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Law is the closest we get to applying philosophy

International expert says law is the closest we get to applying philosophy

The reputation of New Zealand’s most contemporary law school has attracted not one, but two world-leading academics. The newly appointed Dean of AUT University’s Law School is Professor Charles Rickett and Professor Allan Beever has been appointed as a Professor of Law.

Professor Rickett has been a leading academic in law since the early 1990s. He is a graduate of both the Oxford and Cambridge Law Schools, and has held teaching appointments in England, China, Australia and New Zealand.

Professor Rickett’s teaching interests include contract law, equity and trusts, banking law, restitution, theories of obligations and legal ethics, and he has published widely in these areas.

Professor Rickett believes that the fundamental task of a law school is to educate students to solve problems in a rational way, and to pursue the notion of corrective justice between two parties who are having a dispute.

“Essentially law is the closest we get to applying philosophy; its fundamental role is to look at how we treat people and what we expect people to be and do as human beings. There is a lot of morality in law; it underpins how we should live as humans by constantly asking the question ‘what do we value?’”

From a young boy Professor Rickett wanted first to be a solicitor to “follow in my grandfather’s footsteps”, and then a barrister, but this changed when he was studying at Oxford.

“I came across a teacher called Peter Birks. His teaching style was so exciting, a Socratic style, he lived his research in his teaching and installed in me a love of words. Law is all about words and language. You need to love words to be a great lawyer. He inspired me to become a law academic.”

Professor Rickett knows after two decades of teaching that students appreciate being taken seriously.

“I want to engage them in their learning to support their development as good citizens, analytical thinkers, well-rounded mature people, mature socially and politically, and most of all I want them to enjoy the learning experience.”

AUT is establishing a reputation for high quality research in the field of law, while fostering an LLB degree with a commercial focus. Good law graduates can command large salaries in the commercial world, which is why AUT is delighted Professor Allan Beever has also joined the team.

Professor Beever is an internationally renowned theorist of private law, in particular, the law of civil wrongs, where he has quickly established himself as a leading rights theorist and advocate for understanding private law as a means of achieving corrective justice.

Professor Beever has previously held positions at the Universities of South Australia, Southampton, Durham and Auckland and at the Max Plank Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg. He has also held a visiting position at the University of Ottawa.

The combination of Professor Beever with Professor Rickett is a strong statement of AUT’s drive and ambition for the Law School.

Professor Beever will be starting on Monday 22 September and Professor Rickett starts on 1 October 2014.


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