Associate Professor Nicole Roughan

JSD (Yale) LLM (Yale) LLM (VUW) BA/LLB (Auck)

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Associate Professor


Nicole joined the Law Faculty in 2018, from the National University of Singapore where she was Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law and Deputy-Director of the Centre for Legal Theory. Nicole formerly held appointments at the University of Cambridge, Trinity College, Cambridge, the University of Kent at Brussels, and Victoria University of Wellington.  She currently holds an appointment as a Visiting Professor in the School of Law at Queen Mary University of London. Nicole’s co-edited volume (with Andrew Halpin) In Pursuit of Pluralist Jurisprudence was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017; and her monograph, Authorities: Conflicts, Cooperation, and Transnational Legal Theory by Oxford University Press in 2013. Nicole has published a number of commissioned book chapters, and her articles appear in leading law journals including the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, European Journal of International Law, and International Journal of Constitutional Law.

Research | Current

Nicole’s research field is the philosophy of law, where she specialises in theorising the interactions of state and non-state legal orders (including Indigenous, international and transnational law) and the resulting challenges for general jurisprudence. Nicole is currently working on a new monograph, Officials, which examines the centrality of the idea of the legal official to accounts of law’s normativity. In January 2018, Nicole took up a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship awarded by New Zealand’s Royal Society Te Apārangi, to pursue a five-year project on Legalities: Jurisprudence without Borders. Her ongoing collaborative projects examine theories of recognition, relations between Continental and analytic jurisprudence, philosophical foundations of conflict of laws, and the theoretical foundations of indigenous laws.

Nicole's recent publications include:

N Roughan, ‘Surplus or Surrender: A Comment on Walker’s ‘The Sovereignty Surplus’ (2021) 18:4 International Journal of Constitutional Law (2021) 1-7

J McLean, A Rosen, N Roughan, J Wall, ‘Legality and Emergencies: Assessing NZ’s Response to Covid-19. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand Special Issue on Covid-19. (2021)

N Roughan, ‘The Relativity of Political Authority: Overlapping claims and shared subjects beyond the state’ 2020 27:4 Constellations: an International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory 702.

N Roughan and L Katz: Introduction: The Idea of Office in Public Law, Private Law, and Jurisprudence 2020 University of Toronto Law Journal 163-166.

N Roughan, ‘Office-Holding and Officiality’ (2020) 70 University of Toronto Law Journal (supplement 2), 231-247,

Teaching | Current

  • Jurisprudence

Postgraduate supervision

I am currently supervising PhD students working in topics in legal philosophy, pluralist jurisprudence, and the relations between state law and tikanga Māori.


In 2016, Nicole was awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship from the Royal Society Te Apārangi. As a student, Nicole was a recipient of a Fulbright Graduate Student Award, and a NZ Law Foundation Ethel Benjamin Award.


  • Co-Director, New Zealand Centre for Legal Theory
  • Director of Doctoral Studies (Admissions)

Areas of expertise

  • Jurisprudence
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Legal Pluralism
  • Authority
  • Theories of Indigenous Law
  • International Legal Theory
  • Theories of Fiduciary Law

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Co-Chair, International Network on Transnational Legal and Political Theory
  • Reviews Editor, Jurisprudence
  • Associate Member, NUS Centre for Legal Theory

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.
  • Roughan, N. C. (2019). Public/private distortions and state-indigenous fiduciary relationships. New Zealand Law Review, 2019 (1), 9-38. Related URL.
  • Roughan, N. (2019). Meet me in the middle? [Book review]. Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law, 29 (3), 423-436. Related URL.
  • Roughan, N. (2018). Polities and relative authorities. International Journal of Constitutional Law, 16 (4), 1215-1222. 10.1093/icon/moy091
  • Roughan, N. (2018). Polities and relative authorities. International Journal of Constitutional Law, 16 (4), 1215-1222. 10.1093/icon/moy091
  • Roughan, N. (2018). The Official Point of View and the Official Claim to Authority. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 38 (2), 191-216. 10.1093/ojls/gqy010
  • Roughan, N., & Halpin, H. (2017). A response. Transnational Legal Theory, 8 (4), 415-423. 10.1080/20414005.2017.1420106
  • Roughan, N., & Halpin, A. (Eds.) (2017). In pursuit of pluralist jurisprudence. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Pages: 376.
  • Roughan, N., & Halpin, A. (2017). The promises and pursuits of pluralist jurisprudence. In N. Roughan, A. Halpin (Eds.) In pursuit of pluralist jurisprudence (pp. 326-366). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/9781316875056.014


Contact details

Office hours

by appointment

Primary office location

17 EDEN CRESCENT - Bldg 803
Level 3, Room 311
New Zealand

Web links