Christopher Whitehead


Phone: +64 9 921 9999 x 6657


Physical Address:

AUT Law School
WY Building
120 Mayoral Drive
Auckland City 1010
New Zealand

Links to relevant web pages:


  • Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (Conjoint) (Auckland)
  • University Diploma (Montpellier I) (now Montpellier)
  • Master II (Professional) in Insurance (Paris II)
  • Master II (Research) in Business Law (Paris II)
  • Doctor of Civil Law (McGill) (Candidate)

Memberships and Affiliations:


Christopher is a teacher and researcher of the law of the English- and French-speaking worlds, particularly as it relates to the financial services.

Before joining AUT Law School, he practised for 10 years in Paris, France, as legal counsel to a French banking group and then to a United States insurance group.

In these roles, he advised on the law of several countries (including France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom) as it applied to his employers’ business—and on questions not only of insurance law, but also of banking and general business law.

More recently, he worked in Montreal, Canada, as a data-protection consultant for a Japanese conglomerate.

Also, from 2001 to 2004, Christopher worked at AUT as a Lecturer in French.

Teaching Areas:

  • Insurance Law
  • Personal Property

Research Areas:

Christopher’s research areas include:

  • business law, including:
    • commercial transactions and trade law;
    • secured transactions;
    • data-protection law;
    • corporations and investment law;
    • corporate governance;
    • corporate social responsibility;
    • consumer law;
    • sectoral regulation;
    • tax law;
  • private law, including:
    • contract law;
    • property law;
  • financial-services (insurance and banking) law;
  • comparative law, in particular the legal traditions of Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and the indigenous peoples of the Pacific;
  • feminist jurisprudence;
  • teaching of law, in particular the relationship between the theory and practice of law:
  • humanities and social sciences as applied to law, including:
    • linguistics, in particular the relationship between language and legal certainty;
    • translation, in particular legal and financial-services translation.

Research Summary:

Teacher and researcher of the law of the English- and French-speaking worlds, particularly as it relates to the financial services. Former in-house lawyer having advised on insurance business carried on in France and other countries, including Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the UK.

Current Research Projects:

Christopher is currently completing his doctoral thesis. Its working title is The Law of the Insurance-Business or -Portfolio Transfer: Canada Does It Better Than England and France Do.

He is also researching the following topics:

  • property law: describing and explaining the legal academy's (over-functional/over-response-focused and under-conceptual/under-event-focused) approach to proposing definitions of property;
  • financial-services law:
    • the phenomenon known as the convergence of insurance and banking:
      • instituting an insurance-linked-securities (ILS) regime in Canada (by referring to Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Singaporean, UK, and US law);
      • insurers acquiring controlling stakes in (bank and non-bank) lenders, and (bank and non-bank) lenders acquiring controlling stakes in insurers;
      • theorising debt-cancellation or -waiver products;
    • based on his conference contribution “Using the Law to Promote Gender Equality: The Case of Financial Institutions in Canada, England, and France”: insurance and banking law and feminist jurisprudence;
  • insurance law: implying post-disaster-coverage provisions into property-and-casualty policies by statute (comparing Canadian law with French law);
  • based on his conference presentation “Why Lawyers Should Stop Believing That the Active Voice Is Better Than the Passive—According to One Lawyer (and Frustrated Linguist)”): linguistics as applied to law;
  • the teaching and research of law:
    • using trans-systemic legal education in New Zealand (referring to the experience of McGill University and the University of Victoria);
    • based on his conference presentation “The Legal Academy Is Failing the Great Transition”: discussing why the legal academy researches the substantive topics that it researches; why it uses the formal (theoretical and methodological) approaches that it uses; whether the practices of the legal academy promote corporate interests (by failing to expose corporate practices); and if so, whether the legal academy knows that its practices are doing so;

based on his draft article "Only Stanford/Yale/NYU/Cambridge/Harvard/Oxford (SYNCHO) Graduates Need Apply? Where to Study to Become an Assistant Professor of Law in Anglophone Canada”.

Research outputs:

Journal articles

  • Tepper, E., & Whitehead, C. (2018). Legal personality to natural resources applied to space. New Space, 6(4), 288-298. doi:10.1089/space.2018.0025

Other outputs

  • Dasgupta, U., & Whitehead, C. (2019). Preface. In Quebec Journal of International Law (pp. 1-10). Presses de l'Universite du Quebec a Montreal.

  • Dasgupta, U., & Whitehead, C. (2019). Preface [to the volume "Governing our commons: What matters to us today"]. In Quebec Journal of International Law (Vol. Special issue, pp. 1-11).