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Peter Watts KC graduated with a Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) from the University of Oxford, on 11 May 2024 at the Sheldonian Theatre. Peter is the first New Zealander to have graduated with a Doctor of Civil Law, earned by examination, rather than received as honorary.

The higher doctorate was awarded by the University of Oxford in recognition of Peter’s excellence in academic scholarship, and based on the assessment of 12 of his publications on the law of agency written over 20 years. 

New Zealanders who have been awarded honorary DCLs include General Freyberg in 1945, Sir Keith Park in 1947, Sir David Smith J in 1948 as Chancellor of the then UNZ, Robin Cooke in 1991, and Paul Reeves in 1985.

Presiding at the Oxford ceremony was Professor Jane Shaw, standing in for the Vice-Chancellor, Principal of Harris Manchester College. Peter led the degree ceremony and was joined by at least three other New Zealanders who were graduating in the same ceremony, including coincidentally, Lady Deborah Chambers KC’s youngest daughter, Zelda Hollings who was graduating with a Masters of Public Policy. Zelda is now completing her second master's degree being an MBA also at Oxford.

Bankside Associate Member Dame Julie Maxton DBE, who is a former Registrar of Oxford University, was there to congratulate and celebrate with Peter.

Peter shares: "I am delighted to have established now a permanent connection to the University after a close association with the Law Faculty, and in particular its commercial, corporate, and restitution teachers that dates back to my first university sabbatical in 1988. In 2017 I was honoured to be made a Senior Research Fellow at Harris Manchester College, attached to the Commercial Law Centre. I appreciate too the collegiality that I continue to enjoy with the current commercial, corporate and restitution scholars at Oxford."

An internationally renowned expert in the law of agency, Peter joined Bankside Chambers in 2017 on a full-time basis. He has advised on the common law of agency in court proceedings and arbitrations (including ICSID) in many international jurisdictions. Peter also has a broad domestic practice in New Zealand in banking law, insolvency law, company law, equity and trusts, the law of restitution, and the law of contract. See Peter's profile.

Peter being introduced (in Latin) by the Regius Professor of Civil Law at Oxford (Professor Wolfgang Ernst).

Bankside Associate Member Dame Julie Maxton DBE with Zelda Hollings and Lady Deborah Chambers KC.

Oxford's Degree Ceremony programme.