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David works in commercial litigation at a large New Zealand law firm. He graduated from the University of Auckland in 2009 with conjoint bachelors degrees in law and arts, completing his honours dissertation in law on New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme under Professor Klaus Bosselmann. In arts, he double-majored in politics and philosophy. In 2008, he was a senior editor of the Auckland University Law Review. While at University, he worked as a research assistant to Peter Sankoff, and attended the ‘Animal Law in Australia: A New Dialogue’ symposium in Brisbane in 2008. He tutored law from 2008-2010. He worked from 2009-2010 as a judges’ clerk at the Auckland High Court.
He is passionate about ecological issues and animal rights. He has been vegan since 2004. He is a keen cyclist (completing the 2011 Rotorua to Taupo 100k Flyer with an average speed of 30.6km/hr and two training rides) and a hiker (having completed the Oxfam Trailwalker four times, twice with Team Vegan), justifying exercise on the sole ground that it lets him eat more delicious food.
In addition to ecological issues, he is committed to social justice and youth empowerment. He was involved in the UN Youth from 2003 until early 2011, and in 2010 received the Wysocki-Bates Award for outstanding contribution to youth involvement in the UN. He is also a trustee of the P3 Foundation, a charitable trust dedicated to mobilising young New Zealanders against poverty.
He also drinks enough coffee daily to kill your average man and subscribes to far too many blogs, receiving around 200 RSS updates per day (in fairness, about 60 of those come from the Guardian alone).
Vernon was a founding member and 2009 President of the Society of Legal Vegans, the club at the University of Auckland Law School that is the genesis of this blog.
He is an elected member of the Waitematā Local Board of Auckland Council. His roles on the Local Board include Deputy Chair of the Finance Committee; Deputy Chair of the Hearings Committee; Lead of the Parks and Open Spaces Portfolio; and, Co-holder of the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning Portfolio.
He is a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand and works as a solicitor at the Auckland Community Law Centre.
He holds a Master of Laws degree (LL.M) with First Class Honours from the University of Auckland. My thesis is entitled: Resisting Enclosure: The emergence of an ethno-ecological governance in a comparative analysis of the constitutions of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. For this and other work he was awarded the Fowlds Memorial Prize for Most Distinguished Masters Student in Law, 2010.
In 2014, he worked at the University of Auckland as a Professional Teaching Fellow at the Department of Planning, National Institute for Creative Arts and Industry (NICAI), and from 2011-2013 as a tutor in Jurisprudence at the Faculty of Law in the general streams as well as the Māori and Pasifika programes. He was a Research Fellow at the New Zealand Centre for Environmental Law from 2009 to 2011 working closely with Professor Klaus Bosselmann who was also his Masters thesis supervisor.
Vernon serves on the Board of SAFE (Save Animals From Exploitation), one of New Zealand’s largest and best-known animal rights organisations. His passion for animal welfare and rights has led him to speak regularly around Auckland and New Zealand on the treatment of animals under the law.
Vernon sees veganism as a logical corollary of being an environmentalist from both an ethical and practical perspective. For this reason, he is particularly interested in highlighting the unity of moral concern between human animals, non-human animals and ecosystems. His current research interests are centred on articulating a theory and practice of law that is equally inclusive and representative of the interests of all elements of nature.
Three other people regularly wrote for the Solution 1.0:
While Peter, Ed, and James no longer regularly contribute to the Solution 2.0, we hope that they will post when their busy schedules and frequent travels allow.