The University of Canterbury (UC) School of Law has over 140 years of experience in leading legal research and teaching. Building on this tradition, the internationally recognised school is on a mission to produce a new generation of highly employable, community-focused individuals who will make a difference to the world.

UC Law offers a ground-breaking programme of clinical legal education as part of the Bachelor of Laws (LLB).  You will engage with civil society, the legal profession, and the wider business community through internships and a student-run community advice service. UC is the only New Zealand university that offers the Bachelor of Criminal Justice (BCJ). This degree combines multidisciplinary academic study with a strong vocational focus, and presents graduates with unique job opportunities in the crime and justice sectors.


What subjects can I study?

Abbie and Sandra Prosecution

Abbie Hollingworth and Sandra Iskander completed internships with the Police Prosecution Service in Christchurch.

UC Law has a strong reputation in the traditional areas of law (such as Criminal, Constitutional and Contract Law), but also offers innovative courses in areas of emerging interest (such as Media Law, Law and Sport, Law and Medicine, Gender and the Law, or Antarctic Legal Studies).

UC Law students are taught how to think critically, analyse complex facts and issues and persuade by logical argument. You’ll gain a comprehensive grounding in working with statutes, cases and other legal materials, plus learn about law in its wider social, political and historical contexts.

Criminal Justice takes a 360-degree look at the whole criminal justice system and its processes. It builds on academic theories and research of crime and its causes, before assessing the criminal justice process itself, including the law, policies and institutions involved.

There are two compulsory courses for first-year law (LAWS 101 and LAWS 110). You can select your remaining courses from other areas. Many law students study towards a second degree, with arts, commerce and science the most popular. In the first year of the criminal justice degree there is one compulsory law course (LAWS 101) plus courses on criminal justice, human services, psychology and New Zealand society.


Real cases, real experiences

Kos Ballinger Privy Council

Rosie Kόs and Duncan Ballinger at the Privy Council in London, where they assisted the defence team in the Teina Pora appeal.

UC offers the complete legal experience, equipping you with practical skills honed within business and the community prior to graduation. With the largest Law internship paper of any New Zealand law school, UC Law offers you clinical and community work experience that can really give you the edge over other graduates. Previous internships have included work with the Police Prosecution Service and the Earthquake Commission (EQC), and internship placements with the UC Congress in Washington. Read about Rachael Harris and her internship experience.

UC Law students assist real people with real problems, and you’re encouraged to volunteer in the community and gain practical skills in the process. Our students enjoy the collegial atmosphere within the School, with LAWSOC (the Law Students’ Society) and the Māori Law Students Association, Te Pūtairiki, playing a big part in supporting you during your studies.


Putting law studies into practice

Winners of the Mahoney Cup for Law Mooting, Jennifer Smith and Jeremy Anson-Holland, 11.8.15

Jennifer Smith and James Anson-Holland won the Mahoney Cup on the 20th anniversary of the national family mooting competition.

Unique to UC Law is a focus on practical skills, through internships and community engagement, including volunteering with Community Law Canterbury or in the UC Clinical Legal Programme. Students are also encouraged to enter law competitions – mooting, client interviewing, negotiation and witness examination – and UC teams are highly competitive at national and international events. See how law student Michael Copeland is involved in Community Law in this YouTube video


Take the next step

Applications open in June for our 2017 College of Business and Law scholarships. If you’re considering studying at UC next year, check out our scholarships information and get your application in by 15 August 2016.

Whatever career you choose to explore, take every opportunity to be innovative, enterprising and challenge yourself! Come along to Open Day, book a campus tour or email our student advisors at: [email protected] or visit


For more info on studying Business and Law at University of Canterbury, click here.