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Rodriguez Ferrere, Marcelo --- "Editors' note" [2016] OtaLawFS 4; The Search for Certainty: essays in honour of John Smillie xi

Last Updated: 31 May 2019


This collection of essays is published in honour of Emeritus Professor John Smillie on the occasion of his retirement from the Faculty of Law at the University of Otago. The contributors are former colleagues, former students and friends. As editors we appreciate how easy the contributors have been to work with and we thank them for their contributions. Their careers have taken them far and wide, but they all express a fondness for John and an overwhelming respect and admiration for his scholarship and teaching. No academic lawyer could wish for more.

The topics covered by the essays reflect the breadth of John’s own work and his wide-ranging interest in the law and all that it means. His own research was principally in administrative law, torts, legal theory and intellectual property. Some of these essays engage specifically with John’s own writing. Others focus on subjects that he has written about and issues that bothered him over the years. While it is possible to detect some recurring themes through John’s work over a period of forty years, it is also clear that there was nothing stagnant about the subject matter of his interests. Writing on administrative law gave way to writing about Bills of Rights. Writing about torts was supplemented by writing about common law methodology. It is a body of work outstanding in terms of its depth of scholarship, clarity of expression and thought, and breadth of understanding.

The details of John’s career and his method of scholarship are described by two long-standing colleagues, Kevin Dawkins and Mark Hengahan. There is no need to repeat those details here. The first three substantive essays, by Jeremy Waldron, Jim Allan and Michael Robertson are about John’s own jurisprudence. The remaining essays are about subjects that John himself researched or issues that interested him and his approach to dealing with them.

We are grateful to Kevin Dawkins, John’s long-standing colleague and neighbour in the Richardson Building, Justice Christine French, John’s former student, and Sir John Hansen, whose own journey in the law began right alongside a young John Smillie for their opening remarks to this collection.

The publication of this collection would not have been possible without the support of the New Zealand Law Foundation. The editors are grateful to the



members of the Trust Board and the Chief Executive of the Foundation, Lynda Hagen, for the financial support of this project.

Finally, we acknowledge the support of Thomson Reuters and we thank Ian McIntosh for his commitment to the collection and his infinite patience.

Of course, most of all, this collection of essays would not have been possible without John and his body of work. We hope it serves as a fitting tribute to a career of deep and rich legal scholarship conducted for the most part in the most southern Law Faculty in the world.

Mark Henaghan Shelley Griffiths

Marcelo Rodriguez Ferrere May 2016


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