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Virtues / Law

Anna High

Associate Professor

Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Otago, New Zealand


The framing of virtue ethics as a holistic view of persons flourishing in community resonated with me. I have recently established a mindfulness society, aimed at supporting lawyers, including legal academics, in cultivating mindfulness – clear and present awareness of current experience. Mindfulness can be associated with cultivating equanimity, focus, empathy, a sense of justice, and wisdom; it is a contemplative technique that for Christians might be framed as a means of developing certain virtues, while also acknowledging virtues as a gift of divine grace.

In terms of my research, I am interested in how law shapes the character of citizens, which is an aspect of promoting human flourishing. More specifically, in the context of researching models of consent in sexual violence law, what are the “vices” that classically are entrenched in our rape laws, and what are the virtues that can be promoted through law reform and law’s educative function?