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New Law School Dean keen to build Waikato profile


New Dean of School of Law keen to build Waikato’s profile

The newly appointed Dean of Waikato University’s School of Law, Professor John Farrar, aims to increase the university’s profile nationally and internationally, and to make further contributions to the development of commercial law in New Zealand.

Professor Farrar, who takes up his post in October, is currently Professor of Law at Queensland’s Bond University, and Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne.

He says the Waikato School of Law’s focus of teaching law in context and its bicultural approach were attractive to him. “Waikato is the newest law school in New Zealand and has clear objectives. It has tried to experiment and innovate. I aim to help the school build up its profile and its networks with the legal profession so that its approach to teaching law has greater recognition and influence.”

Professor Farrar, who has extensive high-level experience with commercial law, says he is also keen to contribute further to New Zealand developments in this area, including company and insolvency law and corporate governance reforms. He has been asked by publishers to write for and edit a major new work on New Zealand company law.

Professor Farrar has had extensive experience in commercial law reform, having, for example, acted as a consultant to the New Zealand Treasury, the Law Commission, the Business Council of Australia and the UK Department of Trade and Industry. He is English-born but a New Zealand citizen and has worked extensively in New Zealand, having spent ten years at Canterbury University, including three years as law dean in the 1980s, and two years as Professor of Law at Victoria University in the early 1990s. He was a partner in the law firm Bell Gully Buddle Weir in the early 1990s before moving to Australia to posts at the University of Melbourne and Bond University. He is currently director of Australia’s Institute for Corporate Governance and a member of the Legal Committee of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

As acting Vice-Chancellor at Bond University in 1995-6, he organised a successful defence of the university against hostile takeover bids by the University of Queensland, Griffith University, Monash University and Opus Dei. The university retained its private status and now owns its campus. It is, however, a full member of the Australian Vice Chancellor’s Committee.

Professor Farrar is a member of the editorial boards of a number of journals dealing with commercial law and is the author of many of books and articles in this field in New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

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