Professor Janet Margaret McLean

Profile Image


Janet McLean is a Professor of Law at The University of Auckland. She holds an honorary Professorship at the University of St Andrews Institute for Constitutional and Legal Studies and is a visiting professor at the University of Melbourne where she teaches in their masters programme.  Before returning to Auckland in 2012 she held the Chair in Law and Governance at the University of Dundee (where she continues to hold an honorary chair). She has held visiting fellowships at Woodrow Wilson School of Politics and International Affairs and the Program in Law and Public Affairs, Princeton University (2009), and at The Australian National University (2001) and was the George P. Smith Distinguished Visiting Professor at Indiana University at Bloomington (2003). She has acted as an advisor to the NZ government serving on the Legislation Advisory Committee and on a ministerial inquiry into Human Rights Protection in New Zealand (2000) and has acted as an expert witness for the Canadian Federal Government. She was appointed as a Queen's Counsel and was the recipient of a Marsden Standard Grant for a project Re-constitutionalising Public Service in Westminster Jurisdictions in 2020.

Research | Current

Her research interests include the constitutional role of the official, the public-private distinction, the nature of the Crown, Bills of Rights, bureaucratic design, public contracting, freedom of information and the nature of unwritten constitutions.

Teaching | Current

LAW 211- Public Law

LAWPUBL 431 – Advanced Public Law

LAWPUBL 438 – European Public Law

LAWPUBL 756 - Crown and State Liability 

Postgraduate supervision

Constitutional law

Constitutional conventions

Bureaucracy and administrative law

History and theory of administrative law 

Nature of the Crown

The horizontal application of human rights

Attorney-General’s certificates under s7 NZ Bill of Rights Act 1990

Public contracts

Crown liability for systemic harm


Associate Dean (Research)

Areas of expertise

Constitutional law 

Administrative law

Constitutional and administrative  history 

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • McLean, J. (2018). The unwritten constitution. In G. Jacobsohn, M. Schor (Eds.) (pp. 395-414). EDWARD ELGAR PUBLISHING LTD.
  • Quentin-Baxter, A., & McLean, J. (2017). This realm of New Zealand: The Sovereign, the Governor-General, the Crown. Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland University Press.
  • McLean, J. (2016). Convergence in public and private law doctrines – The case of public contracts. New Zealand Law Review, 2016 (1), 5-29.
  • McLean, J. (2016). The unwritten political constitution and its enemies. International Journal of Constitutional Law, 14 (1), 119-136. 10.1093/icon/mow002
  • McLean, J. (2015). Crown, Empire and Redressing the Historical Wrongs of Colonisation in New Zealand. New Zealand Law Review, 2015 (2), 187-212.
  • McLean, J. (2013). Ideologies in Law Time: The Oxford History of the Laws of England. Law and Social Inquiry, 38 (3), 746-764. 10.1111/lsi.12016
  • McLean, J. (2012). Searching for the state in British legal thought: Competing conceptions of the public sphere. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pages: 334.
  • Rishworth, P., & McLean, J. (2010). Human rights obligations in the private sector: reflections on YL v Birmingham City Council and the meaning of public function. Effective judicial review: a cornerstone of good governance (pp. 101-119). Oxford UK: Oxford University Press.


Contact details

Primary office location

17 EDEN CRESCENT - Bldg 803
Level 3, Room 319
New Zealand

Web links