Gain the skills and knowledge to become in high demand for a wide range of careers.
Pathways available from Undergraduate study
Completing a law degree is the first step to qualifying as a lawyer in New Zealand.
There are various types of law degrees available depending on the university. A Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or Bachelor of Laws with Honours (LLB (Hons)) is undertaken at the undergraduate level. Students often undertake conjoint or double degrees for example Commerce/Law or Arts/Law. The LLB on its own usually takes four years of full-time study.
Your university law course will provide the foundation of knowledge you will need to understand the discipline.
Qualifying for the LLB programme
Every law school has different criteria for admission into the LLB in the Bachelor of Laws, you need to have gained University Entrance as well as satisfy additional requirements for entry to Law.
Paying for undergraduate study
What study costs and how to fund it
Scholarships, grants and awards
Guide for students
New Zealand Law Schools
The University of Auckland:
LLB Part I
For first-year Law, you will apply for:
- The Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Part
- Another degree programme for your non-Law courses
If you have gained the University Entrance Standard and are admitted to another programme at this University you will be admitted to the LLB Part I.
If you are a graduate, or already enrolled in another University of Auckland programme, you will be admitted to LLB Part I.
Admission to a conjoint programme with Law requires a higher entry standard.
For information about the guaranteed entry scores and additional subject requirements, please refer to www.auckland.ac.nz/admission
Students usually take LAW 121G (Law and Society) in Semester One. If you gain a B– or better in LAW 121G (or C+ for students applying under UTAS) you can progress to LAW 131 (Legal Method) and LAW 141 (Legal Foundations) in Semester Two.
LLB Part II
Places in LLB Part II are limited, and all applicants must go through a selection process. There is also an enrolment limit on each of the LLB Part II courses. This allocation includes returning Part II students.
To be considered for selection into LLB Part II, applicants need to have:
- Passed LAW 121G with at least a B– (C+ for UTAS students)
- Passed LAW 131 and LAW 141 with at least a C+ in each of these courses
- Gained at least 75 points (or the equivalent) of non-Law university degree courses
- Passed at least eight courses (120 points) with an overall average LawGPA* of 3.00(C+)
Entry into LLB Part II for 2021 will be calculated on the basis of your LawGPA. This is a specially calculated (non-standard) GPA which is used for the purpose of admission to LLB Part II. It includes grades from both your law and non-law courses, as follows:
- LAW 121G
- LAW 131 – double weighted
- LAW 141 – double weighted
- Most recent, best 75 points from non-law courses
The Selection Committee meets in late December.
If you have repeated LAW 121G, LAW 131, LAW 141 or all three courses to improve your grade, the best grade you have received for these three courses will be factored into the calculation of the LawGPA. The other grades you have received for the three law courses in LLB Part I will be disregarded.
For 2021 students with a Law GPA of 6.5 or higher (equivalent to a grade midway between A- and B+) will be guaranteed entry into LLB Part II. Students with a Law GPA less than 6.5 will still be considered for selection .
Please note: There is no direct entry from secondary school into LLB Part II. You must first enrol in another university degree programme and also complete all LLB Part I pre-requisite courses. Not all students who complete Part I will be able to continue on to LLB Part II. Admission to Part II is limited and competitive. You will be selected on the basis of academic merit – your Part I results and results from your other university courses will be used to assess whether or not you will be selected for Part II. Special entry schemes for admission are available for students applying under UTAS categories. Selection and admission criteria for entry to LLB Part II may change each year.
*All of the above is subject to change each year
If you are a graduate who has completed LLB Part I, you will be selected on the basis of your grades in LAW 121G (Law and Society), LAW 131 (Legal Method) and LAW 141 (Legal Foundations), or their equivalents at another New Zealand law school, plus your best 75 points (or equivalent) from your most recent year of university study.
Alternatively, if you demonstrate legal aptitude (eg, by having a good Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score) you can apply for admission to LLB Part I and LLB Part II concurrently. Graduates should consult a student adviser in the Law School for more information and the best entry pathway for you.
Undergraduate Targeted Admission Schemes
The University’s Undergraduate Targeted Admission Schemes (UTAS) are open to eligible Māori and Pacific applicants as well as applicants with disabilities, and applicants from low socioeconomic or refugee backgrounds. www.auckland.ac.nz/utas
If you are eligible for UTAS, have completed LLB Part I and believe you can achieve at least a C+ average, you may consider applying for LLB Part II.
Students with prior study at another law school
If you are applying to transfer from another New Zealand law school, contact one of our student advisers for more information and advice on the best entry pathway for you.
Applicants from other New Zealand law schools, and all other graduates who have applied for LLB Part II at the University of Auckland, will need to provide the Law Selection Committee, as well as the Admissions Office, with a copy of their academic transcripts for assessment by the Law Selection Committee.
Academic English Language Requirement
The University has an Academic English Requirement (AELR) for all its undergraduate programmes.
The aim of the AELR is to ensure you have sufficient competence in academic English to support your study at University. The AELR will not affect whether you are offered a place on a programme, and may be met through your entry qualification or through satisfactory completion of an approved course in your first year of study.
Applicants who have not met the AELR through their entrance qualification will be provided with advice at the time of enrolment. www.auckland.ac.nz/aelr
If English is not your first language, you will need to provide proof of your English language proficiency.
For LLB Part I, this can be demonstrated by:
- An IELTS or other approved English language test score (The minimum requirement for IELTS is an overall score in the Academic IELTS of 6.0, with no band less than 5.5.)
- Passing the Foundation Certificate in English for Academic Purposes (FCertEAP) or the English Pathway for Undergraduate Studies (EPUS)
- Graduates with degrees from outside New Zealand applying directly into LLB Part II must have an IELTS score of 7.0 with no bands less than 6.6.
If you are an international applicant, who has graduated with a bachelors degree, please also see “Graduate admission” information above.
For more information about English-language requirements and approved alternatives to IELTS, see www.auckland.ac.nz/ug-english-reqs
Our International Office also has more information:
Phone: +64 9 373 7513
Auckland University of Technology (AUT):
AUT law graduates have established successful careers in a range of law firms, immigration consultancies and commercial establishments including Kensington Swan, Bell Gully, Buddle Findlay, Chapman Tripp, Meredith Connell, Langdon and Co Lawyers, Enterprise Law, Simpson Dowsett Mackie, Davies Law, Te Nahu Lovell & Co, Simpson Grierson, Kayes Fletcher Walker and Wynyard Wood. Our interactive lectures and regular case-study workshops develop your ability to interpret, critically analyse, reason and deliver practical solutions to legal problems. You become an articulate communicator, and confident in your understanding of legal principles and their relevance to business and community. You also develop your critical thinking and problem-solving skills, your ability to act ethically, and your sense of community and professional responsibility.
Minimum entry requirements
University Entrance or equivalent
English language requirements
IELTS (Academic) of 6.0 overall with all bands 5.5 or higher; or equivalent
Useful New Zealand school subjects
Subjects that develop a very good standard of reading, oral and written English
Don’t meet the entry requirements?
Consider starting with our Diploma in Business.
What this qualification covers
You study three compulsory courses: Legal System, Legal Reasoning and Writing, and Personal Property. This makes up half of your first-year study (60 points). The other 60 points must be taken from another AUT degree, which gives you the opportunity to broaden your study and enables you to enroll in one of the double degrees.
If you complete your Part I courses with at least a B grade average in the compulsory law courses, you will be offered a place in Part II. Other students may also be eligible for Part II.
Part II, III and IV
In your second year, you study six further compulsory law courses: Law of Contract, Law of Torts, Public Law, Real Property and Trusts. In your third year you study Company Law, Criminal Law, Advanced Private Law, Public International Law and choose the rest of your courses from law electives. In your final year you study Legal Ethics, as well as a selection of law electives.
Graduates of AUT’s Bachelor of Laws are eligible to gain admission as barristers and solicitors of the High Court of New Zealand on completion of their Professional Legal Studies course. As a lawyer you might practise in a wide range of legal areas including corporate law, commercial and intellectual property, family law, environmental law, criminal law, taxation and general practice.
Law graduates also move into roles that include:
- In-house lawyers in large New Zealand and multinational businesses and organisations
- Patent attorneys
- Policy advisors to central and local government
- Senior management roles in business
- Taxation practitioners in accountancy practices
Broaden your career options – study law and:
- Bachelor of Arts (double degree)
- Bachelor of Business (double degree)
- Bachelor of Communication Studies (double degree)
Gain a competitive edge and enhance your career options by choosing to study law alongside business, communications or arts. You can complete a double degree in as little as five years. It’s a great way to expand your employment options and develop a broad range of skills; a trait that’s highly sought after by employers. You complete the two degrees at the same time, in just over five years compared to the seven years it would take if you studied for each separately. Please refer to the following pages for more information.
AUT encourages early application. Places are limited.
The University of Canterbury:
Bachelor of Laws (LLB)
UC’s Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree is internationally recognised, and the School of Law is ranked in the top 150 of law schools worldwide.
Our courses are taught by world-ranked staff who are regarded as leading experts in their fields – many having written the textbooks that underpin legal studies in New Zealand.
The four-year law degree comprises compulsory 100 and 200-level courses (providing a solid background in core legal knowledge and skills), and optional 300-level courses (which allow you to focus on areas of law or study it more broadly).
For further details, please see the following website: https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/law/bachelor-of-laws/
The University of Otago:
Bachelor of Laws (LLB)
A Bachelor of Laws (LLB) takes four years of full-time study to complete or can be undertaken part-time. You can also pursue a double degree, where you combine your LLB with another degree. This generally takes five years of full-time study but improves your career options over those of a single degree.
If you want to study law at Otago, you need to enrol for the 36-point first-year paper, LAWS 101 The Legal System, and at least 72 points of non-law papers of your choice. Most students do five non-law papers in their first year, and exceptionally able students do six. Anyone who qualifies for entrance to the University of Otago can enrol for The Legal System paper.
Entrance into second-year law
Entry into second-year law is limited to approximately 200 places and selection is based predominantly on the mark you achieve in The Legal System paper. You must also have shown a reasonable level of competence (B- average) in your highest-performing non-law papers. Information about standard and other methods of entry into second year is available here.
Because entrance into second-year law is competitive, it is recommended that your first-year non-law papers – which can be from any field across the University – are in an area of study that interests you. Then, if you do not gain entry into second-year law, you can continue with a degree in your alternative field. Also, if you are accepted into second-year law, you have a sound basis for a double degree. AskOtago can provide guidance on potential degree choices.
Second-year law programme
The second year of the law programme involves a full-time course of study in law. Students generally are not permitted to study non-law papers in their second year, although exceptions can be made where it is necessary to have continuous study of another degree, such as for music and languages.
There are five compulsory papers:
- LAWS 201 Criminal Law (full year, 30 points)
- LAWS 202 Law of Contract (full year, 30 points)
- LAWS 203 Property Law (full year, 30 points)
- LAWS 204 Public Law (full year, 30 points)
- LAWS 298 Legal Writing (beginning semester one, zero points)
Third-and fourth-year law programme
After second year, there are two more compulsory papers – LAWS 301 Law of Torts and LAWS 302 Jurisprudence. These will normally be completed in your third year, although there is some flexibility). If you wish to practice as a barrister or solicitor, you must also include the LAWS 463 Legal Ethics paper in your course.
This will leave you with thirteen single semester optional papers, which you select according to your field of interest. You will be able to start these optional papers in your third year. If, as most students do, you want to complete a double degree, this will take a fifth year. By the end of your law degree, you must have completed LAWS papers to the value of 426 points and 108 non-LAWS points.
In addition to the paper requirements, you must also complete:
- LAWS398 (a training programme involving library and legal database research)
- LAWS 499 Advocacy Skills (a moot)
- At least 5 pieces of work, as part of LAWS 498 Research and Writing
All the details on how to complete a law degree at Otago can be found on our website https://www.otago.ac.nz/law/undergraduate/papers/index.html
Instead of a Bachelor of Laws, it may be possible to complete the LLB (Hons). If you are in the top 10% of your second year cohort, you will be invited to join this programme. There is a further opportunity to apply to join this programme in your third year, and possibly your fourth year if you are completing two degrees. This will add a dissertation to your final year, which will allow you to research and write a substantial piece of work on a topic of your choice. With careful planning, it is possible to do Honours without additional time at University.
The University of Waikato:
Bachelor of Laws (LLB)
There are two intakes for the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) – in February and July each year.
To enrol in the Bachelor of Laws programme, you need to have gained University Entrance as well as satisfy additional requirements for entry to Law.
Additional Requirements for Entry to Law
NCEA Level 3 Certificate endorsed with Merit or Excellence
NCEA Level 3 and 18 or more Level 3 credits in a single literacy-rich subject (listed below), which may be included in NCEA Level 3.
History of Art, History, Health Education, Economics, Classical Studies, Business Studies, Drama, Biology, Earth and Space Science, Agriculture & Horticulture, Home Economics, English, Geography, Religious Studies, Social Studies, Te Reo Maori, Education, Latin, Media Studies
The Admissions Committee considers all applications on a case-by-case basis. You’ll need to support your application with academic achievement, work experience, school and community involvement outlined in a written statement. Your personal statement should be up to 300 words.
If you don’t meet the University Entrance requirements, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org as there are other pathways that you can take to study in this field.
If you pass your first year at Waikato then you’re guaranteed entry into the second year of your degree.
Victoria University of Wellington:
Located in the heart of Wellington’s legal and political district, the Faculty of Law is in privileged position to inform thinking and lead debate on legal, policy and governance issues that affect all New Zealanders. Our locations among many law-related agencies, including Parliament, the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, and prestigious law firms, means we are privy to the latest legal happenings.
The Bachelor of Laws (LLB) is a full-time four-year degree comprising 480 points. It can be combined with a second degree to form a conjoint degree, which takes a minimum of five years’ study. The LLB consists of 21 Law courses and a selection of non-law courses that total at least 90 points.
100 level — Get an introduction to the foundations of legal study
- Introduction to the New Zealand Legal System
- Introduction to Case Law
- Introduction to Statute Law
200 level — Build your legal skills through the core subjects
- Law of Contract
- Law of Torts
- Public Law
- Criminal Law
- Legal Research
- Writing and Mooting
300 level electives* — Delve into specialised areas of choice
- Bill of Rights
- Climate Change and the Law
- Data Privacy
- Ethics and the Law
- Family Law
- Intellectual Property
- International Law
- Law and Sexuality
- Law of Armed Conflict
- Māori Customary Law
- Migration and Refugee Law
- The Criminal Justice Process
- Welfare Law
- Youth Justice
*Including but not limited to. Elective courses are subject to change each year.
The Law School experience
The method of teaching law is different from other disciplines. Law students are empowered to demonstrate intellectual autonomy, critical thinking, independence of thought, an openness to new ideas through interactive and discussion-based learning.
Where can a Bachelor of Laws take you?
The world of work is changing at an exceptional pace and increasingly requires curious and agile lifelong learners. Employers look for well-rounded, adaptable graduates who demonstrate the ability to communicate, work collaboratively, think critically and solve problems. Graduates who can demonstrate employability skills from both academic learning and extracurricular experiences will have a competitive edge when applying for jobs.
Many law graduates go on to legal careers but there are also those who use the attributes they obtain during their degree to work in fields outside the legal sphere. For those who wish to further their knowledge, there are also postgraduate study options available