Professor Susan Mary Watson
MJur, LLB (Hons)
Professor Susan Watson researches and teaches corporate law and corporate governance. She has a particular interest in the corporate form and in her research seeks to understand how the form developed, why it is so successful, and the economic and societal impact of corporations. Her research has been published widely in New Zealand and internationally; she has edited and co-authored treatises and textbooks, five edited collections and numerous articles. Her work has been cited and discussed by other scholars in the field and by courts at all levels including the UK Supreme Court. From 2007 until 2014 Susan was joint editor of the New Zealand Business Law Quarterly, and is currently the New Zealand editor for the Journal of Business Law. In 2016 she won the 2015 Legal Research Foundation Sir Ian Barker Published Article Award for How the Company Became an Entity - A New Understanding of Corporate Law. This award was given for the best article, essay or discrete book chapter published by a New Zealand-based author in 2015. Her most recent book is Corporate Law in New Zealand (Thomson Reuters) jointly edited with Professor Lynne Taylor of Canterbury University. Susan is currently writing The Making of the Modern Company: Entity Primacy in the 21st Century to be published by Hart Publishing in 2020.
Professor Watson has been a visiting Professor at Vanderbilt University (2008, 2012,2018) Tilburg University and in 2018 a visiting academic in the Oxford Law Faculty.
Before joining the University, Susan worked as a staff solicitor and associate in two city law firms, and taught part of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies law professionals course. Before joining the Law School she was Professor of Commercial Law in the Business School where she was Head of Department from 2008 to the end of 2010 and Associate Dean Academic Faculty in 2011. She was Deputy Dean of the Law School from 2014 until the end of 2017.
Research | Current
Within her areas of specialisation, Susan is particularly interested in the corporation as an entity and legal person that is a fund, and the ramifications of this conceptualisation of the corporate form including the role of the board and the company considered in its economic, and .sociological contexts. She is currently writing a series of articles about the modern company or corporation, how it evolved to their current form, how states can best regulate the world’s dominant legal structure and in a world where expectations of the role of institutions are shifting how corporations themselves can best balance the interests of shareholders, stakeholders and society. Part of that work involves a monograph for Hart Publishing The Making of the Modern Company: Entity Primacy for the 21st Century. Susan is part of a research project looking at the relationship between leadership and governance, and is also working on a project about early understandings of corporate social responsibilioty and sustainability in corporate governance in Quaker companies in the 19th century.
Within New Zealand Susan writes frequently on New Zealand corporate law and governance. She is currently jointly editing and authoring the treatise Corporate Law in New Zealand (Thomson Reuters)
Teaching | Current
- 2015 Company Law
- 2010 Honours course on issues in company and contract law
- 2015 LAWCOMM 709 Corporate Governance
Current - Heida Donegan - Legal transplants in Chinese Corporate Governance- PhD
Past - Wei Feng - Political Deteminants of Corporate Governance- PhD
Past- Rebecca Hirsch- Governance of Family Businesses -PhD
Past -Wenge Wang- Independent Directors in China- PhD
- 2015 Legal Research Foundation Sir Ian Barker Published Article Award for How the Company Became an Entity - A New Understanding of Corporate Law. This award is given for the best article, essay or discrete book chapter published by a New Zealand-based author in 2015.
- 2004 Teaching Excellence Award
Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Law 2014- 2017
Associate Dean Academic Faculty, Faculty of Business and Economics 2013
Head of Department of Commercial Law 2008-2010
Areas of expertise
- Company law
- Corporate governance
- Deputy Dean Auckland Law School
- Legal Research Foundation Council
- Corporate law teachers Association Council
- Faculty of Business and Economic Equal Opportunities Officer 2002- 2010
- Head of Department of Commercial Law - 2008- 2010
- Member University Staffing Committee- 2010 -
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Watson, S. M. (2018). The Corporate Legal Entity as a Fund. Journal of Business Law (6), 467-484.
- Watson, S. M. (2018). Corporate Law and Governance Reviews. New Zealand Law Review (2), 275-314.
- Watson, S. M. (2018). The Corporate Legal Person. Journal of Corporate Law Studies10.1080/14735970.2018.1435951
- Watson, S., & Vasudev, P. M. (Eds.) (2017). Innovations in corporate governance: Global perspectives. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. Pages: 253. 10.4337/9781786432858
- Watson, S. M. (2015). Corporate law and Governance. New Zealand Law Review, 2015 (2), 239-258.
- Watson, S. M. (2015). How the Company Became an Entity: A New Understanding of Corporate Law. Journal of Business Law (1), 120-141. Related URL.
- Thomas, R. S., & Watson, S. M. (2013). Should New Zealand Adopt Say on Pay?. New Zealand Business Law Quarterly, 19 (2), 111-137.
- Farrar, J., & Watson, S. (Eds.) (2013). Company and securities law in New Zealand (2nd edition). Wellington, New Zealand: Brookers Ltd. Pages: 1399.