Dr Rebecca Monson

Senior Lecturer
BA(Hons I)/LLB (Hons I), PhD
+61 2 6125 8271
Room 6.3.075

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Rebecca is an interdisciplinary researcher with a strong record of research and practice in property rights and natural resource management, climate change and natural disasters, and gender relations, particularly in Australia and the Pacific. She draws on approaches in law, geography, anthropology and history to explore questions of regulatory pluralism and social inequality that are interest to researchers, policy makers and practitioners working in a variety of contexts.

Rebecca has undertaken fieldwork in Fij, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, and seeks to use participatory research methods wherever possible and appropriate. Her long-term engagement with communities in Solomon Islands has been central to her learning.

Rebecca’s current work focuses on four particular areas: (1) gender, legal pluralism and property rights, (2) climate change, displacement and property regimes in the Pacific, (3) gender, customary and informal justice, and rule of law programming and (4) contemporary oceans governance and 'The Rush for Oceania'.

Rebecca’s work appears in influential journals and edited volumes with leading academic presses. She regularly provides public policy advice to government agencies, donors and non-government organisations.

Rebecca has led law, governance and development teaching in the ANU College of Law, is a member of the board of the ANU Pacific Institute, and co-founder of the Australian Critical Development Studies Network.

Prior to joining the ANU, Rebecca worked as a practising lawyer in the private sector and for non-government organisations, where she specialised in disaster and emergency management law; housing, land and property rights; and planning and environment law. She has has two young children and currently works part-time.


  • Convenor, Law, Governance and Development
  • Director, ANU College of Law Higher Degree Research
  • Member, Academic Staff and Higher Degree Research Committee
  • Board member, Pacific Institute
  • Co-founder and Co-convenor, Australian Critical Development Studies Network


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 ANU College of Law Discretionary Research Grant
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


In May, ANU College of Law Professor Daniel Fitzpatrick was an invited expert at the Nansen Initiative Pacific Consultation on Cross-Border Displacement from Natural Disasters and Climate Change.


Congratulations to all students and staff who received awards at the ANU College of Law Graduation Ceremony on Friday 14 December 2012. 


Congratulations to Christine Beuermann, Joanne Lee, Rebecca Monson and James Stellios who have received their Doctor of Philosophy degrees at the ANU graduation ceremony on Thursday 13 December 2012.


Congratulations to College of Law academics Daniel Fitzpatrick and Rebecca Monson, who received an Australian Research Council (ARC)

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

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 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)


PhD supervision

I have supervised the following students in the ANU College of Law:

  • Brad Jessup, PhD, ‘Concepts of Justice in Australian Environmental Law’ - Panel member 2018-2019.
  • Caroline Compton, ‘Institutional Resilience in Post-Disaster Recovery’ - Panel member.

  • Bal Kama, PhD, ANU College of Law, ‘An Indigenous Judiciary in an Autochthonous Constitution: A Necessity or Nuisance?’ - Primary supervisor, 2013-2017 (until I commenced parental leave)

In addition to supervising students within the ANU College of Law, I have supervised, or am currently supervising, the following students:

  • Joseph D. Foukona 'Why Land Reform Continues to Fail in Melanesia', PhD Candidate in School of Culture, History and Languages, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific (panel member)
  • Bianca Hennessey - research on pedagogy in the field of Pacific Studies, PhD Candidate in the School of Culture, History and Languages, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific (panel member)
  • Daniel Evans, SSGM/DPA, College of Asia and the Pacific. “‘Beyond Next Tomorrow’: An Examination of Urban Male Youth in Solomon Islands” - Panel member, 2015-ongoing.

Current courses

Year Course code Course name
2019 LAWS8329
Class #5658
Gender, Law and Development

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