Professor Rebecca Monson

BA(Hons I)/LLB (Hons I), PhD
+61 2 6125 8271
Room 6.3.24

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Rebecca's research, teaching and applied policy work focuses on social inequality, natural resource governance, emergency management and justice systems, particularly in Australia and the Pacific. Her scholarship is influenced by the fields of ‘law and development’, transnational feminisms, legal geography, political ecology and Pacific Studies.

Rebecca's published work includes some of the earliest empirical studies of climate displacement and relocation in the Pacific, and in 2021-2022 she led the drafting of Solomon Islands' first climate relocation guidelines. Her book 'Gender, Property and Politics in the Pacific' (2023) exposes the link between local level property disputes, wider processes of state formation, and gendered political participation. The book won the 2023 Australian Legal Research Award prize for a book. Rebecca currently holds an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award to examine the ways in which Pacific women’s movements mobilise around natural resource rights.

Rebecca regularly provides advice on customary and informal justice systems, resource governance, climate adaptation, disaster risk reduction and the rule of law to aid donors, government agencies, and international organisations working across Australian and the Pacific region. She frequently works in collaborative teams advising on projects undertaken by organisations such as The World Bank’s Justice for the Poor program, the Asian Development Bank, the International Development Law Organisation and the International Organisation for Migration.

Rebecca has previously been Deputy Associate Dean (Research) and Director Higher Degree Research. She is currently a member of the board of the ANU Pacific Institute, and the Australian Association for Pacific Studies.

Rebecca has worked part-time since 2014. Prior to joining the ANU, she was a researcher with the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre and RMIT’s Centre for Risk and Community Safety, and a solicitor in the emergency services team at Maddocks. Rebecca has also worked in the planning and environment groups of several major law firms, for an international NGO specialising in housing, land and property rights, and as a research assistant in the Van Vollenhoven Institute at Leiden University.


  • Deputy Associate Dean (Research), ANU College of Law, 2020-2021
  • Director, ANU College of Law Higher Degree Research, 2019-2021
  • Convenor, LLM Law, Governance and Development Stream 2012-2018
  • Member, Academic Staff and Higher Degree Research Committee, 2019-2021
  • Board member, Pacific Institute 2011-
  • Board member, ANU Institute for Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Science 2019-2021 (now Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions)
  • Board member, Australian Association for Pacific Studies, 2020-
  • Co-founder and Co-convenor, Australian Critical Development Studies Network, 2017-


Year Title
2016 ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellowship Mentoring Scheme

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2013 Harvard Law School Institute for Global Law and Policy, IGLP: The Workshop 2013
2013 Ian Potter travel grant

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2012 ANU Gender Institute, Second Commendation for a PhD thesis

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2012 US Development Mentoring Program

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2009 Vice Chancellor's Travel Grant
2009 ANU College of Law Fieldwork Funding Grant
2008 Australian Federation of University Women Georgina Sweet Fellowship

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2007 Australian Postgraduate Award

Significant research publications

Read selected publications in the ANU Digital Collection

Recent news

Monson book launch panel
Professor Rebecca Monson has been awarded the 2023 Australian Legal Research Book Award in recognition of her ground-breaking monograph investigating gender inequality in Pacific land tenure.
Rebecca Monsoon
Professor Rebecca Monson has written a monograph that sheds new light on the overlapping contests over land that emerge in the context of extractive industries, urbanisation, international aid and the imposition of Western conceptions of property in Solomon Islands.
DECRA fellows
ANU has become the first Australian university to clinch three Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards in a single round within the Law and Legal Studies field of research.
Rebecca Monson
Rebecca Monson is an Associate Professor at ANU College of Law.

In the Media

Past events

Marshall Islands
2.30PM to 4.00PM In conversation
  • Senator Hilda Heine

Join Senator Hilda Heine at the ANU College of Law, co-hosted by the ANU Gender Institute.

Who speaks for the land? Gender, property and authority in the Pacific
1.00PM to 2.00PM ANU College of Law Research Seminar
  • Associate Professor Rebecca Monson

Join Associate Professor Rebecca Monson in her research seminar as she discusses women's rights to land in the Pacific islands. 

Read selected publications in the ANU Digital Collection

Research biography

Dr Rebecca Monson draws on critical approaches in law, geography, anthropology and history to explore themes of colonialism, transformations in customary governance, and social inequality. Her publications have investigated questions around property rights, natural resource governance, disaster management, and access to justice.

Rebecca regularly undertakes consultancies relating to gender, development and justice for government agencies, donors, and non-government organisations. She co-authored Justice Delivered Locally (2012), a major report for the World Bank that outlines the findings from extensive research into the management of disputes across Solomon Islands. In 2014, she was invited to present at the UNDP Regional Consultation on Women’s Access to Land and Property, which provided the basis for UNDP’s work on these issues in the Asia-Pacific.In 2019, she attended an Expert Working Group meeting on women, customary and informal justice systems held by the International Development Law Organisation in The Hague.

Rebecca also has a particular interest in the law as it relates to disasters and emergencies. Prior to joining the ANU, Rebecca was a legal practitioner specialising in emergency services law. She also worked as a researcher with the Bushfire CRC and the Centre for Risk and Community Safet at RMIT.

Rebecca uses participatory research methods whenever possible and appropriate, and is committed to ensuring that her work is accessible to the communities she works with.

Research projects & collaborations

Rebecca's current research projects focus on:

  • Gender, legal pluralism and property rights. The major output of this project is a book examining the impact of colonisation, Christianity and the cash economy on customary land tenure in Solomon Islands.
  • Climate Change, Displacement and Property Rights in the Pacific: Rebecca is currently completing an ARC-funded project, held with Professor Daniel Fitzpatrick (Monash University), examining climate-induced relocations in Solomon Islands. This includes an examination of current and historical relocations, which important insights for the rest of the region.
  • Gender, law and development: Rebecca currenty leads a collaborative project with Dr Moeen Cheema and Dr Jonathan Liljeblad, also in the ANU College of Law, into the links between gender and rule of law programming
  • The Rush for Oceania: Rebecca was invited to join an international collaboration of academics, artists and activists developing a research agenda on 'The Rush for Oceania', which would examing contemporary oceans governance and postcolonial streams of thought within research in, of and on the Pacific region.


I am regularly involved in program design, and peer-review of program design for Australian aid programs. My consulting experience includes:

  • Law and Justice Program, Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (May 2012)
  • Justice Delivered Locally, Solomon Islands Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs and the World Bank Justice for the Poor Program (recurring, 2009-12)
  • Understanding local context: evolving approaches to law and justice in Australia’s neighbourhood, AusAID (March 30 – April 1 2011)
  • Gender and Natural Resource Technical Advisor, Solomon Islands Ministry of Women, Youth and Children's Affairs and International Women’s Development Agency (June 2010)
  • Coordinator and Facilitator, Pre-Departure Training for Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development, ANU Enterprise, Canberra, ACT (recurrent, 2009-12)

Refereed journal articles

Book chapters

Conference papers & presentations

  • Monson, R, Foukona, J, Fakaia, M, Fitzpatrick, D and Handme, J et al. 2012, ‘The Frigate Bird Can Soar: Local Governance and Adaptation to Climate-Induced Displacements in Solomon Islands’, Pacific Voices: Local Governments and Climate Change; Conference Papers, pp. 102–115


Currently supervising

  • Topic: Sarouche is undertaking doctoral studies. His thesis is entitled: "Punishment, resurgence, and performativity: an exploration of constructing subjectivities in neo-Colonial civil law in Australia" and states:   In this project I aim to explore the ways the...

PhD supervision

I am supervising, or have supervised the following students:

  • Sarouche Razi, ANU College of Law, 'Civil Law as a Space of Punishment of First Nations Peoples' - Chair and Primary Supervisor
  • Brad Jessup, ANU College of Law, ‘Concepts of Justice in Australian Environmental Law’ - Panel member
  • Caroline Compton, ANU College of Law, ‘Institutional ResSilience in Post-Disaster Recovery’ - Panel member.
  • Bal Kama, ANU College of Law, ‘An Indigenous Judiciary in an Autochthonous Constitution: A Necessity or Nuisance?’ - Primary Supervisor until parental leave
  • Heidi Tyedmers, 'Re-reading Vanuatu's national narrative: gender, culture and justice in a post-colonial Pacific State' - Panel member, RegNet, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Anna Annie Kwai 'History, Culture and Contemporary Gender Discourse in Solomon Islands', School of Culture, History and Languages - Panel member, School of Culture, History and Languages in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Joseph D. Foukona 'Why Land Reform Continues to Fail in Melanesia' - Panel member, School of Culture, History and Languages, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Bianca Hennessey, 'The Possibilities of Decolonial Pacific Studies' - Panel member, School of Culture, History and Languages, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Daniel Evans, “‘Beyond Next Tomorrow’: An Examination of Urban Male Youth in Solomon Islands” - Panel member, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

Current courses

Year Course code Course name
2023 LAWS8329
Class #1570
Gender, Law and Development

Previous courses

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