Associate Professor Hanna Wilberg

LLB(Hons) BA (Otago), BCL MPhil (Oxford), Barrister and Solicitor (NZ)

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Associate Professor


Hanna Wilberg’s research interests are mainly in Administrative Law and the Tort liability of public authorities, but also range more widely across Public Law. She is the New Zealand Law Review’s contributor of scholarly reviews of recent developments in Administrative Law; and also a contributor on New Zealand developments to the International Survey section of Public Law. Her publications include a collection of essays co-edited with Professor Mark Elliott (Cambridge), entitled The Scope and Intensity of Substantive Review: Traversing Taggart’s Rainbow (Hart Publishing, 2015); and two special issues of the New Zealand Law Review which she commissioned and guest edited: part 1, 2016 on NZ Administrative Law and part 2, 2010 on Proportionality, Deference, Wednesbury: Taking Up Michael Taggart's Challenge.

Before joining the Auckland faculty in 2004, Hanna taught at Southampton University in the UK. She was a research assistant to Professor Paul Craig at Oxford; a Judges' Clerk for Richardson P and Tipping, Blanchard, Keith, Thomas, Gault and Henry JJ at the Court of Appeal in Wellington; and practiced law at the Crown Law Office. At Auckland, events that Hanna has organised or co-organised include a workshop on Jerry Mashaw's new book Reasoned Administration  (February 2016), the NZ Administrative Law conference and workshop (January 2015), the LRF conference on Judicial Review in Commercial Cases (2011), a NZ Public Law Colloquium (2011), and a symposium on Public Law in Three Nations (2010). She was the co-editor of the New Zealand Law Review from 2008 to 2013. She was a Herbert Smith Visitor at the University of Cambridge in 2014, a visitor at the University of Toronto in 2014, and a visiting fellow at the Australian National University in 2007.  She currently serves as the law faculty's Associate Dean Equity.

Research | Current

Work in progress:

Issues concerning the negligence liability of public authorities - further ongoing work.  My current project focuses on accommodating public authority discretion.

Mistake of fact as a ground of judicial review: further work concerning what form this ground would/should take; and justifications for adopting this ground.

Statutory interpretation and legislative intention.

Two invited chapters on comparative Administrative Law.

Teaching | Current

  • LAWPUBL 401 - Administrative Law
  • LAWHONS 728 AB - Studies in Public Law, Honours Seminar (with Dr Jane Norton)
  • LAW 231 - Law of Torts
  • (LAWGENRL 450 - Public Authority Liability - not offered as an elective in 2018)
  • (LAW 211 - Public Law - taught by other colleagues in 2018)

Postgraduate supervision

Some topics of recent supervised research:

  • Analysing the Duty to Inquire in NZ
  • Direct institutional liability of the Crown - several papers on various aspects
  • A Defence of the Outcome in Dunne v CanWest with Alternative Reasoning
  • Will Working Safer Work?  A Critical Analysis of the Government Strategy for Health and Safety at Work
  • Review of Administrative Interpretations of Law in NZ and the US
  • Standard of Review in Substantive Legitimate Expectations
  • Issues arising out of Right to Life v Abortion Supervisory Committee
  • Public Authorities, Systemic Failure and Personal Injury
  • Damages for breach of the right to life where public authorities have failed to use their powers to protect


  • 2016 Faculty of Law Sub-Professorial Research award
  • 2011 Sir Ian Barker Published Article Award (Legal Research Foundation) for best article published by a NZ-based author, for “In Defence of the Omissions Rule in Public Authority Negligence Claims” (2011) 19 Torts Law Journal 159.
  • 2000-2002 Keith Murray Senior Scholarship (Lincoln College, University of Oxford)
  • 2000 Ethel Benjamin Prize (NZ Law Foundation) co-winner
  • 1999 Cleary Memorial Prize (NZ Law Society)
  • 1996  Brookers Prize for best Honours dissertation in Law (University of Otago) for "Damages in Public Law"

Areas of expertise

  • Administrative Law - see eg Scope and Intensity of Substantive Review (Hart)
  • Tort liability of public authorities - see eg articles in TLJ and LQR
  • NZ Bill of Rights Act 1990 - see eg articles in PLR and NZULR
  • Statutory interpretation - see eg forthcoming chapter in Elliott, Varuhas and Wilson Starke (eds)
  • Treaty of Waitangi - see eg articles in NZ L Rev
  • Public and Constitutional Law more generally

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Wilberg, H. (2018). Interpretive presumptions assessed against legislators' understanding. In M. Elliott, J. Varuhas, S. Wilson Stark (Eds.) The unity of public law? Doctrinal, theoretical and comparative perspectives (pp. 193-217). Oxford, UK: Hart Publishing. Related URL.
  • Wilberg, H. (2017). Interrogating "Absolute discretion": are NZ's Parliament and Courts compromising the rule of law?. Federal Law Review, 45 (4), 541-568.
  • Wilberg, H. (2017). Mistakes about Mistake of Fact: The New Zealand Story. PUBLIC LAW REVIEW, 28 (3), 248-267.
  • Wilberg, H. (2017). Common law rights have justified limits: Refining the "Principle of Legality". In D. Meagher, M. Groves (Eds.) The principle of legality in Australia and New Zealand (pp. 139-165). Sydney, Australia: Federation Press.
  • Wilberg, H. (2016). Administrative law. New Zealand Law Review, 2016 (3), 571-613.
  • Wilberg, H. (2016). The Ireland Principle on Unauthorised but not Improper Purposes: An Exploration and Defence. New Zealand Law Review (1), 95-125.
  • Wilberg, H. (2015). Resisting the Siren Song of the Hansen Sequence: The State of Supreme Court Authority on the Sections 5 and 6 Conundrum. Public Law Review, 26 (1), 39-60. Related URL.
  • Wilberg, H. (2015). Deference on relevance and purpose? Wrestling with the law/discretion divide. In H. Wilberg, M. Elliott (Eds.) The scope and intensity of substantive review: Traversing Taggart's rainbow (pp. 263-297). Oxford, UK: Hart Publishing.

Contact details

Office hours

Open door

Primary office location

17 EDEN CRESCENT - Bldg 803
Level 3, Room 305
New Zealand

Web links