Victoria University Of Wellington Law

Our world-class, capital city Faculty of Law offers a stimulating and supportive learning environment. Home to scholars of international standing and based in the nation’s vibrant legal and political heart, there is no better place to advance your knowledge of the law.

Law is one of the forces that keeps civilisation functioning. Society, culture, economy, family ties, international allegiances all exist within a legal framework.

As a Law student, you’ll not only examine legal texts, you’ll also examine the relationships between people, techniques, and principles.

Our Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) has a reputation for being challenging, competitive, and very satisfying. It will give you a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of law.

As a capital city law school, we offer opportunities to make connections and have experiences you won’t find anywhere else.

Study and careers

Learn about the different subject areas taught by the Faculty of Law, and find out how to apply to study here.

The study of law demands an excellent command of English, in-depth discussion and critical analysis. Students who want to study law enrol in a Bachelor of Laws degree.

The important subject areas of the law are: public law, commercial law, international law, common law and legal theory and procedure.

Public law is about the relationship between individuals and the state. Constitutional law, administrative law and criminal law are all aspects of public law.

Commercial law is about business and commerce, regulating, corporate contracts, employment, and the manufacture and sale of consumer goods.

International law governs interactions and relations between nations.

New Zealand’s legal system is derived from England’s and has two main components:

  • Common law—the body of law built up from individual court decisions, and
  • Statute law—law made by Parliament.

There is no single written constitution, rather a number of key documents, such as the Treaty of Waitangi and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, which make up the constitutional arrangements and impact on the law in a variety of ways.

The Law School teaches by the Socratic method. Students are questioned on their set readings during lectures.

Undergraduate study

The Faculty of Law offers a Bachelor of Laws and a Graduate Certificate in Law at undergraduate level.


There’s no better place to study Law than Victoria University of Wellington’s globally recognised law school, located in the legal and political heart of New Zealand.

Available subjects
  • Law UG/PG

Degree requirements

Find the requirements for the subject you are studying.

Your subject

     Select a subject…                  Law       

Bachelor of Laws (Honours)

The Bachelor of Laws (Honours) is an alternative programme for high achieving students, by invitation only.

Postgraduate study

The Faculty of Law offers a range of postgraduate qualifications, ranging from professional short courses to PhD programmes.

Postgraduate study at Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Law offers graduates and practising lawyers the opportunity to pursue advanced study, led by faculty members who are experts in their field. Because of our location in the capital city, experts from government, the public and private sector, and visiting academics add diversity and depth to our postgraduate programme.

Whether you study full time or part time, we want to make your study relevant, accessible and intellectually rewarding. Courses can be taken stand-alone or credited towards either a Master of Laws or a Graduate Certificate in Law and are open to Law graduates and non-Law graduates with relevant backgrounds.

The Faculty of Law offers a range of options for postgraduate study, as outlined in our postgraduate prospectus.


Postgraduate course timetable

Our postgraduate courses are offered over all three trimesters and in a range of formats that allow you to tailor your studies to fit your needs.

For more information visit the Postgraduate courses page.

Graduate Certificate in Law

The Graduate Certificate in Law (GCert Law) is a flexible programme that offers students an opportunity to study Law at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. The GCert Law is suitable for:

  • graduates who want to study in a particular area of interest at the undergraduate level
  • graduates with overseas qualifications who are seeking admission to practise law in New Zealand.

For more information visit the GCert Law page.

Master of Laws

The Master of Laws (LLM) is undertaken by coursework, dissertation and coursework or by thesis. The LLM is suitable for:

  • law graduates who want to research a legal topic of interest
  • law graduates interested in tailoring a programme of seminar courses to suit their needs.

For more information visit the LLM page.

Master of International Trade

Discover how the world is connected through trade with a Master of International Trade. Explore the cultural, economic, legal and political aspects and gain an understanding of the main principles of international trade.


The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Law is the highest level of qualification offered by the Law School. The PhD is suitable for:

  • candidates who want to undertake advanced and original research that involves 2–3 years of full-time study.

For more information visit the PhD page.

Law by research

If you’re thinking about studying a Master of Laws or PhD by research, find out more about what the Faculty of Law can offer you and your research project—see law by research. Or find out more about:

English language requirements for international postgraduate law students

The Director of Postgraduate Studies or the PhD Coordinator must be satisfied that an applicant’s level of English language competence is sufficient for postgraduate study. Applicants are required to meet one of the following:

  • IELTS overall band of 7, including a writing sub-score of 7 and no sub-score below 6.5 (or equivalent); or
  • TOEFL 100 on the internet-based test with a minimum of 25 in writing; or
  • A minimum of three ratings of ‘5’ for reading, writing and speaking and one rating of ‘4’ for listening from the Victoria University of Wellington English Proficiency Programme.


Law Faculty members provide supervision for thesis students on a wide range of subject areas at both PhD and Master’s levels. Check the academics within their subject areas.

Publishing opportunities

Postgraduate students have an opportunity to have their work published in the Victoria University of Wellington Law Review and the New Zealand Journal of Public and International Law.

Postgraduate life

Future and current postgraduate students will find useful links and information on University resources at the PostgradLife site.

Law library

The University’s Law library, which occupies the southern half of the Government Buildings, holds an extensive collection of primary and secondary sources for the study of New Zealand law. Other resources include statutes and reports from the major common law jurisdictions and some Pacific Island countries, as well as a substantial international law collection. The Library’s collection of 110,000 volumes includes 28,000 treatises. It also holds 55,000 New Zealand unreported judgments, dating from 1980.

Study rooms

The postgraduate law study rooms are located in the Old Government Buildings, with some in the Law Library.

Postgraduate profiles

Whether you are currently working in Wellington or are an international student, look at the profiles of current postgraduate law students and those who have recently completed their LLMs, to see the diversity of students and their reasons for studying at the Law School.

Postgraduate Students’ Association (PGSA) Representative

The PGSA representative advises the Academic Board, the Vice-Chancellor and the committees of the Academic Board on all aspects of the academic qualifications, academic programmes and research matters for which the Faculty of Law has responsibility. As your representative, they are happy to receive questions, hear concerns, and be your voice. More information on the current representative can be found on the PGSA website.

How to find out more

See Faculty Publications for postgraduate promotional material for the current academic year, and the LLB Honours and LLM Information Booklet.

Contact the Faculty’s Postgraduate Administrator

Phone: 04 463 6341
Email: [email protected]

Scholarships and support

We offer a variety of scholarships for law students—browse the scholarships database to find the one that’s right for you.Search scholarships 

Contact us

General enquiries

Email: [email protected]
Phone: +64 4 463 6366
Fax:+64 4 463 6365

Undergraduate enrolment enquiries

Email: [email protected]

Postgraduate enrolment enquiries

Email: [email protected]

Benefactor and alumni enquiries

Email: [email protected]

Media enquiries

Email: [email protected]


Faculty of Law
Victoria University of Wellington
Old Government Buildings
55 Lambton Quay
Wellington 6011