Law Foundation Scholarships

Six awards of scholarships, prizes and fellowships are presented annually to outstanding legal scholars who show considerable potential to improve the New Zealand legal system through their work.

Awards have been made to established legal academics and legal professionals, young barristers and solicitors, post-graduate and doctoral students, and distinguished international legal experts. The scholarship programme provides opportunities for individuals of proven ability to undertake advanced research and study. It also supports the sharing of expert legal knowledge. Our new Shadow Report Award has been introduced to assist NGO’s or individuals interested in human rights issues.

About our six Awards:

Each award has a different closing date and its own application process.

International Research Fellowship

Te Karahipi Rangahau ā Taiao

This is New Zealand’s premier legal research award. Valued at up to $125,000, this fellowship is awarded annually to enable an individual of outstanding ability to undertake legal research that will make a significant contribution to New Zealand.

Applications close at 5pm on 1st September each year.

How to apply Previous recipients
Photo of 2015 NZLF International Research Fellow Neil Boister

2015 Recipient Neil Boister

Doctoral Scholarship

The New Zealand Law Foundation Doctoral Scholarship aims to encourage postgraduate study and research in law in New Zealand. The inaugural award of this scholarship was made in 2011.  The scholarship has been reviewed and from 2016 is now available again under different terms of reference.

Applications are accepted twice a year.  Applications close at 5pm on 28 February and 5pm on 31 August each year.

How to apply Previous recipients
Photo of 2011 NZLF Doctoral Scholarship winner Bridgette Toy-Cronin

2011 Recipient Bridgette Toy- Cronin

Ethel Benjamin Scholarship

This scholarship honours Ethel Benjamin, New Zealand’s first woman barrister and solicitor, who was admitted to the bar in 1897. It is awarded annually to outstanding New Zealand women law graduates to assist with their post-graduate study, and is valued at up to $50,000 each year.

Applications close on 1st March each year.

How to apply Previous recipients
Photo of 2016 Ethel Benjamin Scholarship joint winner Bree Huntley
2016 Recipient Bree Huntley

Photo of 2016 Ethel Benjamin Scholarship joint winner Bree Huntley

2016 Recipient Holly Hedley

Cleary Memorial Prize

The Cleary Memorial Prize is awarded in memory of Sir Timothy Cleary, past President of both the Wellington District and New Zealand Law Societies and a Judge of the Court of Appeal. This prize, worth $5,000, is awarded annually to a young barrister or solicitor who shows the most future promise in the legal profession.

Applications close 5pm 30th September each year.

How to apply Previous Recipients
Photo of Ashiq Hamid 2015 Cleary Memorial Prize joint winner
2015 Recipient Ashiq Hamid

Photo of Alexandra Sinclair 2015 Cleary Memorial Prize joint winner

2015 Recipient Alexandra Sinclair

Distinguished Visiting Fellowship

This fellowship enables law schools to take turns at hosting a distinguished international scholar of their choice, for up to two months each year.

Selection is by invitation from the law school hosting the Distinguished Visiting Fellow, in conjunction with the Law Foundation.

Previous Distinguished Visiting Fellows
More about the Fellowship and the 2014 Distinguished Visiting Fellow
Photo of 2016 NZLF Distinguished Visiting Fellow Professor Graham Virgo

2016 Recipient Professor Graham Virgo

Shadow Report Award

This new award focuses on human rights issues. It supports a person or body to prepare shadow reports and/or attend the presentation of these reports to the United Nations monitoring bodies for human rights treaties. It is valued at $10,000, annually.

Applications close 5pm 1st August each year.
2012 was the first year this Award was offered.

How to applyPrevious Recipients
Acclaim Otago Inc.

2013 Recipient Acclaim Otago


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