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I am an academic and practising lawyer who also trained as an environmental engineer. I work at Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Australia, researching environmental and natural resources law and policy. My approach is empirical, interdisciplinary, comparative and engaged with government, NGOs, business and communities.
My academic journey started with a focus on groundwater law across the western United States and Australia, as well as further afield. From 2010-2014, I led the Comparative Groundwater Law and Policy Program, a collaborative initiative between Water in the West at Stanford University and the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. The Program focused on empirical research and stakeholder workshops to improve groundwater sustainability. I co-authored Australia’s current major water law text, Water Resources Law (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2nd ed).
Though I still keep my toes in the (ground)water, my research has now emerged above ground to investigate how law deals with cumulative environmental effects – essentially, how we can make sure that our laws can prevent environmental ‘death by a thousand cuts’. Under an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (2018-2021), my research analyses and evaluates laws that regulate cumulative environmental effects around the globe. It is the first large-scale comparative study of legal responses to cumulative effects, which scientists and others have long criticised as inadequate.
- Associate Professor and Discovery Early Career Researcher, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne
- Director, Centre for Resources, Energy and Environmental Law, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne
- Distinguished Lecturer (2016), National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training/International Association of Hydrogeologists (Australia)
- Law Council of Australia’s Mahla Pearlman Young Environmental Lawyer of the Year, 2014
- Doctor of the Science of Law (Stanford University, PhD equivalent for law; my dissertation focused on empirically assessing regulatory arrangements for protecting surface water and ecosystems from the impacts of pumping groundwater)
- General Sir John Monash Scholar, 2009
- Master of the Science of Law (Stanford University)
- Bachelor of Engineering (Environmental) and Bachelor of Laws (University of Melbourne)
- Formerly a practising lawyer at the Murray-Darling Basin Commission/Murray-Darling Basin Authority and in private practice in Australia
- Convenor, Future Cities Research Cluster, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute
- Director of the Board, Bush Heritage Australia