Dean, School of Law
Not many teenagers decide they want to pursue a career in interpersonal justice and read the Roman law tome The Institutes of Gaius before even starting university. But that was the beginning of the journey for Professor Charles Rickett, the second Dean of Law at AUT.
During a ‘formal’ childhood in colonial Africa Professor Rickett and his brothers spent the blazing hot days dressed in blazers, boaters and longs, dedicated to achieving the academic and sporting excellence expected by their English parents.
And once the family returned to Britain, Professor Rickett found more high expectations at his boarding school where he was groomed for success at Oxford and Cambridge.
After completing degrees in jurisprudence as a history scholar (at Oxford) and law (at Cambridge) Professor Rickett had very much discovered his vocation as a teacher, academic and researcher. He embarked on a career in legal academia that took him into both ‘establishment’ and ‘fledgling’ law schools across England, New Zealand and Australia.
For a time in the 1980s, Professor Rickett left his academic career entirely, training as a Baptist Pastor and finding he had quite a talent for filling church pews. But much as he enjoyed that role, the pull of teaching and intellectual challenge saw him return to legal academia.
Professor Rickett found one of his biggest challenges at the TC Beirne School of Law at the University Of Queensland, where as Dean he helped to transform the research outputs of the school from ‘underperforming’ to ‘outstanding’, something he counts as a career highlight.
The decision to return from Australia to New Zealand in 2014 to lead New Zealand’s newest Law School was not difficult – it means he gets to see his nine grandchildren a lot more often. Other spare time activities are defined by his love of history, sports and maths including reading biographies and following rugby and cricket (and their respective record books) very closely.