Dr Jessica Hambly is a socio-legal scholar and deputy director of the ANU Law Reform and Social Justice (LRSJ) research and policy group. She joined the ANU College of Law as a postdoctoral fellow in February 2020.
With research interests spanning asylum law and procedure, refugee rights, gender and migration, legal geography, and other fields, Dr Hambly was drawn to the ANU College of Law by its reputation as “a top research institution with leading scholars in the field”.
“I wanted a ‘research home’ where I could develop my own research, but also know that I’m in a network of other research-intensive scholars,” she says.
As Australia’s national law school, the ANU College of Law strives to shape and influence public policy with an emphasis on the values of law reform and social justice. For Dr Hambly, the opportunity to embed this ethos in her research and teaching was a huge advantage.
“When I was looking up ANU College of Law, LRSJ was one of the research groups that caught my eye. It was a real standout to see this as an initiative and reflect the College’s own commitment to social justice,” she says of the group, which has a dozen student-led projects related to Indigenous reconciliation, climate justice, refugees, rule of law and more.
“A lot of my research is socio-legal and related to the courts, so to have these institutions – from the ACT Supreme Court to the High Court of Australia – literally on our doorstep is really exciting.”
Dr Hambly was appointed a senior lecturer in October 2021, sealing a memorable experience as a postdoctoral fellow shaped by significant research outputs.
“The opportunities were there to progress my career. It was really nice to be trusted with things quite early on, from projects that align with my expertise and research interests to other things that challenged me,” she says.
The opportunities for transdisciplinary work at ANU – home to seven academic colleges and dozens of schools – have also paved the way for meaningful scholarly collaborative experiences, says Dr Hambly.
“You could be any legal scholar and find someone outside of law who is doing similar research to you,” she explains.
“Early on, I was involved in NECTAR (The Network for Early Career Academics at ANU). It gave me the opportunity to meet other early career scholars from across ANU.”
Originally from the United Kingdom, Dr Hambly admits life in the ‘bush capital’ won her over soon after arriving with its abundance of accessible green space, picturesque natural environment and rich bushland settings.
“The city itself was a massive attraction,” she says.
“I love living in Canberra because you have political and cultural institutions, the lake (Lake Burley Griffin), mountains and just a really high standard of living. It lends itself to an excellent work-life balance.”