New Zealand is a country renowned for many things. Currently, it is at the forefront of education and civil rights. The country takes great pride in its system of higher education, as an abundance of its universities have been internationally acclaimed and offer ample research opportunities.

It is precisely because of this that New Zealand has numerous international programs and welcomes students from all around the globe every year. One of its leading academic fields is the study of law. Due to its preoccupation with improving the legal system, New Zealand puts great efforts into educating lawyers who will be able to address current issues such as the climate crisis and minatory and women’s rights. This article takes a closer look at the five best universities for the study of law in New Zealand.

Top Law Schools in New Zealand

1. University of Auckland

The University of Auckland is the most comprehensive institution for higher education and is recognized as a leading law university in New Zealand. It was established in 1883, as a constituent college of the University of New Zealand. Over almost a century and a half later, the University of Auckland has grown into the largest research center in the country with five campuses and a student body numbering around 40,000 students. Furthermore, today the university is comprised of eight faculties and three associated research institutions which are situated around the city of Auckland. The university is committed to promoting equality and equity within its academic community, as it believes these values will lead students to appreciate diverging perspectives and engage in ethical and responsible partnerships throughout their respective careers.

With regards to the Auckland Law School, this faculty has been ranked as the most prestigious place to study law in New Zealand. It is well-known not only for its academic reputation but also for its research impact and employer reputation. The faculty argues that its excellence is the result of its staff, resources, and students. Through legal education, research, and engagement the faculty aims to improve access to justice to all members of the community.

2. Victoria University of Wellington

The Victoria University of Wellington was originally established in 1897, as a constituent college at the University of New Zealand. Currently, the university is considered to be one of the oldest and most prestigious research institutions and a top-ranking university for law in New Zealand. It encompasses three campuses and many other research centers that are spread over the city of Wellington. The Victoria University of Wellington defines itself as a global civic university, meaning its core values are strongly connected to the improvement and well-being of the social, cultural, and economic aspects of its city and community.

The university’s Faculty of Law is situated in the Old Government Building, originally intended to house ministers and civil servants in the 19th century. Due to its location in the legal heart of the capital, the faculty is in a privileged position to guide and encourage legal debate, action, and reform. Throughout their education, students are taught to contextualize legal issues, principles, and concepts. In this way, they acquire not only theoretical knowledge but also practical tools to discern the importance of certain issues and suggest meaningful and sustainable reform.

3. University of Otago

Located in Dunedin, New Zealand, the University of Otago is a highly acclaimed public research institution. Having welcomed its first students in July of 1871, the University of Otago is considered as one of the best institutions for law in New Zealand. In addition to its academic standing, the university is also famous for its vibrant and diverse student life. Another notable aspect of the university is its student magazine Critic, which is New Zealand’s oldest running student magazine.

Welcoming its first students in 1873, the Faculty of Law is the oldest discipline at the University of Otago. From its founding, the faculty has remained at the forefront of legal education and has had many prominent alumni throughout the years. Legal research conducted at the Faculty of Law has a strong international character and is oftentimes done in connection with other top-tier universities. Because of its international ties, law students have many chances to start their legal careers in law firms around the world.

4. University of Canterbury

Located in the city of Christchurch, the University of Canterbury is the second oldest institution for higher education and an excellent law university in New Zealand. It was founded in 1873, as Canterbury College and has managed to develop into one of the most renowned research centers in both the country and abroad. The university is ranked among the ten best universities in the world because of its Engineering and Science programs. In addition to them, the University of Canterbury also offers a wide array of other programs in the field of both natural and social sciences. The university’s educational philosophy is both research-based and research-led. In other words, all faculty members aim to incorporate the latest and most influential findings into their respective fields.

The Canterbury Faculty of Law strives to provide both academic excellence and essential legal skills for a student on all academic levels. The curriculum is based on core subjects crucial to understanding the inner workings of the law. However, the faculty also strives to incorporate subjects that may be relevant in today’s legal system, such as the law in connection to medicine, sport, and Antarctica. A unique opportunity is offered by the Criminal Justice qualification as well. Namely, students may go on to become exemplary members of law enforcement and border control.

5. University of Waikato

The University of Waikato is a comprehensive research center situated in the city of Hamilton. It is comprised of faculties and schools which may be grouped into five academic departments. Although its main campus was established in Hamilton in 1964, the university also has an additional campus located in the coastal city of Tauranga. The University of Waikato describes itself as a global institution that aims to provide research-based initiatives in both natural and social sciences.

The University of Waikato’s Faculty of Law is one of the best law schools in New Zealand and is highly ranked on both the national and international levels. The faculty is comprised of some of the most prominent and renowned legal figures both at home and abroad. Its diverse faculty is responsible for offering students unique perspectives and experiences which will help them comprehend the letter of the law. In addition to its international character, the faculty of law was built on three core principles: professionalism, biculturalism, and the study of law in context. In line with these values, the curriculum aims to provide students with a distinctive skill set that will help them excel in their legal careers.


We hope that this article on Best Law Universities in New Zealand was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Law Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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