Jailhouse lawyer Arthur Taylor's efforts to formally study law in Dunedin have hit a snag.

The University of Otago Law School has suggested he wait until the second semester, or next year, before attending class.

In February, Taylor was released from Waikeria Prison on parole, where he had been serving a jail term of 17-and-a-half years.

Now resident in Dunedin, the self-trained Taylor - who while in prison took several high-profile and often successful cases against various government departments and officers - had intended to enrol in the School of Law.


However, correspondence seen by the Otago Daily Times showed Dean of Law Jessica Palmer was ''not comfortable'' that Taylor be enrolled immediately upon his release.

''I believe that he should take some time to adjust to living outside of prison and establishing relationships in the community and that he should then meet with me to discuss matters to give me the confidence that he is equipped to participate in class and at the university in a way that works for all of us.''

Depending on what paper he enrolled in, Taylor could well have been studying his own cases - many of them traversed significant questions of public law and feature in courses.

Palmer said she needed to consider the interests of all students and staff within the faculty and the wider university, and wanted to be sure that his presence or participation would not be disruptive.

However, Palmer did not torpedo Taylor's study ambitions, saying that subject to the Vice-chancellor's approval, she would expect to support him in enrolling for an advanced law paper without meeting the normal requirement of having passed first and second-year law papers.

After receiving that letter Taylor chose not to apply to study this semester, and was considering his options.

Hazel Heal, a supporter of Taylor and at whose home he is living, said he was ''understandably disappointed'' at not being able to study in semester one but she noted ''it is good there is still an open door''.

''However Arthur is 62, had done his time, was subject to no conditions, had the support, pre release, of Corrections for the plan, and will be as academically eligible in semester two as he was in semester one,'' she said.


''He is pretty incredible to behold, how quickly he has found his feet, and is busy helping people, as well as enjoying life,'' Heal said.

Taylor could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Today, the Court of Appeal also ordered the Crown to pay Taylor's legal costs after his successful case over prisoner voting rights.

The High Court ruled that denying New Zealand's prisoners the right to vote was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights. The decision was upheld by the Supreme Court last year after an appeal by the Attorney-General.

The amount of the costs awarded to Taylor will be determined at a later date.