Associate Professor Gehan Nilendra Gunasekara

LLM (Hons), LLB, BA


Gehan Gunasekara specialises in the areas of franchising law and information privacy law. He has published widely in these areas both locally and overseas. He is currently researching the development and application of cross-border privacy rules for companies and the issues that arise when personal information is transferred from one country to another. He has also researched privacy issues connected with applications such as online social networking and the Internet.

Gehan is a regular commentator and contributor to debate in national media on privacy issues and was a member of the academic reference committee for the Review of the Privacy Act by the Law Commission. He has led research in New Zealand on legal issues affecting franchising and especially the incidence and areas of franchise litigation in New Zealand. 

Research | Current

Gehan has two main areas of research:

  • Management of information, especially personal data and the challenges to privacy laws in this arena from the pressures of globalisation.
  • The law surrounding business format franchising.


Journal Articles


Teaching | Current

Undergraduate courses taught


  • COMLAW 101 SC        Law in a Business Environment
  • COMLAW 304 FC        Business Structures for Enterprises


  • COMLAW 101 FC        Law in a Business Environment
  • COMLAW 304 FC        Business Structures for Enterprises


  • LAWPUBL 725            Privacy Law (semester 1)
  • COMLAW 304             Business Structures for Enterprises (semester 1)
  • COMLAW 101             Law in a Business Environment (semester 1)


  • LAWCOMM 758           Franchising Law (semester 2)
  • COMLAW 304              Alternative Business Structures (semester 1)
  • COMLAW 101              Law in a Business Environment (semester 1)


  • LAWCOMM 758            Franchising Law (semester 2)
  • BUSADMIN 784            Managers and the Law (quarter 3)
  • COMLAW 203              Company Law (semester 2)
  • COMLAW 304              Alternative Business Structures (semester 2)
  • COMLAW 151G            The (Un) Lawful World: Law in Contemporary Life (semester 2)


  • 02.100                         Introduction to Law
  • 02.202                         Law of Business Organisations
  • 610.304                       Alternative Business Structures
  • 610.302                       Privacy & Information Management Law
  • COMLAW 191               Law in Business & Information Management
  • COMLAW 203               Company Law
  • COMLAW 304               Alternative Business Structures
  • COMLAW 302               Privacy & Information Management Law

Postgraduate courses taught


  • LAWPUBL 725 SC         Privacy Law


  •  LAWCOMM 758           Franchising Law


  • LAWPUBL 725              Privacy Law (semester 1)


  • LAWCOMM 758             Franchising Law (semester 2)


  • LAWCOMM 758             Franchising Law (semester 2)
  • BUSADMIN 784             Managers and the Law (quarter 3)


  • BUSADMIN 784             Managers and the Law (quarter 2)


  • COMLAW 731                Franchising Law (since 2004 LAWCOMM 758)


  • 610.739                        Privacy & Defamation law
  • 610.731                        Franchising Law

Postgraduate supervision

Gehan has supervised or co-supervised and is currently supervising or co-supervising the following doctoral students:
• Alan Toy Privacy Audits: Expectation (co-supervisor. PhD awarded 2016):
• Kylie Jackson-Cox A study of the impacts of the passage of time on privacy protection in law (supervisor - ongoing)
• Nadia Dabee Reducing Workplace Accident Rates in New Zealand: The Role of
Workplace Safety Regulation (co-supervisor - ongoing)

(Note: Gehan is unable to take on additional doctoral enrolments due to his current commitments)

Gehan's recent graduate student dissertations (BCom(Hons), MComLaw,
LLM and MLS) include:
1. Jason Bailey ‘Private Lives, Public Faces: Assessing International Developments in
the Formulation and Protection of the Privacy Right and their Relevance to New
Zealand Privacy Law and Policy’ (2017) [MLS]
2. Thilina Weerakkody: ‘To Speak or Not to Speak: The Necessity of a Reformation
towards the Whistle-Blower Protection in New Zealand’ (2017) [LLM]
3. Judy Lin: ‘Good Faith, The Franchising Code, the Icing or the cake?’ (2014) [BCom
4. Adam Jennings: Data Breach Notification: ‘A Mandatory Notification Model
Proposed for New Zealand’ (2014) [BCom(Hons)]
5. Rishayal Sharma: ‘Mandatory Data Breach Notification within Cross-government
Information Sharing: An opportunity missed; or to be grasped?’ (2013) [BCom(Hons)]
6. Daniel Aldridge: ‘The balancing act between privacy and disclosure: have the 2013
amendments to the Privacy Act 1993 swung the pendulum too far?’ (2013) [BCom


Research Grant Received

Faculty Research Development Fund Grant 2008

Teaching Scholarship

GUNASEKARA, G.N, SIMS, A.J., 2004, ‘Teaching ICANZ and Elective Law Papers at The University of Auckland: Some Observations as to Teaching Methodology and Content’ in the Accounting and Commercial Law Conference 23-24 August 2004 at Victoria University of Wellington.


Service to the University at Departmental Level

  • Director of the External Relations and Development
  • Academic Convenor of the Staff Student Consultative Committee

Service to the University at and beyond the Faculty Level

  • The Department of Commercial Law’s representative at the meetings of the Law Faculty
  • The Department’s representative on the Business School Staff Council (BSSC)
  • The point of contact between the Department and the law firm Gaze Burt

Areas of expertise

  • Franchising law
  • Privacy and data protection

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand
  • Member, Australasian Law Teachers Association (since 2004)
  • Member, Legal Research Foundation
  • Member, International Association of Privacy Professionals (iapp/ANZ) (since 2012)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Gunasekara, G. (2018). Making a difference? The Privacy Act and employment relationship problems in New Zealand. New Zealand Universities Law Review, 28 (1), 25-53. Related URL.
  • Gunasekara, G., & Singh, N. (2017). Upping the ante: New actors and the evolving nature of Privacy Act jurisprudence in New Zealand. Victoria University of Wellington Law Review, 48 (3), 441-469.
  • Gunasekara, G. N., & Xiong, J. (2016). Lost in translation? Privacy and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in commerce in the United States. New Zealand Business Law Quarterly, 22 (3), 162-187.
  • Buchan, J., & Gunasekara, G. (2015). Administrative Law Parallels with Private Law Concepts: Unconscionable Conduct, Good Faith and Fairness in Franchise Relationships. Adelaide Law Review, 36 (2), 541-575. Related URL.
  • Gunasekara, G. N., & Xharra, N. (2014). Smokescreen or the real deal: Website privacy notices of companies listed in New Zealand. New Zealand Business Law Quarterly, 20 (4), 260-288. Related URL.
  • Gunasekara, G. (2013). Privacy as a Stakeholder Interest in New Zealand: Transparency in Corporate Governance Practices. New Zealand Business Law Quarterly, 19 (4), 271-293. Related URL.
  • Gunasekara, G. (2013). Paddling in unison or just paddling? International trends in reforming information privacy law. International Journal of Law and Information Technology10.1093/ijlit/eat013
  • Gunasekara, G. N., & Toy, A. R. (2011). Principles or Rules: the Place of Information Privacy Law. New Zealand Universities Law Review, 24 (4), 525-549.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Alan Toy


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 5, Room 568
New Zealand

Social links

Web links