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LEAD People

10 January 2024

The Institute of Law, Emergencies and Disasters (LEAD) brings together a cluster of multi-disciplinary researchers based at UC's Kaupeka Ture l Faculty of Law who work on all aspects of law, governance, and disasters. Meet our LEAD people.


LEAD People:

Professor W. John Hopkins (Director)

John is a Professor of Public Law who specialises in Law and Disasters. His work focusses particularly on Recovery Governance and International Disaster Response Law. He is a co-leader of QuakeCoRE Disciplinary Theme DT3 – Law, Planning, Economics with QuakeCoRE (the New Zealand Centre for Seismic Resilience) and leads the Regulating for Resilience Project under Flagship 3. He recently co-led the IFRC project developing a Disaster Law database for the Pacific and has undertaken work for BRANZ and the European Union amongst others on various aspects of law and disasters. He is currently the Pacific Editor for the Yearbook of International Disaster Law (Brill).

Dr Toni Collins (Deputy Director)

Toni is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Canterbury whose research focuses on law and disasters. She is an Associate Researcher with QuakeCoRE(the New Zealand Centre for Seismic Resilience) on a Flagship programme examining the resilience of Wellington’s built area in a large earthquake. She has examined the law on cordons in emergency and non-emergency situations and is currently looking at the impact of the recent Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 on building owners and tenants in relation to earthquake-prone buildings and those that are vulnerable to earthquakes. The other current project is a collaboration with two authors looking at dispute resolution processes in emergencies and learnings from the Canterbury earthquakes. Toni’s interest in disaster law research stems from her work on her PhD completed in 2016, which looked at how commercial landlords and tenants were affected by the cordon around the central business district of Christchurch as a consequence of the Canterbury earthquakes when their leases did not cover inaccessible buildings and neither did the law.

Associate Professor Natalie Baird

Natalie is currently an Associate Professor of Law and the Co-Director of the LLM (International Law and Politics) at the University of Canterbury. Natalie’s research interests include international human rights, refugee law and Pacific legal studies. With regard to disaster law, Natalie is focused particularly on human rights and natural disasters. Recent work includes the human rights impacts of the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes, remedies for human rights breaches in the disaster context, and the use of the concept of ‘vulnerability’ in international human rights and disaster law.

Professor Annick Masselot

Annick is a Professor of Law and the current director of the postgraduate PhD and LLM (Thesis) at the University of Canterbury. Annick’s primary area of interest lies in employment law and gender equality. In particular, Annick is interested in the gender mainstreaming of Disaster Risks Management (DRM) and is actively working on gendered impacted of man-made disasters, such as Brexit and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

Dr James Mehigan

James is a senior lecturer of law and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He is primarily interested in the criminal justice perspective of disasters, including liability and State accountability for harms they cause from disasters. James is also interested in international human rights law and its intersection with aspects of criminal justice in society. He is currently co-authoring a book relating to the criminal justice responses to the 2019 Christchurch Mosque shootings, due to be published in 2021.

Dr Sascha Mueller

Sascha is a senior law lecturer at the University of Canterbury, where he recently completed his PhD. Sascha is interested in constitutional and comparative law, with a current research focus on legislative and extra-legislative responses to natural disasters. Previously, Sascha has researched powers in New Zealand related to emergencies and the passing of urgent legislation.

Professor Thomas Wilson

Tom is a Professor in Disaster Risk and Resilience at the University of Canterbury. His research interest lies in risk assessment and community resilience to natural hazards, with a special focus on volcanic eruptions. Tom has extensive involvement with disaster management, including membership of the Geological Society of America (GSA), Geoscience Society of New Zealand (GSNZ), as well as Research Associate at the Joint Centre for Disaster Research. 

Dr Sarah Beaven

Sarah is a Senior Lecturer in the College of Science at the University of Canterbury. Her research is focused on disaster risk and resilience, including in response and recovery contexts. Sarah is particularly interested in collaborative governance aspects of disaster risk management and how cross-sector coordination can be enhanced while decreasing ethical risks to communities impacted by hazards. 

Finau Heuifanga Leveni (Associate Member)

Finau is a disaster law consultant with extensive research and practical experience. As the Asia Pacific Disaster Law Coordinator, IFRC Bangkok, she has also had a significant impact upon the development of IDRL frameworks in the Pacific and with her prevoius role as Pacific Portfolio Manager at the CDHB, offers a health-based knowledge of the discipline. She also served in the public sector as a former senior diplomat for the Tongan government.

Holly Faulkner

Holly has a Masters in International Law and Politics at the University of Canterbury. She is studying towards a PhD in Disaster, Risk & Resilience. After graduating with both a Law and Arts degree, Holly has been involved in several disaster law projects including an IFRC project that mapped the disaster laws of Pacific nations. In 2019, Holly received a research grant from QuakeCoRE to investigate the 2019 rescEU mechanism and its relationship to supranationalism. Holly continues to assist Dr W. John Hopkins and Dr Toni Collins with their Regulation for Resilience project.

Sulaiman Sarwary

Sulaiman has completed his undergraduate (BA/LLB) and LLM at the University of Canterbury. He also has a MBA from Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales. Currently, he is doing his PhD at UC and is interested in exploring how the legal and institutional framework for Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in New Zealand can sustainably enhance community resilience - in the face of disaster risks - before the onset of disaster events.

Between 2012 and 2020, Sulaiman worked in leadership positions with international NGOs in Afghanistan, the United Kingdom and Indonesia, to help deliver development and humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities on Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change Adaptation, Urban Resilience, emergency response and recovery.

Recently, Sulaiman has assisted Professor W. John Hopkins on a QuakeCoRE project that critiques New Zealand's DRM framework, with a focus on Managed Isolation and Qaurantine Facilities (MIQF).

Dr Ibnu Sitompul

Ibnu has a PhD in International Law from the University of Canterbury. He completed his Bachelor's degree from Universitas Katolik Parahyangan in Indonesia and his Master's degree from Victoria University in Australia. His research interests include international law, environmental law, law on climate change, forest and biodiversity law and disaster law. Ibnu has been involved in a number of research projects at the University of Canterbury and is currently working with Professor W. John Hopkins on a project involving an international regulatory framework relating to the cross-border movement of biological organisms under the University of Canterbury Biosecurity Innovations.

Read Ibnu's student story here.

Dr Adrienne Paul

Adrienne is a Senior Law Lecturer at Kaupeka Ture l Faculty of Law, University of Canterbury. She recently completed her PhD in International Environmental Law relative to the MV Rena oil disaster. Adrienne’s primary area of interest lies in environmental law, land law, Māori land law. In particular, Adrienne is interested in exploring and analysing disaster law relative to Indigenous Peoples and potential solutions through implementing tools/models to empower collaborative cross-sector coordination.

Alex Davis

Alex is a PhD student in Te Kaupeka Ture / Faculty of Law at the University of Canterbury, looking at how states can use domestic law to manage the risk of private space activities causing damage. Alex is particularly interested in liability and responsibility in the context of disasters. She has been involved in several projects, including the IFRCs disaster law case database  

Laura Johnstone

Laura has a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Laws, and a Master of Criminal Justice (Distinction) from the University of Canterbury. She is currently working on a PhD in Criminal Justice, and her research expertise is in prisons, the punishment of criminal offending, and criminal justice systems. Laura developed an interest in the management of disasters while working as a lawyer for the Earthquake Commission. She is currently working on a research project with Professor James Mehigan, which explores the role of the New Zealand Police in the aftermath of the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence. 

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