About the Faculty of Law

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Innovative and comprehensive

UC Law has a strong reputation in the traditional areas of law (for example Criminal, Constitutional and Contract Law), but also offers innovative courses in areas of emerging interest (for example Media Law, Law and Sport, Medical Law or Antarctic Legal Studies). There is a strong focus on the student learning experience, with three Faculty members having received University Teaching Awards in the last three years.

Not just a number

Being one of the smaller Law Schools in New Zealand allows us to get to know our students as individuals. We work with the two law student associations, Lawsoc and Te Putairiki, to put on a wide range of social activities throughout the year.

The study of law begins at undergraduate level in New Zealand. Students do not complete a Bachelor's Degree before entering Law School, as in some countries. Instead, students enter university from high school or as adult students and begin a programme of study in Law from the first year. The Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree, which has been offered at the University of Canterbury since 1877, can be completed in four years.

Industry recognised qualifications

Today, the programme of study towards an LLB is prescribed and carefully monitored for quality by an independent body, the New Zealand Council for Legal Education.

To be eligible for admission as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court, a candidate must have graduated with an LLB degree, have passed a course in Legal Ethics and must have completed a Professional Studies course approximately 13 weeks long. Admission as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court in New Zealand is recognised internationally.


The LLB degree does not require students to have a background in any specific subject at school, and entry into the first year is open to all students with University Entrance. Students considering undertaking an LLB are, however, encouraged to study subjects at school which will enhance their reading, writing and analytical skills. Entry into second year (as is the case in most NZ Law Schools) is subject to limited entry based on first year results, and students are advised in their first semester as to how to apply for admission into second year.

Students undertaking the LLB will receive a challenging and high-quality education. Most LLB student choose to broaden their studies by undertaking a double degree (for example in Criminal Justice, Commerce, Arts or Science) which not only complements their law degree but also enhances their future employability.

Career-ready graduates

Unique to UC Law is a focus on practical skills, through internships and community engagement, including volunteering with Community Law Canterbury or in the UC Clinical Legal Programme. Students are also encouraged to enter law competitions: mooting, client interviewing, negotiation and witness examination, and UC teams are highly competitive at national and international competitions.


The UC Faculty of Law has a strong reputation in the traditional areas of law. It has also been at the forefront in introducing innovative courses such as those in Antarctic Legal Studies, Media Law, Law and Sport, and Law and Medicine.

Highly valued practical skills

The UC Law also offers practical courses in legal skills such as Legal Internship, and Trial Advocacy. Students graduating from the University of Canterbury School of Law are well-prepared in all ways and highly valued by employers for careers in many countries in the legal profession, business or in governmental or non-governmental organisations.

Flexible degree combinations

About 1000 students at all levels study law at the University of Canterbury. Some are taking introductory law courses as part of a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree. Others choose to take law as part of a Commerce, Arts, Science or Social Work degree.

Many University of Canterbury LLB students choose to complete double degrees. A double degree consists of two separate degrees and is not the same as a conjoint degree, which cannot be separated into two individual degrees. Because of the generous cross-credits between the LLB and other degrees, students are able to complete two degrees in five years of study. Common combinations are the LLB with Bachelor of Criminal Justice (BCJ), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), LLB with Bachelor of Arts (BA) and LLB with Bachelor of Science (BSc).

Our students

About 25% of UC Law students are adults. Some have already completed a Bachelor's Degree but others are entering university study for the first time. Many students have entered university after completing high school. Just over 80% of LLB students are studying full time.

Postgraduate opportunities

Between 30 and 50 students are part of a UC Law postgraduate course. Postgraduate programmes offered include the Master of Laws (LLM), Master of Laws in International Law and Politics and the PhD. The LLM degrees are extremely flexible and can be taken by thesis or by following a course of study and research. Five to ten PhD students are working in the School of Law at any one time. Many postgraduate students come from overseas.

The University of Canterbury Faculty of Law, founded in 1873 in Christchurch, in the South Island of New Zealand, is well established as one of the leading research and teaching Law Schools in New Zealand.

Well-deserved reputation

With a long history of academic scholarship, the UC Faculty of Law enjoys a well-deserved reputation for excellence in teaching, high quality writing and research as well as for producing outstanding graduates. The Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree, which has been offered at the University of Canterbury since 1877, can be completed in four years.

Many of the textbooks used in the study of Law in New Zealand were written by the academic staff at the University of Canterbury Faculty of Law.

UC School of Law groups

The Law School is home to the following interdisciplinary groups:

UC School of Law journals

The University of Canterbury School of Law is home to the following journals:

External affiliations

Staff, students and alumni at the University of Canterbury School of Law have links with the following organisations:

Interested in studying Law at UC?