Practical learning experiences

Students in Law Moot Court

Our students develop essential professional skills, experience and networks by getting involved in practical learning experiences and community engagement on and off campus. Find out more about our innovative teaching and learning initiatives and the opportunities to get involved. 

Internships and harassment (PDF 60KB)

New Zealand Police Prosecution Service (PPS) Internship

In conjunction with the University of Canterbury’s Faculty of Law, the New Zealand Police are delighted to offer two internships for the summer period. These internships are exclusively available to current UC Law students. Successful applicants are expected to enrol in and complete LAWS 382 Legal Internship.

Please note: These internships are voluntary - THEY ARE NOT PAID.


Interns will undertake a wide variety of duties. They will receive training on the operation of the New Zealand Police and the Police Prosecution Service. This opportunity will be of interest to those interested in pursuing a career with the police or within the justice system.


Each internship will be for a three-week period. There is some flexibility as to start and finishing dates – for example between the general timeframe of mid November - mid December. The second internship will fall between the general timeframe of mid January - early February.

Find out more

Find out more on LAWS382 Course Information page.

New Zealand - United States Congressional Internship Programme

These summer internships are based in the US Congress, Washington DC, in the USA.

Proposed dates 

November  –  January 

Students travel to the United States mid November  and to return early February (dates to be confirmed). Dates are subject to variation given the specific nature of each intern’s placement.

Students may travel within the US after their internship and are in fact encouraged to do so, but are expected to return to New Zealand after the internship.

Internship placement

Students are placed within the United States Congress at the discretion of the Members of Congress. They are likely to be placed with individual congress members, but students' interests or skill sets may lead to placements within specialised committees or other such divisions of Congress. 

Role and responsibility

The role of Congressional Intern is a familiar one in the United States and is a common path for United States College students seeking experience in the US political system. Individual job descriptions will be made available from the Congressional offices hosting interns.

Interns may be expected to meet with embassy, Council, Caucus or other Congressional staff after arriving in Washington DC before the formal commencement of the internship programme, and are expected to act as cultural and professional representatives for both New Zealand and the University of Canterbury.

Find out more

Find out more on LAWS373 Course Information page.

Community Law Canterbury

Community Law Canterbury is a free legal information service operated by volunteer solicitors, senior law students and graduates, under the supervision of a solicitor.

UC Law students in their third year and above can get involved in providing legal information to members of the community confronted with real-life legal issues.

Benefits of volunteering

  • Develop professional and interpersonal skills
  • Enrich your learning by applying it to real-life cases
  • Gain confidence and experience working with clients
  • Improve your communication, practical legal interview, and notetaking skills
  • Connect with and build networks with experienced solicitors
  • Comprehensive training provided

Most student volunteers start as General Advice Service caseworkers, and provide advice to clients (under supervision). It is also possible to work in a specialist area of the law.


The General Advice Service recruits in March and November.

Find out more 

UC Law Clinic

The UC Law Clinic, in association with Community Law Canterbury (CLC), offers a free on-campus legal advice service to students and staff of the University (and their families) on any topic. Student volunteers can get involved in this initiative to enhance their skills and learning. Email Professor Robin Palmer for more information.

Work-ready graduates

Our student-focused teaching helps students develop the skills they need for a seamless transition to professional life.

Providing opportunites to use and develop crucial legal skills - oral and presentation skills, concise and accurate written communication, teamwork, adaptability and quick thinking - sets UC law students up for their future careers.

The Faculty of Law's groundbreaking research in curriculum design and teaching methodology has led to substantial and ongoing changes to our course delivery.

Research-based innovation

Our longitudinal study has collected rich data about student aspirations, expectations and satisfaction in their law degrees that has prompted changes in the way our staff teach.

It has led to creative course delivery and assessment in many of our courses.

Creative course delivery

  • Using real case files as forms of assessment
  • Online and pub quizzes for revision
  • Online forums for student discussion and preparation

New forms of assessment

  • Posting legal outputs on international blogs or Wikipedia
  • Oral skills assessments
  • Simulated real-time group exercises
  • Grand debates
  • Haiku wiki

Learning snapshot

Media madness

The Media Law breaking-news simulation exercise is unique in New Zealand law schools. Students are assigned randomly to become members of two or three-person law firms and advise a journalist client over a two-hour period on a breaking story in which the facts were based on a real news event. The clients are senior journalism students close to graduation and already writing stories for publication in the media – as close to the real thing as they could be!

Law students identify specific issues and give advice under pressure of time and pressure from the journalists who wanted to publish as much information as possible.

'Blown away'

Course convener Ursula Cheer developed the exercise. "I was blown away to see my students laugh, shout and share cell phones, laptops and textbooks, while sitting cross-legged on the ground outside, inside or wherever suited them during the exercise while I literally became invisible to them.

"Afterwards they presented me with serious and carefully drafted group opinions and then let rip with mighty praise and suggestions for improvement in individual reflections which in turn engaged and challenged me," she said.

Student feedback

Her students also rated the exercise highly. One student from her 2016 cohort reported that it "was the best, most enjoyable and most relatable to the real world exercise I have ever participated in at university. The two hours flew by and I was left feeling accelerated and with a great sense of achievement! The exercise was able to test our adaptability, quick thinking and teamwork skills in a way no assessment I have ever done, has been able to do."

UC's active Law-based student clubs organise events and activities throughout the year. Find out about upcoming events on their webpages.