On the 7th August Canterbury University Law School will host a gathering of New Zealand’s rising research scholars. The New and Emerging Scholars Symposium, in its second year, brings together junior academics from each six of New Zealand’s law schools. Each law school is also sending at least one more experienced academic, in most cases, the Dean.
A proactive initiative nurturing leadership
The convener of this year’s symposium Dr Rhonda Powell (lecturer, Canterbury University) presented at the first one last year. She says the experience is particularly valuable, bringing together people working at similar levels in allied fields thus encouraging collaboration and the possibility of “sparking off each other”. It is a proactive initiative to nurture those who may become our future legal leaders. The symposium is designed to be inclusive of all new (and established) academics who wish to participate.
After the last session the University of Canterbury is hosting a reception for further opportunity to meet and mingle.
The five confirmed presenters are:
Dr Maria Hook, University of Otago, Topic: “Statutes and subject-matter jurisdiction in the conflict of laws”
Steve MacBeth, University of Waikato, Topic: “The Application of the “Best Interests” Principle to Maori Children’s Collective Cultural Rights: A Conceptual Shift for the New Zealand Family Court?” (Click the link for more information about Steve and to read an abstract of his topic.)
Eddie Clark, Victoria University of Wellington, Topic: “Possible scope for expanding the administrative law duty to consult in New Zealand”
The symposium – the story so far
Ian McIntosh, Thomson Reuters NZ, Commercial Manager – Product Development (BA/LLB (Hons) LLM (Hons) AAMINZ) was the initial driving force behind the event.
Inspiration from the 50th anniversary of the New Zealand Universities Law Review
He got the idea of setting up the New and Emerging Scholars Symposium in 2013 as a result of attending the 50th anniversary celebration of the New Zealand Universities Law Review. That celebration, he says, afforded an opportunity for a number of more junior scholars from each of New Zealand’s Law Faculties to speak about themselves, their research interests, to meet academics at similar points in their careers and to mingle with their more senior colleagues from other faculties. It was, he says, an enjoyable and stimulating day of collegial discussion.
The first symposium
Many of those who had spoken at the celebration observed that it had given them a rare opportunity to meet their colleagues and to find out about their research interests. This response led Ian to propose to the Deans of each of the Law Facilities that a Symposium should be developed that allowed junior academics to meet regularly to speak to each other about their research projects, to get to know each other and to forge mutually supportive and collaborative cohorts. Thomson Reuters undertook to pay the costs of a scholar from each of the Law Faculties to travel to the venue where the Symposium would be hosted. The Deans supported the idea and the first Symposium was held in November 2014 at Auckland University’s Law Faculty.
Reception and support leads to development
Although it was a small event (five new and emerging scholars gave presentations to each other and a number of the Deans of Law about their research interests) Ian says, it was well received by those who attended and it highlighted the value of giving an opportunity for junior academics in New Zealand’s law schools to get to know one another and to engage in each other’s research.
This response led him to suggest to the Deans that another Symposium be held in 2015. The Deans all supported the idea and Chris Gallavin the Dean of Canterbury University Law School offered to host a larger New and Emerging Scholars Symposium at Canterbury University in 2015.
This year’s scholars will be sponsored by Thomson Reuters, the Law Faculties (from Waikato, Auckland, Otago, Canterbury, Victoria and AUT), and the NZULR. Ian hopes that it marks the beginning of a regular event designed to foster collaborative scholarship amongst the junior staff of New Zealand’s Law Faculties.
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