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 currently writing a book on The Principles of New Zealand Administrative Law, to be published by Hart in 2021. She is also the New Zealand Law Review’s contributor of scholarly reviews of recent developments in Administrative Law; and 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 NZ Administrative Law (February 2020), 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 served as the co-editor of the New Zealand Law Review from 2008 to 2013; and as the Associate Dean (Equity) in 2017-2018.

Hanna 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.

Research | Current


Hanna Wilberg and Kris Gledhill, ‘English Administrative Law in Aotearoa New Zealand’ in Swati Jhaveri and Michael Ramsden (eds), Judicial Review of Administrative Action: Origins and Adaptations Across the Common Law World (Cambridge, CUP, forthcoming, 2019)

Hanna Wilberg, ‘Judicial Review of Reasoning Processes’ in Peter Cane, Herwig Hofmann, Eric Ip and others (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Administrative Law (Oxford, OUP, forthcoming, 2020)

Work in progress:

Book on The Principles of New Zealand Administrative Law, to be published by Hart in 2021.

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.

Teaching | Current

My usual courses (not all taught each year) are:

  • LAWPUBL 401 - Administrative Law, elective
  • LAWGENRL 450 - Public Authority Liability, elective
  • LAWHONS 742 Public Authority Liability, Honours Seminar
  • LAWHONS 728 - Studies in Public Law, Honours Seminar
  • LAW 231 - Law of Torts, core course
  • LAW 211 - Public Law, core course

Postgraduate supervision

Some topics of recent supervised research:

  • A Duty of Consistency in Judicial Review
  • Housing NZ and its public purpose
  • Analysing the Duty to Inquire in NZ
  • Direct institutional liability of the Crown - several papers on various aspects
  • The judicial approach to ouster clauses in NZ
  • 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


  • 2018 Sir Ian Barker Published Article Award (Legal Research Foundation) for best article or essay published by a NZ-based author, for “Interpretive Presumptions Assessed against Legislators’ Understanding” in Elliott, Varuhas and Wilson-Stark (eds) The Unity of Public Law? Doctrinal, Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives (Hart, 2018) 193.
  • 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), FLR article
  • 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 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)

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.
  • Wilberg, H. (2019). Administrative law. New Zealand Law Review, 2019 (4), 487-531. Related URL.
  • 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). Annandale, Australia: The Federation Press.
  • Wilberg, H. (2016). The Ireland principle on unauthorised but not improper purposes: An exploration and defence. New Zealand Law Review, 2016 (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.
  • 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.