As a Law student, you will learn how to think critically, analyse complex facts and issues, and persuade by logical argument. You will gain a comprehensive grounding in working with statutes, cases and other legal materials. You will understand about the law in its wider social, political and historical contexts.
Why study Law at UC?
UC's School of Law is the internationally recognised, professionally relevant, community-focused Law School in New Zealand. UC ranks in the top 150 universities in the world for Law (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2017). We have been producing outstanding legal graduates for over 140 years.
The School's lecturers are respected internationally, write important textbooks and act as public commentators on the law. Many Law teachers maintain close contact with the legal profession and local professionals contribute to the School of Law's curriculum. International visitors to the School provide specialist courses on a regular basis and students are able to attend guest lectures by Supreme Court Judges.
The Law School environment
The School of Law is housed in a modern building with purpose-built tutorial and lecture rooms, and a specially designed Moot Court room, which is regularly used for client interviewing, witness examination, mooting and negotiation competitions.
Law students enjoy the collegial atmosphere within the School, where they get to know each other and the staff well. LAWSOC, the Law Students' Society, has over 800 members and is very active, organising academic support, social activities, a range of competitions and other events eg, the Law Revue, the Law Ball and the Leavers' Dinner. The Māori Law Students' Association, Te Pūtairiki, provides a supportive environment, fostering academic excellence among Māori Law students and organising cultural and social events.
Community and international partnerships
- There are numerous scholarships and prizes, and overseas exchange opportunities including an internship to the United States Congress.
- Law firms and other employers come to the School each year to recruit summer clerks and graduates.
- The School of Law has a direct link to Community Law Canterbury giving students the opportunity to assist real people with real problems.
- Many Law students choose to become active in groups like Women's Refuge or Amnesty International.
- The Director of Clinical Legal Studies at UC supervises internships and community placement opportunities for UC Law students, making sure students are work-ready when they graduate.
The study of Law does not require a background in any specific subject at school and entry to the first year of the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) is open to all students with University Entrance.
You will need to have good reading, writing and analytical skills. Subjects such as English, drama, economics, te reo Māori, languages, history and classical studies are useful preparation.
In the first year of the Bachelor of Laws you must complete:
- LAWS101 Legal System: Legal Method and Institutions
- LAWS110 Legal Foundations, Research and Writing
- And 75 points of courses from other UC degrees. CRJU 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice may be included in these. Refer to the Bachelor of Laws page for more information.
This freedom of choice in first-year Law allows students to try various subjects before making a final decision about the degree or degrees they intend to complete. Students intending to complete a double degree will choose non-Law courses needed for progression in their other degree.
200-level and beyond
Good grades (normally at least a B) in LAWS101 and LAWS110 are necessary to advance into second-year Law. Refer to the Bachelor of Laws page for details of second-year study.
Diversity and flexibility characterise third and fourth-year Law. There is an array of optional courses, which cover a broad range of areas including:
- commercial law
- family law
- media law
- international law
- human rights law
- law and medicine
- property and environmental law.
Students may also take other highly specialised courses, such as law and sport, trade law, trial advocacy, gender and the law, and law of the sea.
See the Bachelor of Laws page for details of the Bachelor of Laws Honours option for good students.
Law graduates wishing to seek admission as Barristers and Solicitors of the High Court of New Zealand are required to undertake a Professional Legal Studies course following completion of their LLB. This is administered by institutions which are independent of the universities.
Law degrees are popular because of the value placed on core legal skills and the career opportunities available to graduates. UC Law graduates can be found among the judiciary and at all levels of the legal profession, across New Zealand and the world.
Employers are increasingly seeking work-ready graduates. Law students at Canterbury have the opportunity to participate in a variety of internships and community placements which will satisfy this requirement.
UC graduates can become a practice solicitor, in-house lawyer or a self-employed barrister. Recent UC graduates also found roles as research counsel, judge’s clerk, policy analyst and Māori development advisor.
Legal skills of research, writing, analysis and reasoning are highly prized in many professions such as politics, policy, public service, foreign affairs, journalism, publishing, immigration and business.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Law.
Business and Law building - see campus maps
College of Business and Law | Te Rāngai Umanga me te Ture
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800