem in which the candidate's work is held by his or her peers in New Zealand and internationally.

    Regulations for the Degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD)

    1. Eligibility

      1. A degree shall be awarded for published original contributions of special excellence in the appropriate discipline.  An individual shall only ever be entitled to be awarded one Higher Doctorate from the University of Otago – applications for multiple Higher Doctorates are not permitted.
      2. Every candidate for a Higher Doctoral degree must have held a degree for at least five years before applying for admission to the degree.
      3. A candidate for the degree shall normally be a graduate of the University of Otago, or shall have completed a substantial proportion of the work to be presented while working in an academic or research unit of the University.

    2. Application

      1. A candidate must apply for admission1 to the degree by submitting the following in the first instance:
        1. a curriculum vitae;
        2. an abstract and/or brief description of the work including a list of the published original contributions upon which the application is based; and
        3. a statutory declaration identifying the submitted work as original and stating that it has not previously been accepted for another qualification at any university or equivalent institution.  Where co-authored work is submitted those parts which are a candidate’s own work should be identified, whereupon the University will review and advise if a case for the award of the degree exists.
      2. Where the case for an award exists, every candidate shall submit a digital copy of the work2 upon which the application is based together with a narrative summary of the body of work of 5000-10000 words, which clearly describes the impact of the work or contribution to the relevant discipline or area of practice, and the required entry fee.
      3. In exceptional circumstances, and with the prior approval of the Senate, unpublished material may be submitted as part of the work.
      4. Additional work, published or unpublished, may be submitted as appendices in support of the application.

      (1) The application shall be forwarded to the Dean, Graduate Research School.
      (2) Permanently bound copies are acceptable if the work is already in that format.

    3. Examination

      1. The submitted work shall be assessed by three examiners, appointed by the Senate on the recommendation of the appropriate Pro-Vice-Chancellor, at least one of whom shall be an overseas authority.
      2. Resubmission of work shall not be an outcome of the examination.
      3. Where the examiners cannot agree on a result, they should so report to the appropriate Pro-Vice-Chancellor, who shall nominate a referee to advise the Senate.
      4. Upon the successful completion of the examination process and award of the degree, a final digital copy of the work shall be deposited in the University’s online repository.

    4. Variations

      Notwithstanding anything in these regulations, the Senate shall have the discretion to vary any provision set down if, in its opinion, special or unusual circumstances warrant such variation.

      The Senate has delegated authority over the Higher Doctoral degrees to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise).

      For queries regarding the application process email
    5. Appendix

      A Doctor of Laws is awarded only to individuals who have published original contributions of special excellence in the history, philosophy, exposition, or criticism of law.

    This information must be read subject to the statement on our Copyright & Disclaimer page.

    Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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