Dr Imogen Saunders

Senior Lecturer
LLB (Hons) BSc PhD
+61 2 6125 8142
Room 5.3.19

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Dr Imogen Saunders completed her undergraduate degrees in law and science at the University of Western Australia, and was awarded her PhD from the Australian National University in 2013.

Imogen teaches and researches in public international law. She is interested in the application of international law to new areas, the rule of law in times of change, the history of international law and sources of international law. She is currently working on projects on international law and social media, backlashes against international law, and the history of women in international law.

Imogen teaches international law and international trade law in the LLB/JD and LLM programs. She is currently the Director of Teaching and Learning at the ANU College of Law.


  • Senior Lecturer, ANU College of Law, 2018
  • Lecturer, ANU College of Law, 2013
  • Associate Lecturer, ANU College of Law, 2012

Significant research publications

  • General Principles as a Source of International Law: Art 38(1)(c) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice (Hart, forthcoming, contract accepted August 2019)
  • ‘Populism, backlash and the ongoing use of the World Trade Organisation dispute settlement system: State Responses to the Appellate Body crisis (forthcoming)' (2020) Maryland Journal of International Law
  • Danchin, Farrall, Ford, Shruti and Saunders et al. 'Navigating the Backlash against Global Law and Institutions (forthcoming)' (2020) 38 Australian Yearbook of International Law 
  • ‘Navigating the backlash: re-integrating WTO and public international law? (forthcoming)' (2020) 38 Australian Yearbook of International Law 
  • 'The Limits of the Natural State Doctrine: Rocks, islands and artificial intervention in a changing world' in Donald R. Rothwell and David Letts (eds), Law of the Sea in South East Asia: Environmental, Navigational and Security Challenges (Routledge, 2019)
  • ‘Artificial Islands and Territory in International Law’ (2019) 52 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 643 
  • Rothwell, Kaye, Akhtar-Khavari, Davis and Saunders, International Law: Case and Materials with Australian Perspectives (Cambridge University Press, 3rd ed 2018)
  • 'The South China Sea Award, Artificial Islands and Territory' (2017) 34 Australian Yearbook of International Law 31
  • 'General principles of law and a source-based approach to the regulation of international security institutions’ in Hitoshi Nasu and Kim Rubenstein (eds), Legal Perspectives on Security Institutions (Cambridge University Press, 2015)
  • 'International disaster relief law and Article 38(1)(c) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice: the forgotten source of international law' in David Caron, Michael Kelly and Anastasia Telesetky (eds), The International Law of Disaster Relief (Cambridge University Press, July 2014)

Recent news

Imogen Saunders
Dr Imogen Saunders is a senior lecturer at ANU College of Law.
Dr Imogen Saunders
Meet Inspiring Woman of ANU Law, Dr Imogen Saunders.
Navigating the Backlash against Global Law and Institutions
ANU Law scholars are in the US this week for a global project exploring the populist-driven backlash to the international, rules-based legal order.
Law of the Sea in South East Asia: Environmental, Navigational and Security Challenges
A new book co-edited by Associate Professor David Letts AM CSM and Professor Donald Rothwell FAAL presents a holistic picture of maritime issues affecting South East Asia.

In the Media

Imogen Saunders writes in The Interpreter
Imogen Saunders writes in APPS Policy Forum
Imogen Saunders interviewed by The Canberra Times

Past events

Pandemic Paradox
6.00PM to 7.30PM 60th Anniversary Celebrations

This event will examine the contours and consequences COVID-19 had on the areas of patriotism, borders and equality and discuss how international law and legal institutions can navigate populist-driven threats.

Book launch Law of the Sea in South East Asia
5.15PM to 6.30PM Book launch

The book Law of the Sea in South East Asia will be launched by Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN, Chief of Navy on 19 November 2019.

Please note, only a small selection of recent publications and activities are listed below.

Research biography

Imogen researches in public international law, focussing on the application of international law in new contexts. Her current projects focus on backlashes against international law, sources of international law, and social media's impact on international law.

Research projects & collaborations

  • Navigating the Backlash against Global Law and Institutions - a collaberation between the Australian National University, the University of Maryland and Indiana University.

Books & edited collections

Book chapters

Refereed journal articles

Conference papers & presentations

  • ‘Backlashes to the International Rules Based Order in Space’ delivered at Navigating the Backlash against Global Law and Institutions (ANU Global Research Partnerships Scheme Workshop between ANU, University of Indiana and the University of Maryland) Indiana University, 15 October 2019

  • ‘When is an island not an island? Territory in the South China Sea – Rocks, Islands and Artificial Islands’ ANU Centre for Military and Security Law Conference, The Law of the Sea in the Asia Pacific Region: Opportunities, Threats and Challenges, Canberra, August 2017
  • 'Territoriality and international law: Implications for the East China Sea' Inaugural joint Australian National University and Korean Association of the Law of the Sea workshop: Maritime delimitation, islands, security and dispute settlement: Korean and Australian perspectives on contemporary issues in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, Canberra, May 2016
  • 'General Principles of Law from 1875 to 1920 and beyond: tracing a legacy of war and peace through the development of the third source of international law.' Paper presented, Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law 22nd Conference: Towards International Peace through International Law, Canberra, July 2014
  • 'General Principles of Law and Disaster Risk Reduction: Applying Source Theory to International Disaster Relief Law' Paper written and Presented, Four Societies of International Law Conference, University of California, Berkeley, September 2012

Case notes & book reviews


  • 'Artificial Islands and Territorality in International Law' RegNet Innovations Seminar, the Australian National University, June 2016

Current courses

Year Course code Course name
2020 LAWS4010
Class #1418
Jessup Moot
2020 LAWS4302
Class #9179
International Law Clinic
2020 LAWS6010
Class #1426
Jessup Moot
2020 LAWS6302
Class #9180
International Law Clinic
2020 LAWS8229
Class #6783
International Law of World Trade
2020 LAWS4226
Class #6784
International Trade Law

Previous courses

Year Course code Course name
2019 LAWS8182
Class #1689
Principles of International Law

Past courses

  • Convener, International Trade Law (LLB/JD)
  • Co-Convener, International Trade Law (LLM)
  • Lecturer, Priniciples of International (LLM)
  • Co-Convener, Property Law (LLB/JD)
  • Faculty Adviser, Phillip C Jessup Moot Competition (LLB/JD)

How my works connects with public policy

I regularly publish commentary on international law and public policy.  Recent publications include:

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team