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Major legal research grants made by Borrin Foundation

21 February 2018

Five inaugural grants for criminal justice, family law and Māori legal research projects have been announced by the Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation.

Photo of Andrew Little and Kathryn Beck
Justice Minister Andrew Little and Law Society
President Kathryn Beck at the launch. 

The Borrin Foundation was established by the late District Court Judge Ian Borrin shortly before his death in March 2016, in memory of his parents. Judge Borrin left $38 million in his will to the Foundation, to support legal research, education and scholarship in New Zealand.

The inaugural grants were announced at a reception at the Supreme Court in Wellington on 20 February. Speakers at the event included Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias and David Goddard QC who is chair of the Grants and Scholarships Committee which decides on use of the funds.

The grants which were announced are:

He Whaipaanga Hou Update Research: The grant of $614,420 over 18 months is for completion of a large-scale research project about New Zealand's criminal justice system and its institutions, operations, policies, and effectiveness with regard to Māori. The project includes comparative international indigenous research and will be led by Moana Jackson, who was lead researcher and author of the initial 1988 He Whaipaanga Hou report.

Access to Justice through Digital Innovation: The grant of $492,000 over three years to Community Law Centres Aotearoa is for a suite of three chatbots about tenancy law, employment law, and the law relating to the rights of prisoners. The grant is also intended to provide support for the online and hardcopy everyday guide to New Zealand law.

Relationship Property Division Research: A grant of $577,225 over two years has been made to the University of Otago and a team of social science researchers. The project will conduct socio-legal research into how separating couples divide their property in practice, and what New Zealanders see as fair and just when couples divide property after a relationship ends.

Whiti te Rā 2018 Hui: JustSpeak has been given a grant of $43,210 to help fund a conference about transformative change in the criminal justice system. The conference will include legal lectures and presentations from lawyers and academics.

Borrin Foundation - Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Summer Legal Research Internships: A grant of $39,000 over three years has been made to the Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga New Zealand's Māori Centre of Research Excellence to provide summer legal internships and focus on promoting Māori legal scholarship and nurturing young researchers.

Future grants

The Foundation also announced that it will run an open "expression of interest" process for grants, as well as proactively seeking out promising projects and talented individuals. It says information including the timeline and processes for its first EOI are available on the Borrin Foundation website.

The Foundation says it will have a collaborative relationship with the New Zealand Law Foundation, which includes a commitment to contribute up to $150,000 a year to co-founded projects.

Last updated on the 16th September 2019