LEGAL103-18A (HAM)

Legal Method- Research and Statutory Interpretation

15 Points

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Division of Arts, Social Sciences and Law
Te Piringa - Faculty of Law
Te Piringa
Faculty of Law Dean's Office


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You can contact staff by:

  • Calling +64 7 838 4466 select option 1, then enter the extension.
  • Extensions starting with 4, 5 or 9 can also be direct dialled:
    • For extensions starting with 4: dial +64 7 838 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 5: dial +64 7 858 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 9: dial +64 7 837 extension.
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Paper Description

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This paper will teach you the basics of legal method, including legal research, reasoning and writing, and statutory interpretation. You must develop these skills in order to study and practice law.

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Paper Structure

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The paper is taught by way of an hourly lecture and a two-hour weekly workshop throughout the semester.
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Gain knowledge and understanding of the doctrine of precedent, forms of legal reasoning, the legislative process, and the principles of statutory interpretation;
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Develop an ability to analyse common law and statutory interpretation cases;
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  • Acquire knowledge and understanding of common print and electronic legal research resources and methods of information retrieval;
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  • Develop an ability to communicate successfully in written and oral legal contexts;
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  • Develop organisational skills and punctuality in terms of work outputs; and
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  • Develop self­-directed learning skills.
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Online quizzes x 5

Online quiz descriptions and due dates

Quiz 1 (Intro to law library) is due at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Quiz 2 (Online research and evaluating legal materials) is due at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, 20 Mar 2018

Quiz 3 (Academic integrity) is due at 5:00 pm on Thursday, 5 April 2018

Quiz 4 (Searching for legislation 1) is due at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Quiz 5 (Searching for legislation 2) is due at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Online quiz completion requirements

The quizzes can be completed at any time before the due date. Quizzes submitted after the due date will not be accepted, unless an extension has been granted. Please refer to the assessment regulations for the requirements and procedure for obtaining an extension of time.

Each quiz is comprised of multi choice and/or true/false questions.

Students can have two attempts at each quiz. The questions are randomly selected, meaning that the second attempt at the quiz can contain different questions from the first attempt. Each attempt of each quiz will result in a recorded mark for that quiz and the higher mark of the two attempts of that quiz will be the final mark for that particular quiz.

Online quiz marking apportionment

Completing and submitting all 5 quizzes comprises 5% of the total course mark. Each of the 5 tests is worth 1% of the total course mark. In order to obtain maximum marks you must complete all 5 quizzes.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Online Quizzes x 5
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Research trail
10 Apr 2018
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Group presentation
  • In Class: In Workshop
4. Take home test
5 Jun 2018
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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You must purchase or secure copies (and bring to lectures and workshops):

  • McLay, Murray & Orpin, New Zealand Law Style Guide, (2nd ed, Wellington, Thomson Reuters, 2011) (available from Bennetts Bookshop)
  • LEGAL103­-18A course materials (digital copies are available on the Waikato Reading Lists; printed copies from Waikato Print)

Please note that the readings set out in the lecture schedule above are general readings only. You will also receive more specific readings such as statutes and cases throughout the course.

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Recommended Readings

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We strongly recommend that you consult the following texts in order to enhance your understanding of the course content. You are not required to purchase these and can borrow them from the Law Library.

  • J.F. Burrows Statute Law in New Zealand (4th ed, Wellington, LexisNexis, 2009)
  • M. Russell (Ed) Legal Research in New Zealand (Wellington, LexisNexis, 2016)
  • S. Penk & M. Russell New Zealand Legal Method Handbook (Wellington, Thomson Reuters NZ Ltd, 2014)
  • P. Spiller (Ed) Butterworths New Zealand Law Dictionary (8th ed, Wellington, LexisNexis NZ Ltd, 2014)
  • R. Scragg (ed) Legal Writing A Complete Guide for a Career in Law (Wellington, LexisNexis NZ Ltd, 2015)
  • R. Scragg The Principles of Legal Method in New Zealand (2nd ed, Australia, Oxford University Press, 2009)
  • D Webb, K Sanders & P. Scott The New Zealand Legal System: Structures and Processes (5th ed, Wellington, LexisNexis, 2010)

Note: One of each of the above texts will be put on Course Reserve in the Library for students.

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Other Resources

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You may find the following publications useful as you embark on your law studies.

  • M. Brogan & D. Spencer Surviving Law School (2nd ed, Australia, Oxford University Press, 2008)
  • New Zealand Law Students’ Association Mental Wellness Guide Book for New Zealand Law Students (available at:­content/uploads/2013/08/Mental­Wellness­Book­.pdf)
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Online Support

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When you enrol, you will provide (or be assigned) an email address, and will be given access to Moodle.

Email is the main means by which teaching staff, Te Piringa - Faculty of Law and the University communicate to students. You should therefore check your emails daily.

Moodle is the University of Waikato online learning system, and is accessible at: Important information concerning your courses will be posted on Moodle, including any changes to the lecture or workshop schedule. Teachers may place lecture slides, additional readings and assessment information on Moodle. You should therefore check Moodle at least weekly.

The University of Waikato owns the intellectual property rights in any materials on Moodle, and accordingly you are given access to that material on the following terms:

The University of Waikato owns the intellectual property rights, including copyright, in and to this site, or has acquired the necessary licenses to display the material on the site. As a student of the Te Piringa Faculty of Law, you are granted a limited license to use (access, display or print a single copy) the material from the papers in which you are enrolled for the purposes of participating in the paper only, provided the information is not modified. Materials may not under any circumstances be copied, stored, distributed or provided in any form or method whatsoever to any third party. Any other use of the material is prohibited. None of the material may be otherwise reproduced, reformatted, republished or re­disseminated in any manner or form without the prior written consent of University of Waikato. To obtain such consent, please contact the Te Piringa - Faculty of Law.

If you require assistance with Moodle, or encounter any problems with it, please contact the Help Desk. You can send a message tothe Help Desk by using the instant message service in your paper (from the Participants list within the People block). Alternatively, you can email them directly at or call 838 4008.

Te Piringa - Faculty of Law will send you regular newsletters via email. These newsletters contain updates, articles and notices relevant to law students. It is important that you review this newsletter for information that concerns you.
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University study requires that you take charge of your own learning. The teachers are here to impart information, provide guidance and support, and to challenge you to rise to higher levels of achievement. However, it is entirely your responsibility to ensure that you prepare and participate fully in your learning by:

  • Reviewing the set readings contained in the Course Materials book and any other materials the teacher specifies;
  • Attending all lectures and workshops and taking good notes about what you are taught;
  • Completing and correctly submitting all assessments (including ensuring that you have all relevant information required to do so);
  • Checking your emails daily, and accessing Moodle at least weekly, so as to be aware of any updates and other information sent by the teaching staff, Te Piringa - Faculty of Law, and the University;
  • Managing your time so as to ensure you meet your commitments in this course and your other courses; and
  • Looking after your personal well­-being and seeking appropriate assistance where needed.

You should expect to spend approximately 150 hours in total on this paper. In addition to attending the lectures and workshops and reviewing your notes taken during these, you will need to spend time reviewing the set readings contained in the Course Materials book and any other materials the teacher specifies. Assignments will require you to devote sustained periods to reading, researching and writing. It is therefore important that you develop good time management skills.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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Legal Method is part of the Year 1 programme and its content has links to Legal Systems and Societies, as well as Public Law in year 2.

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