News Item

November 2016

2016 Winners of the Foundation's Annual Awards Announced

Winners of the 2016 awards were announced at the Law Foundation’s Annual Awards dinner held at Te Papa on Tuesday 29th November.

2016 NZ Law Foundation International Research Fellowship – Te Karahipi Rangahau ? Taiao

Michael Cameron, Lead Legislation Solicitor with the Department of Corrections, was awarded the 2016 New Zealand Law Foundation International Research Fellowship at the Foundation’s Annual Awards Dinner held at Te Papa last night.

Photo of 2016 winner of the Law Foundations International Research Fellowship being presented with his award by Sir Bruce Robertson

Realising the Potential of Autonomous Vehicles in New Zealand is the title of Mr Cameron’s research. This work will see him undertake research into the options for reforming the law to facilitate the safe and successful deployment of autonomous vehicles in New Zealand.

The project will envisage the ideal scenarios for autonomous vehicle use in New Zealand, and investigate the ways current law may encourage or hinder this. This will lead to identifying how the laws could be amended to encourage excellent outcomes.

Mr Cameron plans to complete and publish his research in early 2018.

More about Michael and his research

The New Zealand Law Foundation’s International Research Fellowship, Te Karahipi Rangahau ? Taiao, is New Zealand’s premier legal research award, valued at up to $125,000 each year.


NZLF Doctoral Scholarship (in Law)

Photo of Kesia Sherwood recipient of a 2016 Law Foundation Doctoral Scholarship

Kesia Sherwood has won a New Zealand Law Foundation Doctoral Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to a doctoral candidate carrying out research in a defined area of law for the benefit of New Zealand and its legal system.

Ms Sherwood is studying toward a PhD with the University of Otago, after gaining an LLB with first class honours at Otago in 2015. She is undertaking research to establish the significance of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) on youth offending – as distinct from offenders with intellectual disabilities.

The inability of young people with FASD to learn from their mistakes and recognise cause and effect means they are highly likely to be recidivist offenders. Ms Sherwood intends to identify gaps in our current legislative, diagnostic and policy initiatives by analysing the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003 (IDCCR) and assessing international precedent.

Ms Sherwood anticipates completing her 3-year research project by March 2019. She plans to disseminate her findings in a series of published articles.


NZLF Cleary Memorial Prize

Joint winners of this year’s New Zealand Law Foundation Cleary Memorial Prize are Auckland lawyer Johanna McDavitt, and Joshua Pemberton who is studying for an LLM at Harvard University.
Johanna McDavitt

Photo of Johanna McDavitt 2016 winner of the Law Foundations Cleary Memorial Prize

Ms McDavitt is a solicitor in the competition and regulatory team at Simpson Grierson in Auckland, and plans to study towards an LLM in the United States next year.

She aims to explore the New Zealand government’s decision not to criminalise anti-competitive cartel conduct. Her research will look at whether cartel conduct should be punishable by criminal sanction or whether the current civil penalty regime is effective at deterring cartel conduct.

Ms McDavitt is a member of Simpson Grierson’s Pride Network, and was part of the group responsible for the firm becoming New Zealand’s first Rainbow Tick certified business. She has also begun an informal network of young woman lawyers in Auckland who aim to do something about the systemic and unconscious biases that get in the way of women in the legal profession.

She is a leader of JustSpeak, a national network of young people speaking up and speaking out for better criminal justice policy in Aotearoa New Zealand. Ms McDavitt wants to be an advocate for those who otherwise have no voice ? not just at an individual level, as lawyer for criminal defendants, but at a systemic level, advocating for changes that will create a more ‘just’ Aotearoa.


Joshua Pemberton

Photo of Joshua Pemberton 2016 winner of the Law Foundations Cleary Memorial Prize

Mr Pemberton was a clerk for Justice William Young from February 2015 to January this year. Before starting at Harvard, he undertook voluntary work in Myanmar with Justice Base, an international trust, on a project to improve public access to courts.

Mr Pemberton authored the acclaimed research report entitled First Steps: The Experiences and Retention of New Zealand’s Junior Lawyers. This was funded by the New Zealand Law Foundation and published in LawTalk 891 (1 July 2016).

When he left Nelson College, where he was dux, he had no intention of being a lawyer. Physics and mathematics were to the fore when he began university study, but he took a first year law paper “out of curiosity”. He “quickly connected with law” and realised that it would give him tools to engage in issues he was interested in and also prepare him for people-oriented work.

Mr Pemberton studied at Otago University, graduating LLB (first class honours) and BA in Economics, Politics and Philosophy.

After graduating [LLM] he hopes to combine a career at the New Zealand bar – preferably focusing on public and administration law – with part-time teaching and research work.

The New Zealand Law Foundation awards $5,000 annually for the Clearly Memorial Prize. This is given to a young barrister or solicitor who shows outstanding future promise in the legal profession.