Steve Farnworth

Steve Farnworth

Doctor of Philosophy (Law)

Te Piringa - Faculty of Law

I taught mathematics for six years before coming to the University of Waikato to study law in 2005. I graduated with first class honours and was admitted to the bar in 2008.

I worked as a solicitor in Hamilton before returning to Waikato University to complete my LLM (hons) in 2011. At Waikato I was a tutor for two years, teaching Jurisprudence, Equity and Crimes.

The twin inspirations for my PhD were the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the Rena disaster. I became concerned that, even with the best safety systems and most stringent regulations, there remains a distinct possibility that a major oil spill will result from ultra-deep oil exploration off the coast of New Zealand. My intention is to ensure that New Zealand’s oil pollution liability regime is comprehensive and sufficient to ensure the complete restoration of our marine environment as well as the full redress of all economic damages.

In 2014 I will travel to the Universität Bremen in Germany where I will spend a year studying the latest EU Directive on offshore exploration liability. I hope to continue my career as an academic, to work in public policy, or as a commercial/environmental barrister and solicitor.


Evans Bailey & Co Prize for Jurisprudence, 2005
LEADR Dispute Resolution Law Prize, 2006
Chicago-Kent Law Exchange Travel Award, 2007
Intercoast Doctoral Exchange Travel Award, 2014

University of Waikato Masters Research Scholarship, 2011
University of Waikato Doctoral Scholarship, 2013

Other Success Stories

Willow-Jean Prime Willow-Jean Prime
Graduate Diploma, Master of Laws

Cynthia Hamel Cynthia Hamel
Bachelor of Laws with Honours

Season-Mary Downs Season-Mary Downs
Doctor of Philosophy

Rogena Sterling Rogena Sterling
Doctor of Philosophy