Supporting Independent Legal Thinking

The New Zealand Law Foundation – Te Manatū a Ture o Aotearoa – is an independent trust established in 1982 and is a registered charitable entity in terms of the Charities Act 2005.  We are registered with the Charities Commission under No. CC22185 in the Charities Register.

We provide grants for legal research, public education on legal matters and legal training.  We operate a  Legal Research and General Law Grants Programme, and run New Zealand’s premier legal scholarship programme.  We fulfil a unique role in New Zealand, being the only funder of independent legal research.  How to Apply.


Our Trust Deed objectives state we are to:

  • Provide opportunities for the acquisition and diffusion of legal knowledge and the consideration and suggestion of amendments to the law.
  • Carry out research in the science of jurisprudence in all its branches for the education and benefit of the public.
  • Disseminate knowledge gained by such research for the education of legal practitioners, students of law, and all other persons and organisations concerned with the application, administration, development or improvement of the law.
  • Protect and promote the interests of the public in relation to legal matters.

The Trust Deed also set out the purposes our grant funding can be applied towards.  Details of these purposes can be found in the appendix to our Guidelines for Applicants.

Our Fund

The Law Foundation fund originally came from a statutory entitlement but that ended in 2008.  Now our only income is the interest from the investment of our capital fund and from any donations or bequests received.  The Law Foundation is determined to fund worthy legal research projects that fit our objectives and if necessary we will dip into capital to do so.  This means that the more good work we do, despite careful stewardship, the harder it is to maintain our Fund.  We are always looking for ways to extend the life of our Fund through joint venture funding so we can continue our good work for New Zealanders and New Zealand’s legal community.   Contact Executive Director, Lynda Hagen to discuss how you can support our work through partnerships, or make a donation.



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