Professor Jolyon Ford SFHEA

BA, LLB (KwaZulu-Natal), LLM (Cambridge), PhD (ANU)
+61 2 6125 4164
Room 7.3.14

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Ford re-joined the ANU as an Associate Professor in July 2015 from the UK, where he 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. He has worked in the federal public service, an intergovernmental organisation, academia, civil society, the private sector and freelance consulting. He holds degrees from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), Cambridge University, and the ANU. He is admitted as a Legal Practitioner in New South Wales and in 2021 was appointed a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Ford is a member of the global committee on 'Human Rights in Times of Emergency' of the International Law Association. He was a 2021-2022 Fulbright Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. He served on the ANU College of Law executive from 2017 to 2022. Over 2022-2026 he helps lead an ARC (Australian Research Council) funded project 'Reconceiving Engagement with International Law in a Populist Era'. His most recent book is Populism and Human Rights (Routledge 2023, forthcoming).


  • 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

Recent news

Jo Ford
Professor Jolyon Ford SFHEA raises profound questions in his new book about the future of human rights as a language with power and activity with societal impact in an era marked by populist politics.
The Centre for International and Public Law sponsored two exciting research events in the US over the Australian winter.  The events were part of larger fieldwork projects undertaken by two Australian research teams, both funded by Australian Research Council Discovery Project grants.
Claire Gay
Claire Gay has recently graduated from the ANU College of Law with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons)/ Bachelor of Arts. Here's her story.
Guhong Zhou has landed a coveted graduate role at a top-tier Sydney law firm, capping off a memorable academic experience enriched by prizes, mentorship and an unshakeable focus.

In the Media

Jolyon Ford speaks to Canberra Weekly
Jolyon Ford interviewed by Voice of America
Jolyon Ford interviewed by CIBER Focus
Jolyon Ford speaks to ABC The World Today

Upcoming events

Human rights and populism
5.30PM to 7.00PM Book launch

Join us to celebrate Professor Jolyon Ford's new book 'Human Rights and Populism' (Routledge, 2023)

Past events

 Modern slavery in supply chains: Assessing corporate reporting
5.30PM to 6.30PM Webinar

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.

Modern slavery protest
5.30PM to 12.00PM Seminar

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 Justice Alan Robertson
3.00PM to 4.00PM Current students
  • 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.

Transparency and accountability in the ‘age of information’
1.00PM to 2.00PM ANU College of Law Research Seminar
  • 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

Research biography

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. I am the author of Populism and Human Rights (Routledge, 2023) and co-lead the ARC-funded project 'Reconceiving Engagement with International Law in an Era of Populism' (2022-2026).

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:

* 'Reconceiving Engagement with International Law in an Era of Populism' (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-

* '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

Government submissions

  • 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

  • ‘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

Governance of Responsible New Technologies

  • ‘Regulatory Insights on Artificial Intelligence: Framing the Agenda on ‘Research for Policy’ in 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) (with Damian Clifford)

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


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’)


Currently supervising

PhD supervision

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


    Internship supervision

    Co-supervise internships on 'Corporate Reporting on Modern Slavery' with Walk Free (London) and WikiRate (Berlin) 2019-

    Current courses

    Year Course code Course name
    2023 LAWS8254
    Class #4571
    Business, Human Rights and Corporate Responsibility
    2023 LAWS8301
    Class #4118
    Graduate Research Unit
    2023 LAWS8301
    Class #7148
    Graduate Research Unit
    2023 LAWS8418
    Class #7174
    International Commercial Arbitration
    2023 LAWS6700
    Class #4128
    Law Capstone Project
    2023 LAWS6700
    Class #7155
    Law Capstone Project
    2023 LAWS4300
    Class #4145
    Supervised Research Paper
    2023 LAWS4300
    Class #7166
    Supervised Research Paper
    2023 LAWS1203
    Class #4143
    2023 LAWS6103
    Class #2550

    Previous courses

    Year Course code Course name
    2021 LAWS8418
    Class #6509
    International Commercial Arbitration
    2021 LAWS6103
    Class #2706
    2021 LAWS1203
    Class #2280
    2021 LAWS8254
    Class #4617
    Business, Human Rights and Corporate Responsibility

    Past courses

    • 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

    See 'Research'.

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