Dr Rebecca Monson

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

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Rebecca is an interdisciplinary researcher with an interest in law, social inequality, and ideas of 'development'. Her current work is concentrated on (1) gender, legal pluralities, and rule of law programming; and (2) climate change, natural hazards and property regimes in Australia and the Pacific.

Rebecca’s work is primarily influenced by approaches in interdisciplinary studies of ‘law and development’, legal geography, political ecology, and feminist thought. She has worked with rural and urban communities in Australia and Solomon Islands in particular. She frequently provides advice to government agencies, non-government organisations and international development agencies (eg The World Bank, ADB, IDLO). This experience includes working in teams advising on projects in Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati, Fiji, Vanuatu and Timor Leste.

Rebecca has led law, governance and development teaching in the ANU College of Law, and is a member of leadership groups for the ANU Pacific Institute and ANU Institute for Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Science. Rebecca is currently on the board of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies and co-founded the Australian Critical Development Studies Network.

Prior to joining the ANU, Rebecca worked as a researcher for the Bushfire CRC and RMIT’s Centre for Risk and Community Safety, and as a solicitor in the emergency services team at Maddocks lawyers. She has also worked in the planning and environmental law groups of several large law firms, and for an international NGO specialising in housing, land and property rights.

Rebecca is currently finishing a monograph under contract with Cambridge University Press, on gender, property and politics in Solomon Islands, and in 2021 will commence an ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award on women's legal strategies in the Pacific. She has two young children and works part-time.


  • Deputy Associate Dean (Research), ANU College of Law
  • Director, ANU College of Law Higher Degree Research
  • Convenor, LLM Law, Governance and Development Stream 2012-2018
  • Member, Academic Staff and Higher Degree Research Committee, 2019-
  • Board member, Pacific Institute 2011-
  • Board member, ANU Institute for Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Science 2019-
  • 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 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

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 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. 

Past events

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)

Book chapters

Refereed journal articles

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 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.

Previous courses

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