Associate Professor Jolyon Ford

Associate Professor and Associate Dean (International)
BA, LLB (KwaZulu-Natal), LLM (Cambridge), PhD (ANU)
+61 2 6125 4164
Room 223

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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. Before that I held a senior role at Oxford Analytica. 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.


  • Associate Dean (International) 2016-
  • Sub-Dean, International Exchanges 2016-
  • Acting Coordinator, Myanmar Partnerships for Development Project 2016
  • Co-Convenor, DFAT Graduate Training Programme in International Law 2016
  • Convenor, LLM International Law stream 2015
  • Editor, ANU College of Law SSRN Series 2015-16
  • Extraordinary Member, Executive of the African Studies Association of Australia and the Pacific (AFSAAP) 2015-

Significant research publications

Read selected publications in the ANU Digital Collection

Recent news

Blurred Crowd

How might the Trump era affect trends in responsible business (and its regulation)? Associate Professor Jolyon Ford' returns to his blog Private Sector - Public World for the first post of 2017.

UN flag

A/Professor Jo Ford (PhD '11) is set to speak next week at the United Nations ‘Business for Peace’ Summit in Dubai.

Associate Professor Ford says there is nowhere to hide for businesses that violate human rights. Image: CiaoHo, Flickr.

"New technologies are leaving nowhere to hide" is the stark warning for firms that become complicit in systematic human rights violations, says A/Prof Jolyon Ford, the author of an international report into the human rights impact of business activities.


At ANU Open Day, you'll see, hear and discover why the ANU College of Law is ranked among the top 15 law schools in the world. We have a program of events on this Saturday (27 August) that will give you many opportunities to speak with staff and students to get an insight into what it is like studying at Australia’s national law school.

In the Media

Jolyon Ford interviewed by ABC 666 Breakfast

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

Read selected publications in the ANU Digital Collection

Research biography

My research is often cross-disciplinary with a strong policy orientation. I am mainly interested in ways to influence the social and governance impact of business and investment activity in fragile, post-conflict and transitional settings; the private sector’s role in conflict resolution and peacebuilding; and emerging regulatory frameworks on the human rights responsibilities of business enterprises.

My wider research interest involves reflecting on the role of law, lawyers and legal institutions in less-developed countries, especially where emerging from conflict or diplomatic isolation. Since 2008 I have been a senior research consultant to the Institute for Security Studies, Africa’s leading donor-funded think-tank, mainly on the rule-of-law and human rights dimensions of countering terrorism in Africa.

Research projects & collaborations

Since 2014 I have been advising a UK-based research-backed initiative to foster cross-sector collaboration and private sector engagement in building resilience and reducing fragility and conflict risk in strategic hub cities of the developing world.

In 2016-17 I am involved in a solo research project entitled ‘Profiting from Pariahs: investors, diplomacy and democratic transitions’. This book project is supported by research funding from the College Small Grants Scheme. It considers what principles should guide public policy in engaging with responsible private sector investment in countries beginning to emerge from diplomatic isolation.


College Small Grants Scheme award 2015


  • Senior expert on legal and human rights issues for Trustworks, helping companies and donor organisations to manage the complexities of investment in fragile and conflict-affected settings.

  • Part of the Experts Roster of the UNDP’s Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery.

  • Occasional advisor to The Partnering Initiative, working to promote public-private partnership on the sustainable development agenda.

  • Since 2008, senior research consultant to the Institute for Security Studies, Africa's leading thinktank.

Books & edited collections

Case notes & book reviews

I often act as a blind peer reviewer for proposed publications in my fields of study


Business and Human Rights

  • ‘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

Human rights, international crime / counter-terrorism, and the rule of law

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)

Representative publications

  • 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’)


PhD supervision

Currently supervising:

  • Doctoral thesis on regulation of enviro and labour standards in Chinese resource investment in Africa (Supervisory Panel, 2016-)

Available 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

Available to Honours research in relevant areas.

  • 2016/1: Hons thesis on human rights, decentralisation and service-delivery through the jurisprudence of South Africa's constitutional court
  • 2016/1: Hons thesis on the portrayal of 'justice' in transitional societies through institutional and non-institutional modes
  • 2016/1: Hons thesis on empirical approaches to the effectiveness of amnesties as a form of transitional justice
  • 2016/2: Hons thesis on regulating human rights issues in business supply-chains in the garment sector
  • 2017/1: Hons thesis on Australian regulatory options on overseas forced labour in corporate supply chains
  • 2017/1: Hons thesis on critical perspectives on human rights discourse in the regulation of transnational corporations

Current courses

Year Course code Course name
2017 LAWS1203
Class #2520
2017 LAWS6103
Class #3714
2017 LAWS8254
Class #6720
Business, Human Rights and Corporate Responsibility

Previous courses

Year Course code Course name
2016 LAWS8071
Class #6795
Law and Governance in sub-Saharan Africa
2016 LAWS8254
Class #6840
Business, Human Rights and Corporate Responsibility
2016 LAWS1203
Class #2591

Past courses

  • Convenor, 'Torts' (LLB/JD) 2016-
  • Convenor, 'Business, Human Rights and Corporate Responsibility' (LLM) 2016-
  • Convenor, 'Law and Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa' (LLM) 2016-
  • Guest Lecturer 2015- (National Security College; LLM Law, Governance and Development; other)

How my works connects with public policy

See 'Research'

Author(s): Jolyon Ford

Blockbuster movies such as Blood Diamond or Avatar explore corporate responsibility themes in various ways. How might such popular culture products affect the emerging regulatory landscape on business-related human rights impacts and conflict-sensitive business practices? What role might popular culture -- in particular ‘big screen’ movies -- have to play in fostering greater awareness of, and business respect for, these norms and standards? Most scholarship on addressing the governance gap in these areas is directed to ‘supply-side’ factors -- how to design or improve legal, regulatory and policy initiatives. Scholars in the ‘business and human rights’ and ‘business for peace’ fields have focussed relatively little on insights as to the ‘demand side’ -- whether, how and to what extent consumer behaviour may be relevant in driving shifts in business practices or in complementing or demanding governmental action. This working paper explores a possible research agenda on how the nexus of business, human rights and peace is treated in pop culture, and what (if any) significance this might have to the universe of regulatory and other activity in this field. It asks how important pop culture might be in shaping a critical mass of informed consumers, a potentially relevant regulatory resource.

Centre: CIPL
Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy

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