I re-joined the ANU as an Associate Professor in July 2015 from the UK, where I was an Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute for International Affairs, London (Chatham House) and a Research Associate of the Global Economic Governance programme at the University of Oxford's Blavatnik School of Government. I have worked in the federal public service, an intergovernmental organisation, academia, civil society, the private sector and freelance consulting. From Zimbabwe, I hold degrees from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), Cambridge University, and the ANU. I am admitted as a Legal Practitioner in New South Wales and in 2021 became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am a member of the global committee on 'Human Rights in Times of Emergency' of the International Law Association.
- Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy 2021-
- Associate Dean (International), ANU College of Law 2017-2022
- ANU Academic Board, 2018-2021
- ANU College of Law Executive 2017-2022
Significant research publications
- See 'Research' for post-2015 publications
Read selected publications in the ANU Digital Collection
In the Media
Who makes our clothes and under what conditions do they work? Join experts and student research interns from ANU College of Law who will discuss the emerging patterns of corporate reporting on modern slavery.
Join ANU College of Asia Pacific and ANU College of Law in this two-day event series addressing modern slavery in the Oceania region and beyond.
- The Hon Alan Robertson SC
Open to first year law students, join Professor Jolyon Ford as he moderates a student ‘Q&A’ session at the law school with The Honourable Alan Robertson SC, retired judge of the Federal Court of Australia.
- Associate Professor Jolyon Ford
Join Associate Professor Jolyon Ford as he explores some design assumptions behind the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cwth), Australia’s new non-punitive yet mandatory corporate reporting scheme on human rights risks in supply chains.
Read selected publications in the ANU Digital Collection
My research is typically cross-disciplinary, grounded in regulatory theory, and with a strong public policy orientation. I am mainly interested in ways to shape responsible business behaviours and to influence the social and governance impact of business and investment activity especially in fragile, post-conflict and transitional settings; the private sector’s role in conflict resolution and peacebuilding; emerging regulatory frameworks on the human rights responsibilities of business enterprises; and the governance of responsible new technologies, especially AI.
I also write and research on macro-trends in the global human rights project, in particular the future of the human rights idea in a populist, post-truth (and post-pandemic) world.
My wider and past research interests include human rights in the context of counter-terrorism and 'rule of law' scholarship reflecting on the role of law, lawyers and legal institutions in developing countries, especially where emerging from conflict or diplomatic isolation. From 2008 to 2018 I was a senior research consultant to the 'International Crime in Africa' programme at the Institute for Security Studies, Africa’s leading think-tank.
Research projects & collaborations
I am collaborating with colleagues in Australia and abroad on various projects. Current and recent funded projects include:
* 'Navigating the Populist Backlash against International Law and Institutions' (Australian Research Council 'Discovery' Project 2022-2026) (with Farrall and Saunders)
* 'Governance of Critical Technologies in the Indo-Pacific' (Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade DFAT 2022-2023) (with National Law University, Delhi)
* 'Asia Dialogue of AI Governance' (Microsoft Asia) 2019-22
* 'Regulating AI: Research for Policy' (ANU-funded research collaboration with SMU Singapore) 2019-20
* 'Navigating the Backlash against Global Norms and Institutions' (ANU-funded research project with two US partner universities) 2019-20, with Farrall and Saunders
* 'Responsible business and the SDGs' (Danish government-funded research project 2017-2021) (with the Danish Institute for Human Rights')
* 'Corporate reporting on human rights risks in supply chains (Modern Slavery Act)' (CPA Australia funded project 2018-2019 (with Justine Nolan and Aziz Islam)
See 'Research projects and collaborations'
Books & edited collections
- FORD, J., Regulating Business for Peace (Cambridge University Press, 2015)
- FORD, J., and Findlay, M., Seah, J., and Thampapillai, D., (eds.) Regulatory Insights on Artificial Intelligence: Research for Policy (Edward Elgar, 2022)
- FORD, J., Re-imagining Human Rights in a Populist, Post-Truth World (Routledge, forthcoming 2023)
- Ford, J., Written Submission to Australian Human Rights Commission ‘Technology and Human Rights’ Public Enquiry, April 2020
- Ford, J., Written Submission to Dept. of Trade and Industry (CSIRO/Data61) Public Enquiry on ‘An Ethical AI Framework for Australia’, May 2019
- Ford, J., Written Submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission / WEF White Paper on ‘The Governance of Responsible Innovation’ (Technology and Human Rights), March 2019
- Ford, J., Written Submission (Project Finance, Human Rights High-Risk and Fragile States) to the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Inquiry into the Export Credit and Insurance Agency Amendment Bill 2019, March 2019
- Ford, J., Expert consultation paper on ‘exposure draft’ of the Modern Slavery Bill (invitation to consult from the Minister’s office), May 2018
- Ford, J., Submission to Modern Slavery Bill drafting team, Dept. of Home Affairs, on ‘Defining ‘Supply Chains’ in a Modern Slavery Act’, May 2018
- Ford, J., Written Submission to Attorney-General’s Department, ‘Consultation on a Modern Slavery Act for Australia’, October 2017
- Ford, J., Written Submission to Parliamentary Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade on ‘Proposals for a Modern Slavery Act in Australia’ (August 2017; testified to this paper to the Committee on 11 August 2017) (with Justine Nolan)
Global Committee on 'Human Rights in Times of Emergency' (International Law Association, 2020-)
National Working Groups on 'Standards for Responsible AI' (Standards Australia / ISO, 2020 and 2021)
Case notes & book reviews
Regularly act as a peer reviewer for proposed publications in my fields of study
Business and Human Rights
- ‘Regulating transparency and disclosure on human rights and modern slavery in corporate supply chains' (2020) Australian Journal of Human Rights (Special Issue on Business and Human Rights), Louise Chappell, Justine Nolan and Glen Wolter (eds.) (with Justine Nolan)
- ‘Domestic institutionalisation of business and human rights: national protection systems amid transnational dynamics’ (2019) 37(3) Nordic Journal of Human Rights 216-233 (Special Issue on National Human Rights Protection Systems), Steven Jensen, Stéphanie Lagoutte and Sébastien Lorion (eds.) (with Claire O'Brien)
- 'Empty Rituals or Workable Models? Towards a business and human rights treaty' (2017) 40(3) UNSW Law Journal 1223 (with Claire O'Brien)
‘The Risk of Regulatory Ritualism: proposals for a treaty on business and human rights’ Working Paper 2016/118, Global Economic Governance Programme (University of Oxford, April 2016)
- 'Business and Human Rights: bridging the governance gap' (Chatham House, London, 2015)
- 'Business and Human Rights: emerging challenges to consensus and coherence' (Chatham House, London, 2015)
‘Globalisation and Clinical Trials: Transnational Litigation’ in Bennett, B. & Tomossy, G. (eds.) Globalisation and Health: Challenges for Health Law and Bioethics (Springer, Amsterdam) (with George Tomossy)
‘Globalisation, Clinical Research and Developing Countries: the Plaintiff’s Challenge’ (2004) Jnl of Law, Social Justice and Global Development (with George Tomossy)
Business and Peace
- ‘Beyond rhetoric or reactivity on SDG 16: towards a principled policy basis for engaging business in peacebuilding’ in Miklian, J., Katsos, J., and Alluri, R., (eds.) Business, Peace and Sustainable Development: Beyond the SDGs (Routledge, 2019).
'Business, Human Rights and Peace in Popular Culture' ANU Working Paper Series, 2016.
‘Theorising a principled basis for engaging business in peacebuilding’, Conference Paper, 57th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, March 2016, Atlanta
‘Promoting Conflict-sensitive Business Activity During Peacebuilding’ Working Paper 2016/1, Swisspeace (Bern, April 2016)
‘The Private Sector as a Stakeholder in Inclusive Peacebuilding’ (2015) 63 Development Dialogue 138 (Stockholm, Dag Hammarskjold Institute).
- 'Perspectives on the evolving 'business and peace' debate' (2015) 29(4) Academy of Management Perspectives 1
- 'Investing in Stability: can extractive-sector development help build peace? (Chatham House, London, 2015) (co-author)
- ‘Towards a model of UN-sponsored post-conflict regulation of responsible business activity’ (2014)(4) Journal of Business, Peace and Sustainable Development 84-106 (Greenleaf)
‘Engaging Business in Post-Conflict Recovery: a role for SADPA?’ Policy Brief (Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, 2014)
‘Engaging the Private Sector in Africa’s Peaceful Development’ Policy Brief (Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, 2014)
‘Too little, too late? International Oversight of Contract Negotiations during Liberia’s Transition’ (2010) 17(3) International Peacekeeping 361-376 (with Kyla Tienhaara)
‘International Oversight of Contract Negotiations in Post-Conflict Liberia’ Issues Paper 12, 2009 (Centre for International Governance & Justice, ANU) (with Kyla Tienhaara)
‘Terminology Matters: Statebuilding, Nationbuilding and Peacebuilding’ Issues Paper No. 6, 2009 (Centre for International Governance & Justice, ANU) (with Bina D’Costa)
‘Peacebuilding and the Private Sector: Scoping a Research Agenda’ Issues Paper 4, 2008 (Centre for International Governance & Justice, ANU) (with Kylie McKenna)
Governance of Responsible New Technologies
- Findlay, M., Ford, J., Seah, J., and Thampapillai, D., (eds.) Regulatory Insights on Artificial Intelligence: Regulating for Policy (Edward Elgar 2022) (with Mark Findlay)
- ‘Governance of Responsible AI: from ethical guidelines to regulatory frameworks’ in Findlay, M., Ford, J., Seah, J., and Thampapillai, D., (eds.) Regulatory Insights on Artificial Intelligence: Regulating for Policy (Edward Elgar, 2022)
- 'Embracing Difference: governance of critical technologies in the Indo-Pacific (Quad Tech Network, ANU National Security College, Canberra, 2021)
Human rights, international crime / counter-terrorism, and the rule of law
- 'COVID-19, International Human Rights Law and the State-Corporate Complex', (2021) Australian Yearbook of International Law, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 195-213.
- 'Backlash Against a Rules-Based International Human Rights Order: An Australian Perspective', (2020) Australian Yearbook of International Law vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 175-198.
- 'Navigating the Backlash against Global Law and Institutions', (2020) Australian Yearbook of International Law, vol. 38, pp. 33-77 (with Danchin, P, Farrall, J, Rana, S, Saunders, I, & Verhoeven, D)
- ‘The Multilateral Human Rights System: Systemic Challenge or Healthy Contestation?’ Symposium (Special Issue) on ‘Populist Challenges to the International Legal Order’ (2020) 35 Maryland Journal of International Law 90
- 'Counter-terrorism, human rights and the rule of law in Africa: the next decade' (Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria)
- African Counter-terrorism Legal Frameworks a Decade after 2001 (Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria)
- Bringing Fairness to International Justice: A Handbook on the ICC for Defence Lawyers in Africa (Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria)
- Beyond the ‘War on Terror’: Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism in the Maghreb (Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria)
- Unable or Unwilling? Domestic Implementation of the ICC Statute in Selected African Countries (Institute for Security Studies) (with Max du Plessis)
Constitutionalism and constitution-making in transitional societies
- ‘Some Reflections on a Decade of International and Comparative Influence on the Jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court’ in du Plessis, M. & Pete, S. (eds.) Constitutional Democracy in South Africa 1994 – 2004 (Lexis-Nexis Butterworths, Durban)
- ‘South Africa’ in Bermann, G., (ed.) Party Autonomy: Constitutional and International Limits in Comparative Perspective (Juris, New York) (with Max du Plessis)
- ‘Developing the Common Law: Horizontality, the Human Rights Act and South Africa’s Experience’ European Human Rights Law Review 3 (with Max du Plessis)
- ‘The ‘Age of Constitutions’? Lessons for Afghanistan and Iraq from Constitution-Making in Europe’ Paper No. 132 (National Europe Centre, Canberra)
- Commonwealth Model National Plan of Action on Human Rights 2007 (author, for the Commonwealth Expert Group)
- Commonwealth Manual on Human Rights Training for Police 2006 (with Pieter Cronje)
- ‘Human Rights’ in Commonwealth Manual on Counter-Terrorism Practice and Procedure 2006 (author)
- Commonwealth Handbook on Ratification of Human Rights Instruments 2006 (with Max du Plessis)
- Model Curriculum on Human Rights for Commonwealth Universities 2006 (author)
- Model Curriculum on Human Rights for Indian Universities 2005 (author)
- ‘Principled Engagement? Donors and HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe 2000-2010’ in Pedersen, M. and Kinley, D. Principled Engagement: Promoting Human Rights in Repressive Regimes (Ashgate) (with Joel Negin)
- ‘Transitional Justice: A Truth Commission for Zimbabwe?’ (2009) 58(1) International and Comparative Law Quarterly 73-117 (with Max du Plessis)
- ‘Peacebuilding in Zimbabwe: The Longer-term role of International Actors’ Issues Paper No. 7 (Centre for International Governance & Justice, ANU)
- ‘Rebuilding Zimbabwe: Australia’s Role in the Transition’ Policy Brief Series (Lowy Institute for International Policy, Sydney)
- ‘Australia’s Aid to Africa’ Australian Review of Public Affairs (online)
- ‘Australian – African relations: another look’ (2003) Australian Journal of International Affairs 57(1) 17 (Issue on ‘Threats, Alliances, Security’)
Currently supervising various PhD candidates
Available by application and negotiation to supervise postgraduate and higher degree research in relevant areas.
LLM Masters thesis supervision
Available to supervise postgraduate research in relevant areas.
Honours thesis supervision
Co-supervise internships on 'Corporate Reporting on Modern Slavery' with Walk Free (London) and WikiRate (Berlin) 2019-
|Year||Course code||Course name|
|Graduate Research Unit|
|Supervised Research Paper|
|Business, Human Rights and Corporate Responsibility|
|International Commercial Arbitration|
|Law Capstone Project|
- Convenor, 'Torts' (LLB/JD) 2016-
- Convenor, 'Business, Human Rights and Corporate Responsibility' (LLM) 2016-
- Convenor, 'International Commercial Arbitration' (LLM) 2019-
- Convenor, Student Research Projects (LLB, JD, LLM) 2022-
- Convenor, 'Law Internships' (LLB/JD) 2019
- Convenor, 'Law and Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa' (LLM) 2016-
- Convenor (2016) and Director (2017-2019), DFAT Graduate Training Programme in International Law
- Guest Lecturer 2015 onwards (various including ANU Crawford School; LLM in Law, Governance and Development; other)
How my works connects with public policy